The Sussex Border Path
Long Distance Walking Route
The Sussex Border Path is a footpath route nearly 150 miles long around the inland boundary of the county of Sussex, first devised and published in 1983 by Ben Perkins and Aeneas Mackintosh. The county owes its origins to the kingdom of the South Saxons and can claim to have one of the longest inland county boundaries from Emsworth to Rye.
The ancient routes on the high chalk ridges of the North and South Downs are already ‘official’ long distance paths. So a route through the lower clay and sandstone ‘Wealden’ area offers the prospect of something rather different.
The initial approach was to follow the boundary as closely as possible, but there has been no hesitation in deviating some distance from it in order to pick more scenic paths and to avoid road walking. The boundary is, of course, only a line on a map but one is often reminded of how its location was determined by the remains of boundary banks, streams and other natural features of ancient origin as well as later changes.
Sussex is split administratively into West Sussex and East Sussex For the sake of completeness we have included a ‘Mid Sussex Link’ which more or less follows the very modern administrative boundary between East and West Sussex. In 1989 the centenary of county councils was celebrated with a group walk to ‘beat the bounds’.
The main attraction of the Sussex Border Path is its surprisingly remote and unspoilt quality in this particularly crowded part of England. In the early days, a detailed route description was needed, and although this has been through a number of editions, it can suffer from becoming out of date (and now out of print). The paths used are all public rights of way or cross public open spaces; most are straightforward but some require concentration.
The route has now been extensively waymarked and is now shown on the relevant maps in the Ordnance Survey Landranger and Explorer series , one of which you are strongly recommended to have with you. We suggest (below) a number of sections and landmarks which may help you formulate a day’s walk; but there are other permutations.
This website is now the only reference point. The descriptive text is from the second edition guidebook published which may now need further revision. We incorporate amendments when we re-walk parts of the route. We should appreciate remarks and suggestions from users to enable us to upgrade the route description.
Please email us for any news and remarks on the route description. Originally, too, there were detailed hand-drawn maps in the Wainright style, which have had to be omitted for copyright reasons, but may be possible restore later. Where there is reference in the text to ‘following the strip map’ , this should be taken as following the route as marked on the appropriate OS map.
|Map of Sussex.
Each letter represents a section of The Sussex Border Path. Click on a Letter for information on this section of the walk.
The Google map below shows the start (Map A and B) of The Sussex Border path and you can use the navigation tools to navigate around Sussex and Hampshire to locate the other sections of The Sussex Border Path.