A Sussex walk along the coast near Brighton Marina and downland

PUBLISHED: 09:07 05 November 2020 | UPDATED: 17:57 05 November 2020

Ovingdean village is nestled in the downland between Brighton and Rottingdean (Photo by Hazel Sillver)

Ovingdean village is nestled in the downland between Brighton and Rottingdean (Photo by Hazel Sillver)


Enjoy wide green space and sea air on this downland coastal circular

Rottingdean Windmill

The iconic black Beacon Mill sits on the downland above Rottingdean, overlooking the ocean. This imposing local landmark is a Grade II listed smock mill that was constructed in 1802, on the site of another windmill. On digging the foundations, workmen discovered the remains of a warrior buried with his sword.

The mill was working until 1881, grinding corn for the village and supplying local bakers with flour. It was restored several times during the last century. It is open to the public on the third Sunday of every month from May to September.

Where to refuel

For a pub lunch in Rottingdean, head to The Plough, which offers vegetarian options, and welcomes dogs. To find it, head left at Stage 10 on the map, then take the next right. There are also several places in Rottingdean serving cream teas, and there is a seaside cafe on the Undercliff Walk.


• Location: Brighton, East Sussex

• Distance: 5.5miles (8.8km) – two to three hours to walk

• Terrain: some gentle up and down; downland paths and seaside promenade

• Where to park: In the free car park at Brighton Marina

The walk

1 From Brighton Marina, head up the sloping walkway/steps that run uphill on the western side of the Asda car park. At the top of the steps, turn right, walking above the car park, before soon turning sharp back left. This concrete walkway zigzags uphill. At the top, head right, walking along the cliff-tops. Cross the main road just before the bus stop, head left for a short distance, then take the road that runs up the western side of a huge block of 1930s flats (Marine Gate), eventually past the old gas works. The pavement runs up above the road.

2 At the crossroads, head right, and take the first turning left, following signs for the golf club, and the bridleway. The road leads into the golf club car park; maintain direction and go through the gate, onto the Downs. Ignore the gate that soon appears on the right.

3 After a quarter of a mile go through the gate on the right, across the golf course. The path then leads downslope, eventually curving around to the right, towards a gate.

4 The way divides. Take the right hand option, maintaining direction through the gate and upslope across the field.

5 At the top of the hill, maintain direction across the next field.

6 Upon reaching the brick structure and the fence, head left, walking alongside the fence; then soon go through the gate on your right. Continue in the same direction towards the road.

7 Cross the road, and carry straight on, along the pavement, past houses.

8 Before the top of the hill, head right, following the path onto Beacon Hill. Follow the main path that leads diagonally upslope over the downland; ignore all other paths.

9 Once heading downslope, remain on the same path, which passes to the left of the windmill. (If you want to visit the windmill, head right at the bench.) The path leads past allotments and through a gate. Walk along the lane, past houses, then turn left. Walk down the hill, between houses.

10 Turn right and walk along the high street. Cross the main road and walk downslope to the sea. Then turn right onto the Undercliff Walk. Walk along the Undercliff for two miles.

11 Maintain direction on the Undercliff Walk, which now leads past the marina.

12 Retrace your steps, walking above the Asda car park, left down the steps or the walkway slope, back to the car.


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