Adventures can be inspired by so many things. In this instance when I came across The Devil’s Dyke I was so intrigued by the name itself that I dropped everything, hit up Google and caught the next train to Lewes without delay.
Here’s everything you need to know to hike to The Devil’s Dyke from Lewes.
Planning Your Trip To The Devil’s Dyke
What You Need To Know Before Setting Off
- Location: South Downs
- Height & Ascent: Small to medium ascents but not for very long.
- Distance: 19.5km
- Terrain: Grass, paths and pavements.
- Time: 5 hours (this was a fast track as I didn’t really stop other than for water and an orange break – take your own needs into account)
- Views: Countryside views
- Maps: I couldn’t find any direct maps from Lewes to The Devil’s Dyke but here are some I found useful:
- Anything Else: The myths and legends are abundant. Keep reading to find out more.
How To Get To Lewes And The Devil’s Dyke Hike From London
You can get the train from London Victoria straight to Lewes. I had no changes to make on this route.
To get home, right outside the pub at the top of The Devil’s Dyke are buses to Brighton where you can take the train back to London. Make sure to check the bus timetable before you get your first pint and set an alarm to remind you when it’s arriving. I know what you’re like.
What Do You Need To Take
Here are all the essentials you need to take on your hike:
- Hiking boots and walking socks
- Waterproof raincoat
- Waterproof trousers
- Hiking backpack
- First Aid Kit
- Depending on the weather, hat and gloves or suncream and sun hat
The Devil’s Dyke Route & Trail
The beautiful town of Lewes is your starting point and you will get distracted by cobbled streets and tales of battles at Lewes castle. Factor in extra time if you’re a castle devotee. From Lewes town centre you’ll walk along the road for a small portion of the trek. Don’t worry though, you’ll quickly make your way out into the countryside.
There are four highlights on this walk. That’s right, FOUR!
Highlight | 1
The first highlight is the Tor Stables at the Old Lewes Racecourse which has held horse races as far back as the 18th century. If you like horses you’ll be in your element. Make your way around the top of the stables and up to the top path. After about 4 miles, you’ll come to your second exciting spot and the highest point in East Sussex, Ditchling Beacon.
Highlight | 2
Believed to be the site of an Early Iron Age hillfort, the road up to Ditchling Beacon was part of the Tour de France in 1994 and the views go for miles.
Highlight | 3
Your third exciting spot is the Jack and Jill Windmills which you’ll find just after Ditchling Beacon. These two traditional mills have been fully restored. Jill has returned to her roots as a corn mill and Jack has become a private a holiday home. Sign me up.
Highlight | 4
Of course the final showstopper, the reason we’re all here, The Devil’s Dyke. Legend has it that the Devil began to dig a great trench in an attempt to create a channel between West Sussex and the sea to drown Christ’s followers. He gave himself until sunrise to complete his challenge. It turns out, that the devil is startled easily and fooled even more so as he mistook a lit candle and the cry of a Rooster pushed off its perch as signs the sun was rising. He dropped his spade and galloped away in defeat.
The hills themselves are fabulous to hike up. The Victorians loved the Devil’s Dyke so much they built a 100m railway up to the top just to admire the Devil’s handy work without having to exert themselves. I thoroughly enjoyed the walk and, as always, get sucked in by a good legend.
About two-thirds of the way into the hike you’ll come across Pyecombe Golf Club. Always unsure as to whether non-members can enter such places I was delighted to be permitted to use the loos and top up water before continuing my journey. Thank you Pyecombe Golf Club!
Not far on from Pyecombe and just before climbing to the top of The Devil’s Dyke is The Wildflour Cafe at Saddlecombe’s Farm. This is a delightful little pit stop and you should stop for a slice of cake to re-energise before the final stretch. Finally, when you get to the top you can reward yourself with a beverage at The Devil’s Dyke Pub located at the summit. Conclusion: all summits should have pubs.
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