Sussex walk around Cissbury Ring
PUBLISHED: 12:13 03 November 2014 | UPDATED: 10:55 05 October 2017
This circular downland walk encompasses the Iron Age hill fort of Cissbury Ring
The flower of Sussex
The old fort provides an important habitat for butterflies and rare wildflowers. It is one of the best places to see the flower of Sussex, the round-headed rampion, which is similar in size and colour to devil’s bit scabious, but its lavender-purple petals form many claws rather than the more common pompom scabious shape.
Where to refuel
There are lots of places to eat in the village of Findon, including Julia’s Kitchen (01903 873550, BN14 0SE), which serves breakfasts, light lunches and homemade cakes, and the Gun Inn (01903 873206, thegunfindon.co.uk, BN14 OTA), which does a good Sunday lunch and veggie dishes.
Cissbury Ring is one of the most impressive ancient forts in the UK, with ramparts 1.5 miles long that enclose 65 acres of land. It is the second biggest hill fort in the country and the largest in Sussex. The site was originally a flint mine and then fortifications were built around 250BC, in the middle of the Iron Age; Cissbury became a settlement and a stronghold. Some historians believe that the fort was used to house a mint and safeguard its riches from invading Vikings. Cissbury has incredible views of the coast; on a clear day, you can even see the Isle of Wight. For more information go to nationaltrust.org.uk/cissbury-ring
Good to know
• Location: Findon, near Worthing, West Sussex
• Distance: 5m (8k) – 2.5 hours to walk.
• Terrain: Stony, grass and dirt paths, some up and down.
• Where to park: In the parking area at stage 1 on the map. Heading north on the A24, turn right at the roundabout that joins the A280 – head into Findon village and follow Nepcote Lane south-east; just before the green, turn left, following signs to Cissbury.
1 From the parking area, head north, away from Cissbury Ring, on the bridleway.
2 At the crossways, maintain direction straight ahead. The path eventually veers north-east.
3 At the next crossways, turn right, taking the path east between fields.
4 The path heads downhill. Where the way divides, head right. Then at the bottom of the hill, take the second path on the right. A grassy path runs alongside fencing to a metal gate. Go through the gate and follow the narrow path through hedgerow.
5 The path gradually widens and runs between open fields. When you reach the farm track, head right towards the north end of Cissbury Ring.
6 Just after the farm building on your left, go through the wooden gate beside the National Trust sign and follow the narrow path alongside fields.
7 Before you reach the next gate, swing right, heading uphill through trees on a narrow dirt path.
8 The trees fall away and you find yourself in open land, just outside the ramparts of Cissbury Ring. Ignore adjoining paths and maintain direction. Go through the gate and clamber up the high ramparts of the old fort. If you’re tired, turn right back to the car. Otherwise, head left, walking along the top of the ramparts that encircle the ancient settlement.
9 When you can see the car park directly below the Ring, take the steep steps downhill. Go through two gates and back to the car.