South Downs Way







I made it!

I made it to Winchester Cathedral which marks the start point of the South Downs Way, from here on it is approximately 100 miles to Eastbourne and the only way is east. Upon my arrival to Winchester I found a sweet parking spot in a residential area without permit restrictions and began walking to the Cathedral which took about half an hour. It was an incredibly warm day and the weather was forecast to get warmer and dryer over the coming week, glad I took 2 x 1L water bottles with me!

Over the M3

To leave Winchester, I crossed over the noisy M3 Motorway. Watching the cars flow underneath me like a roaring river was fascinating, but not as fascinating as the instantaneous silence which completely took my breath away after I crossed the bridge and entered the first agricultural land on the South Downs Way. The view opened up to an incredibly beautiful and peaceful wheat field, the M3 just a faint white noise in the distance. It was a clear evening, the sun was low and blackbirds and starlings chirped in the trees while bees and grasshoppers buzzed and called in the humid summer air.

Over the M3
Over the M3

Attack of the bugs!

After a good 3 hours and 7 miles of hiking into the trip, the sun began to set and I found a delightful spot, hidden and tucked away in the corner of a field not too far from the trail. It was the first night I’d spend in my Zpacks Solplex tent. Foolishly, when I tested the tent I forgot to zip up the rainbow door and upon setup on my first night a bunch of huge crane flies found their way into my tent. Bugs out and all set for a cosy night’s sleep I took stock of the day and enjoyed the views over the fields as the twilight fell into darkness on my first day on the South Downs Way.

Over the M3
Over the M3


This first section of my hike started out flat with a steep but short climb onto the Downs after the M3. Camping high in an elevated area at 500 feet meant condensation wasn’t an issue that night.

Over the M3



  • Beauty 60% 60%
  • Difficulty 30% 30%
  • Elevation gain 20% 20%

Start time:


Camp time: