South Downs Walk
Ouse Valley & Beddingham Hill from Newhaven Tide Mills
Walk Route Description
This is an East Sussex walk in the South Downs National Park that explores the past and present of a working port. It then takes a meandering riverside walk up the banks of the River Ouse before crossing over open downland to return to the start through a newly established nature reserve. The walk starts from the car park serving the tide mills site between Newhaven & Bishopstone (Map ref TQ462004). It is also on the route of the No 12/13 bus route between Brighton & Eastbourne. The walk could also be accessed by train from either of the Newhaven rail stations (see walk description for further details).
From the car park on the roadside walk up the concrete path through the tide mills site (there is another car park further up nearer the actual ruins themselves). Pass over the railway line noting the site of the disused station that served the tide mill site. You may wish to look around for a bit reading the signs explaining the ruins and giving some of the history about the site. When you are ready continue towards the beach and as you reach the landward edge of the shingle turn right to follow a signposted path towards the harbour area of modern day Newhaven. (To the left are the foundations of Chailey Heritage hospital which you may wish to detour and examine.)
Continue along the edge of the beach, with Newhaven Fort on the cliffs ahead of you across the harbour, until level with the first of the warehouse buildings on your right. Then turn right to walk towards these buildings on an unmarked but obvious broad track by the side of the fence enclosing the warehouse area. Soon you pick up some more waymarks directing you around to a bridge crossing the mill cut and then left and right again to climb and cross a concrete footbridge over the rail line. As you descend follow the obvious path alongside the railway eventually signed by waymarks for the Sussex Ouse Valley Way and Vanguard Way. You emerge on Beach Road, which you continue to follow inland for about half a mile until you reach a T junction with a flyover carrying the main coast road ahead and above you. Turn left here and walk past Newhaven Town station (having already passed Newhaven Harbour rail station earlier on in Beach Road).
Continue onwards to cross over the river by the road swing bridge with a fine view down the river into the harbour area. At the west end of the bridge cross over the road using the pedestrian crossing to walk alongside the river on the footway passing but not crossing over another bridge to Denton island on your right. Eventually you reach a subway on your left (if you need them there are public conveniences just through the subway and across the road). Just after you pass the subway entrance, look carefully to your right for a narrow alleyway running along the back wall of the gardens of a row of houses. Walk along this alley and where it turns sharply right, follow it round and you soon come out onto an access road by a boat yard. Turn left out of the alley way and continue on along the road till you reach a recreation ground. Here look for a path to your right signposted Sussex Ouse Valley Way ignoring the more obvious chalk track directly ahead. This path leads around to the banks of River Ouse which we now follow all the way up to Southease apart from a short diversion inland just after Piddinghoe. This is also the route of the Sussex Ouse Valley Way a long distance footpath of 42 miles broadly following the Ouse valley from its source near Horsham to its historic outfall at the tide mills where our walk started - more information
There are views of the double radio mast at Beddingham Hill across the river which we go very near on the downland section of the walk. As you continue upriver you pass a lagoon to the left which is used for boating, windsurfing and a small amount of permit fishing. Reaching Piddinghoe (the next settlement on the river banks), directly after passing the barn, bear sharp left and climb up a bank past a school house with an old bell by the door to pass in front of Piddinghoe church with its 'fishy' themed weather vane. Continue on past the unusual round tower of the church down the street to the main road. Look diagonally across to your right where you will see a waymarked access road climbing upwards. Cross the road with care and follow this access road for a quarter of a mile or so. Take the first bridleway signed off to the right. Pass through a gate and follow the bridleway up and over the hill by a stone wall with good views over the Ouse valley. The path contours slightly inland along the side of the valley before descending to a track running along the foot of the valley. Turn right along this track to walk back towards the river. Passing a barn conversion you emerge on the road by a sign 'Chapel Barn' and should carefully cross the road and climb the stile directly opposite.
This leads you back onto to river bank to continue your riverside walk. You may see redshanks, lapwings, white egrets, grey herons, swans and geese as you meander upriver with the round tower of Southease church ahead and off to your left. At Southease bridge we leave the Sussex Ouse Valley Way and cross the river. We are now following a stretch of the South Downs Way as it heads towards Alfriston. You cross back over the railway line and bear sharply round to the right to cross the road using a fairly new footbridge opened in August 2006. Continue to follow the SDW as it snakes up Itford Hill. As you climb there are great views over the flood plain of the river, over to Swanborough Hill and the continuation of the SDW eastwards, back down to Newhaven and over to Lewes with the castle prominent on the hill in the town.
At the top of the hill is an area of scrub but continue along the ridge of the hill walking past the trig point at Red Lion Pond with the twin radio masts of Beddingham Hill ahead. Here it is best to avert your eyes from the ugly landfill site inland but concentrate on the magnificent coastal views to the south. As you near the radio masts and pass through a gate by a bridleway crossroads marker look diagonally off to your right to see a gate in the fence and walk downwards to take this track leaving the South Downs Way (this is the right turn indicated by the bridleway crossroads but pointer direction is misleading).
Follow the track along the ridge past two barns marked 'America Farm' on OS maps. Where the track forks, take the left fork following and keeping the fenceline on your left. As the fenceline finishes on a sharp right-angle, continue onwards on the same heading past a redundant gate and on over Fore and Snap hills. Visible in the valley ahead and to your left are the hamlets of Norton and Bishopstone. At a lone post waymark continue on dropping down a little now to eventually arrive at a complex junction of paths. Here take the right hand path that climbs a little up toward the hill above the valley and with the backs of the houses at Denton becoming visible at times.
As the path drops down again slightly ignore the footpath marker that will lead you down into the houses but take the bridleway to the left. This is a track climbing up again with backs of houses on your right and the valley to your left. Ignore all other paths off to the right until you have crested the hill and continued on past an area of open ground. When you come to a stile set in the fence to your left turn away from the stile to your right and take the unmarked but clear track heading down into Denton and the houses to join an unmade road. Where this road joins another residential road (Palmerston Road) turn left then almost immediately right to go steeply down Mount Road toward the main coast road. At the coast road, cross carefully and you will see a cycle track heading off to the east parallel with the coast road. Follow this cycle track which wends its way along the edge of the new nature reserve and it will take you all the way back to the car park where you originally started.
Please maintain social distancing - keep at least 2 metres away from other walkers. Travel restrictions for exercise in Wales and Scotland will be lifted in early July.
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|Ordnance Survey Landranger 199||Sheet Map||1:50k||BUY|
|Anquet OS Landranger 199||Digital Map||1:50k||BUY|
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Recommended Books & eBooks
Walking in Sussex
Walking in Sussex describes 40 circular walks that show the great variety of scenery and history in Sussex. Short walks and more demanding routes, including outline descriptions of some of the region's long-distance paths. Covers the South Downs, High Weald and Ashdown Forest.