National Trails South Downs Way

South Downs Way – the final two days. Day One – Lewes to Alfriston.

Having completed the South Downs Way in two 4 day long weekends in 2013, I always thought the last two days encapsulated the beauty and challenging hiking of this long distance trail. 

I had often banged on to friends and family about how good the last two days were and therefore resolved to show some of them by arranging a weekend trip in September 2016. 

We had planned to do a “beergrimage” to Harveys in Lewes which those who know me will recognise is the source of my favourite tipple, but by the time we had picked up Monica and Carey from LHR and joined the Friday afternoon weekend traffic we found that time didn’t allow and we went straight to the George Inn at Alfriston to join the rest of the party. 

Rather than stay in Lewes on Friday night and then walk to Alfriston on the Saturday and stay there that evening, we decided to spend both nights in Alfriston and use available cars to get us from the start to the end of each day’s trip. This worked well as we didn’t need to worry about luggage and although slightly on the pricey side of our budget, the George looked after us really well. 

So after a few large bathtub gins sat out in the garden of the George enjoying the late summer sun, and an evening meal of substance over the road in the Star Inn, we had a fairly early evening, conscious of a few miles ahead the following day. 

14.5 in fact. The forecast wasn’t brilliant with heavy rain expected by sometime between 1pm and 3pm. So it was a slight setback that breakfast was only available from 9am, although absolutely delicious scrambled egg and bacon suited Heather and I, with Tim and Natalie nearly consuming their own body weight with a full English of giant proportions. Carey and Monica sensibly resisted kippers and so replete and refreshed we took off for a car parking area on the side of the A27 about four miles to the west of Lewes, where we left the car and set off west and took the road up and over the A27 to join the trail south of the road. There is another path that goes East and I think crosses under the road and also joins the path, but I wasn’t confident I’d remembered that correctly and so took the more obvious start.