Frosty mornings, woolly jumpers and wellie boots. As summer reluctantly gives way to autumn, it’s a great time for a bit of a ramble followed by lunch in a good pub. So here is our selection of the best autumn walks in Sussex, along with details of local pubs where you might want to refuel.
Rowhook to Rudgwick, West Sussex (with dog-friendly pub)
Between Rowhook and Rudgwick is Roman Woods (so named presumably because the Stane Street Roman Road used to go through it). It’s home to charcoalers and a fabulous mix of trees which include oak, chestnut and beech making it a great place to catch those autumn leaves. There are various circular routes you can take through the woods, whether by heading south and walking around Furnace Lakes or by circling north and joining up with the Sussex Border Path.
You can access the woods from the small lane in the centre of Rowhook where you’ll find The Chequers Inn. The Chequers Inn also happens to be both dog-friendly and an excellent place for a meal after your walk.
You will find more information about this walk here: Rowhook to Rudwick. Ordnance Survey Explorer 134
Singleton and the West Dean Estate, West Sussex (with dog-friendly pub)
For a hearty 10 km walk head to Singleton, West Sussex and start by climbing Levin Down. This route takes you along the edge of Singleton Forest and then over the A286 and into the West Dean estate. The woods here are nothing short of magical in the autumn, and as you circle your way back to Singleton and descend Chills Down you can see Goodwood in the distance.
There is street parking in the village and The Partridge Inn in Singleton is dog friendly and gets good reviews.
You will find more information about this walk here: Singleton and West Dean. Ordnance Survey Explorer 8
Harting Downs, West Sussex (with dog-friendly pub)
There is a car park to the west of Harting Down from where you can do any number of walks. For a 5 km circular route, head east along the South Downs Way and then south along Bramshott Bottom. You’ll skirt and pass through some lovely woods as you make your way back to Harting Hill, and you’ll also enjoy some fantastic views.
The nearest pub is The White Hart in South Harting which is a very short drive away but they get excellent reviews and are dog friendly.
You will find more information about this walk here: Harting Down. Ordnance Survey Explorer 8
Black Down, West Sussex (with dog-friendly pub)
As the highest point in both the historic county of Sussex and the South Downs National Park, you cannot go wrong with a walk here and there are three car parks. Whichever way you walk, do try and include the Temple of the Winds with its majestic views.
It’s a short drive from Black Down to Lurgashall and the superb Noah’s Ark pub which is dog friendly.
You will find more information about this walk here: Black Down. Ordnance Survey Explorer 133
The Knepp Estate, West Sussex (with dog-friendly pub)
As you head up the drive of the Knepp Estate, you’re met with a tunnel of colour. There are a couple of different walks you can do around the estate and there are maps at the car park which you can follow. You are also likely to see deer, wild pigs and ponies, as well as the ruins of the old castle. The Crown Inn at Dial Post is walkable from the Knepp Estate and is dog friendly.
You will find more information about this walk here: Knepp Estate. Ordnance Survey Explorer 34
National Trust Properties
You’re a little spoilt for choice when it comes to autumn vistas and the National Trust. Some of the best autumn walks can be found at Petworth Park, Uppark and Standen House but our top two have to be Sheffield Park (most famous for its stunning autumn displays of colour reflected in the lake) and Nymans (famous for its charismatic ruins). Dogs are permitted at Sheffield Park and in the grounds of Nymans from the 1st of November. Nymans Woods are spellbinding with great autumn colours.
After a walk at Sheffield Park, try The Griffin Inn in Fletching. From Nymans, the Red Lion in Handcross is a great place for lunch but dogs are not allowed inside.
You can find out more about Petworth here: Petworth Park.
You can find out more about Nymans Woods here: Nymans.
Wakehurst Place and Ardingly Reservoir, West Sussex (with dog-friendly pub)
Perhaps most famous for its woodland walks, on a sunny day the reflection of the trees is picture postcard stuff here. However, only assistance dogs are allowed into Wakehurst Place. However, nearby Ardingly Reservoir also has some stunning walks. You can either stick to the edge of the water or venture further into Tilgate Wood which brings you alongside the edge of Wakehurst. And there are lots of woodland colours to enjoy along the way. Just a short distance down the road from the Wakehurst Place entrance is The Gardeners Arms which is dog friendly.
You will find more information about this walk here: Ardingly.
You can find more about Wakehurst Place here: Wakehurst. Ordnance Survey Explorer 135
Ashdown Forest, East Sussex (with dog-friendly pub)
Explore the world of Winnie the Pooh at Five Hundred Acre Wood, play Pooh Sticks or follow the Wealdway. As the name suggests, there are some great forest paths here, but also wide open spaces and views across to the South Downs.
There are lots of little villages in the area but one of my favourite places to eat has to be the dog-friendly Coach and Horses at Danehill.
You will find more information about this walk here: Ashdown Forest. Ordnance Survey 135
Lake Wood, East Sussex (with dog-friendly pub)
This is a short but magical walk around the rather mystical lakes and caves of Lake Wood, just outside Uckfield. Parking is tricky and generally has to be along the edge of the main road. When you’ve finished exploring, rather than head into Uckfield, why not try The Piltdown Man in nearby Piltdown? It is dog friendly.
You will find more information about this walk here: Lake Wood. Ordnance Survey Explorer 135
Brede High Wood, East Sussex (with dog-friendly pub)
I always think the best autumn walks are those that are in or near woods so that you can really enjoy autumn’s full palette. Brede High Wood is over 600 acres of ancient woodland as well as home to streams, ponds and open heathland. And with a great mix of birch, oak, hornbeam and sweet chestnut trees this is a great autumn walk. There is a network of paths meaning you can opt for a short or a long route.
There are two free car parks available at Brede High Woods, on the south side of the B2089 Cripps Corner/Broad Oak Brede Road, marked by brown tourist signs. They are not shown on the Ordnance Survey map. The Broad Oak at nearby Broad Oak is dog friendly and gets some good reviews.
Ordnance Survey Explorer 124.
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