CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Sussex Life today CLICK HERE

Sussex walk around Firle

PUBLISHED: 15:06 22 August 2016 | UPDATED: 15:06 22 August 2016

Gardener’s Hill with Newhaven in the distance

Gardener’s Hill with Newhaven in the distance


This month Hazel Sillver recommends a circular walk that encompasses Firle Beacon and provides magnificent downland and coastal views

The chocolate box village of Firle is one of the best spots in the South Downs for a day out. Under the shadow of Firle Beacon hill, this little backwater has pretty cottages and gardens, a sizeable pub, a village shop, a carpenter’s shop, and it’s own brewery.

If you’re a soulful sort, the lovely 13th century church of St. Peter is always open. Its peaceful graveyard, where some members of the Bloomsbury Group are laid to rest, is well worth a visit. On the edge of the village is Firle Place estate (; BN8 6NS), where you can follow a guided tour of the house and its artworks, and admire the gardens.

Art lovers will also enjoy Charleston (; BN8 6LL), which can be found by rejoining the A27 and driving two miles east. Once the home of artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, of the Bloomsbury Group, its collection of paintings, its interior decoration, its walled gardens, and its colourful history are a delight.

Where to refuel

If you fancy taking a picnic up onto the Downs, you can buy sandwiches and supplies at Firle village shop, or ready made picnic bags at Charleston. Alternatively The Ram Inn pub in Firle (01273 858222;; BN8 6NS) serves delicious hearty pub fare, made with local ingredients including meat farmed in the village; there are options for vegetarians; and you can sup beer produced by the Firle brewery. There is also a nice tearoom at Charleston serving light lunches, and cream teas.


Location: Firle, near Lewes, East Sussex

Distance: 5m (8km) – 2½ hours to walk.

Terrain: Grass and chalk paths; some uphill and downhill.

Where to park: In the car park at the top of Firle Bostal road. Follow the signs for Firle from the A27; then follow the sign to Firle Beacon.


1 On the South Downs Way, head north east out of the car park, through a gate, following the path across the corner of a field. The path leads alongside fencing, eventually going through an open gateway into another field, where it continues alongside fencing.

2 The path leads through a gate, past a tumulus or barrow on the right. Before long you will reach the large raised tumulus of Firle Beacon, on the left of the path. From here, there are views down to Charleston, the former home of the Bloomsbury Group.

3 After a small tumulus dotted with gorse bushes on the left, there are two gates on the right. Go through the second gate, and walk down slope diagonally across the field to a gate. Continue through the gate, maintaining direction upon the path through the crop field.

4 The path veers slightly right. Head through the gate and carry straight on down slope along a narrow path through a crop field.

5 Go through the gate into a field and maintain direction alongside fencing. The path eventually leads past a dew pond on the right.

6 Go through the metal gate and follow the path across the field towards Newhaven and the sea.

7 After the wooden gate, the path leads through scrub, and goes downhill.

8 At the bottom of the hill, head right, following the narrow path along this curving dip in the Downs. The path winds around, and gradually heads uphill through a field, alongside fencing.

9 The way divides. Take the right hand way, through the gate, walking through a field.

10 Go through the gate, maintaining direction through Blackcap Farm. Follow the road straight on, until you reach the car park.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Sussex Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Sussex Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Sussex Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Yesterday, 11:47

With late-night shopping, fairs, Christmas markets and plenty of food and drink, we’ve rounded up some of the best festive offerings in Sussex

Read more
Yesterday, 11:46

Enjoy the tranquility of Verdley Wood on this circular pub walk

Read more
Yesterday, 11:24

Ideally situated for commuting to London and Brighton, this West Sussex town offers the perfect blend of rural and urban living

Read more
Friday, November 9, 2018

10 of the most beautiful, inspiring and simply stunning photos of Sussex shared on Instagram over the past week...

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

We round up some of the best events and things to do across Sussex this month

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Clive Agran’s monthly investigation of Sussex’s hidden past turns homeward as he visits Bodiam, Northiam and Ewhurst Green

Read more
Monday, October 29, 2018

Sheffield Park and Garden near Haywards Heath is a paradise for photographers. Especially during the autumn months…

Read more
Monday, October 29, 2018

The skies of Sussex are sure to be lit up this November with some amazing fireworks and bonfire events taking place across the county

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

With the South Downs, quaint villages and coastal trails, Sussex is a great place for a walk. Here we round up some of the best

Read more
Monday, October 22, 2018

From pumpkins to spooky activities, we take a quick look at some events on offer across Sussex this Halloween

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Disappear into the ancient oak woodland at Arlington on this short circular stroll

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

A rich local history, thriving annual festivals and a bounty of amenities make this East Sussex town hard to top

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Cuckfield’s Ockenden Manor offers a spectacular panorama while you eat

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

We explore Pulborough, a village with a long history and an unusual annual fundraiser

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Local Business Directory

Property Search