Today I want to share my guide to the best circular walks in West Sussex with you. Whether you want to explore pretty villages and vineyards, wild expanses of the English countryside, or an ancient Neolithic flint mine and Iron Age hill fort on the South Downs, there’s a perfect West Sussex walk for you. I’ve included detailed routes and maps, too.

Circular Walks in West Sussex

Circular Walks in West Sussex

I recently spent a long weekend in West Sussex with friends. The weather was beautiful, so we focused our trip on doing some of the best country walks near London.

From West Chiltington to the Knepp Castle Estate and Cissbury Ring, we went on a variety of circular walks in West Sussex. Today I want to share the highlights of each one with you so you can do them yourself. They’re some of the best circular walks near London.

You can read about more great walks in the book Time Out Country Walks: 30 Walks Near London, too. You can get it on Amazon here.

Cows on a Circular Walk in West Sussex

1. West Chiltington Circular Walk in West Sussex

The first of our circular walks in West Sussex stared in West Chiltington. A 5.7-mile (9.2-kilometer) ramble, it was a good introduction to the villages and vineyards of Sussex.

From West Chiltington we walked through fields full of cows and gentle hills with vineyards. We made our way past idyllic cottages and stunning country houses. We rambled alongside ponds and through fairy-tale woods adorned with flowers.

We then walked through more vineyards and under tree arches to make our way back to West Chiltington. At the end we sat outside at a sunny table in a beer garden and celebrated our walk with a round of drinks.

This circular walk in West Sussex took around 3 hours to complete. It featured a range of terrain, a few gentle hills, and a lot of beautiful scenery. In fact, of all the country walks I’ve done in the UK, this one was the prettiest.

Street Sign on a West Sussex Circular Walk

2. Knepp Red Walk Circular Walk in West Sussex

Next on my list of circular walks in West Sussex is the Knepp Red Walk. A 3,500 acre estate just south of Horsham, the Knepp Castle Estate is known for its rewilding project.

There are 16 miles of public and permissive footpaths here, and the red route is the longest of four signposted trails.

I walked all four of them during my long weekend in West Sussex, and the 5.8-mile (9.3-kilometer) Red Walk was my favorite (I also liked the Blue Walk, which is one of the best circular pub walks in West Sussex).

It took me past everything from cows, piglets, and deer to ponds, giant storks’ nests, and castle ruins. There was even a surprise windmill along the way.

West Sussex Windmill

I liked that this country walk had a lot of tree viewing platforms and a bird hide for observing the land and wildlife. The pretty cottages dotted throughout were an added bonus, too.

This circular walking route in West Sussex took me around two-and-a-half hours to complete. It featured flat terrain and was an easy route to ramble. I loved that there were lots of little unexpected highlights along the way as well.

Knepp Castle, West Sussex

3. Cissbury Ring Walk in West Sussex

The third of the circular walks in West Sussex was the Cissbury Ring walk. The second largest hill fort in England, Cissbury Ring is known for its ancient Neolithic flint mine and Iron Age history. It’s also one of the top places in Sussex to see butterflies.

Located on the South Downs near Arundel, Cissbury Ring is a beautiful place for a country ramble. The 2.1-mile (3.4-kilometer) circular walk around the hill is full of ancient history and dramatic views.

My friends and I parked near the entrance to the site, and then we walked in a spiral to get up the hill. As we went, we enjoyed increasingly beautiful panoramas of the English countryside and the South Coast. There were lots of horses to admire, too.

From the top of Cissbury Ring we took in spectacular views of the chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters, the pebble beaches of Brighton, and the English Channel.

We sat down to soak up the scenery for a while, then finished the route with the short walk down to the car.

This West Sussex walk took us around an hour to complete. I liked it for its combination of ancient history, hills, horses, and stunning panoramas.

Cissbury Ring, West Sussex

West Sussex Walking Routes and Maps

If you want to do these circular walks around West Sussex, you can follow the routes and maps we used.

There’s a good West Chiltington walking route map online. The same goes for the Cissbury Ring route.

I’ve included a photo of the Knepp Red Walk map below. The path is well signed and there are maps like it throughout the route, so it’s easy to follow once you arrive. There’s also a PDF map here if you want to download it before you go.

Knepp Red Walk Map

Circular Walks in West Sussex

I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to circular walks in West Sussex. They’re some of the best places to visit in West Sussex, and they’re great spots to get into the countryside near London.

If you want to see more rambles like this, you can take a look at my blog post about the best circular walks in England. Happy hiking!

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Circular Walks in West Sussex

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