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Lewes and Kingston Walk

 

8km, 5 miles.  A walk with something for everybody- downland views, four pubs, a farm park, Anne of Cleves House, the Priory and a windmill- and not too much effort either, but not recommended after periods of rain.

1) Walk south from the main entrance to Lewes station (left if you are coming from the train)) If you missed to toilets on the station there are public toilets just to the north of the station, on the same side of the road as the station)  Turn right at the mini roundabout, past a pub and historic Anne of Cleve's House.

2) Reach the Swan pub.  Bear left and then right, signposted to the South Downs Way.  Walk up the road past Lewes' most secret park, Jubilee gardens, slowly gaining height.  Follow the road across the bypass and then more steeply up.  Soon the road turns into a track.  This route is Juggs Lane, an old route between Lewes and Brighton.  The lane opens out into a field.  Keep straight ahead following an obvious path.  On your right you will see a new traditional windmill, built on the site of the old one.  Continue straight ahead to a road junction

3) Cross the road carefully.  Traffic can be quick here and difficult to see Continue straight ahead past houses and bungalows with large gardens.  Keep straight ahead here as the road turns into a chalk track (easier but less scenic alternative turns left here.) Go through a gate.

4) The route emerges from fields into open downland.  There are two clear tracks ahead.  Do not take them.  Instead  go through a metal gate to your left.  This is on land which was opened up under the right to roam legislation campaigned for for so long by the Ramblers.  Unfortunately this does not stop landowners making the way difficult.  A water trough has been installed here and this has attracted cattle who churn up the path considerably in wet weather.  So this route is not recommended after periods of consistent rain. There are fine views across the Ouse Valley and of Kingston Village, a village which expanded considerably in the 1960s and was famous for partner-swapping at that time.   Small children may need supervising on this stretch as the drop to your left is a bit steep.

(Alternative route. Turn left after point (3) at the point at which the houses come to an end.  Walk downhill on a track till you come to the green. Walk diagonally across the green, aiming for the church.  Follow the path past the church and then turn left onto The Street.  You are now back on the main route just before the pub.)

6) Turn left at the stile and walk steeply down to the east. The path joins a track coming in from the left and emerges into The Street, the main historic street of Kingston village.  The church on your left is worth a look, as is the country pub a little further down, which does food and Shepherd Neame beer.

7) Cross the road (bus stop to the right) to find a  narrow path straight ahead between two houses. Follow this path to the point at which it emerges into a field and then head straight ahead next to the hedge to the farm in front of you.  This is Springbarn Farm, a farm park with a shop, cafe, animals and an adventure playground (charge)

8) To continue the walk continue past the farm park in the same direction as you approached it, past farm buildings, to reach the Lewes to Newhaven road.  Walk along the pavement on the north side of the road.

9) Just before the recreation ground, at a point where the road bends to the left, cross the road with care. Opposite is a footpath. Take this and turn left, following a line of trees and then a canal. Follow the canal towards the bypass.

10) At the bypass go under the underpass.  On the other side of the underpass the right of way goes up the bank, slightly to the right of the underpass and then diagonally right across the car park, but it is often overgrown.  If it is turn right on the track and then left past the entrance to the sportsground.  If it is not overgrown climb the bank, cut diagonally across the car park and then turn left.  Do not pass under a little tunnel, but turn right into Priory Park.  See the ruins of Lewes Priory ahead of you.  Walk through the priory, using any route you fancy.  On the other side of the priory is a gap in the wall.  Go through this and follow the path round to the left and then to the right and then left again past the entrance to the Dripping Pan, the home of Lewes football club.  Turn left when you meet the road and then immediately right to return to the station.  You can have a drink in the Lansdowne pub ahead of you on the other side of the station but they have a very limited selection of food.  But you are near Lewes town centre which has a large number of places to eat and drink.