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  • Writer's pictureSHOOTLAB

Lewes Walks - Lewes to Southease Walk

Updated: Dec 1

Shootlab love living and working in Lewes, one of the best things about working in Lewes is that you are located right in the Sussex South Downs. This provides a beautiful backdrop to everyday life and a network of walks in the South Downs, including walks right on your doorstep, such as this amazing Lewes to Southease Walk.

aerial view of white cliffs, Ouse river and Railway Land nature reserve in Lewes
Aerial Views of the River Ouse and Railway land in Lewes (Drone photography by shootlab)

One of the 'best walks from Lewes Town Centre' is Lewes to Southease, a walk which follows the River Ouse in the direction of Newhaven (2 - 2.5 hours). Not only does this walk provide a calming escape from cars and the stresses of life, but it also allows you to grab a cup of tea and cake at the end of the walk at the YHA South Downs in Southease. You can then either walk back to Lewes or jump on the train at Southease station, less than 10 minutes later you're back in Lewes. (it can also be a Lewes circular walk)

green hills Sussex with yellow flowers, a blue sky, summers day
South Downs, fauna & flora summer (photography by shootlab)

Lewes To Southease (Walks around Lewes) beginning

The walk begins right in the heart of Lewes Town, head to Court Road in the middle of Lewes and then take Railway Lane, all the way to the end. Here you will find an entry to a riverside path and access to an area called The Railway Land.

looking down a road roses on left in front or these warehouse buildings, cars aloing street, domestic buildings on right, blue sky
Railway Lane in Lewes, beginning of Lewes to Southease walk

Venture into the enchanting expanse of the Railway Land, as you cast a backward glance towards the river, you'll be greeted by the splendid riverside vistas of Lewes Town with its old Warehouse buildings overlooking the River Ouse and various sail boats.

warehouses along river edge on left boat moored on river with blue sky
Riverside Lewes looking down at the old warehouses (photography by shootlab)

The Railway Land Wildlife Trust | Lewes Nature Reserve

The Railway Land Wildlife Trust is a 27 acre nature reserve in Lewes that is teeming with wildlife and history, take a moment to truly appreciate your surroundings here. Keep to the left following river, on the other side of the river are a selection of beautiful historic houses sitting at the bottom of chalk cliffs, as well as a modernist house known as the Rusty Metal House (Weathered steel-clad self build in Lewes) that featured on Grand Designs!

white cliffs buildings in front, one pink building and one made of rsured copper, river in  and green filed with small yellow buttercup flowers
River Ouse with white cliffs backdrop (photography by shootlab)

rusty metal modersits building with large glass windows on concrete base overlooking river, white cliffs in background and greenery growing on cliffs
Rusty Metal House (Weathered steel-clad self-build in Lewes) that featured on Grand Designs! (photography by shootlab)

Keep walking and the landscape unfolds gently as you tread along, until the railway line comes into view. Maintain your course along the river's edge. Once you've navigated past the railway line, the trail subtly swerves to the right, leading you towards the local recycling plant - a marker for those who've parked at Ham Lane. Continue along the gravelly path curving to the left, and you'll find yourself crossing under the bustling A27. Here, a grassy path along the river awaits your exploration.

looking down river blue colour with hills in background green grass with white Michaelmas daisies
Michaelmas daisies growing alongside the edge of the River Ouse with Sussex hills in the background June 2023 (photography by shootlab)

hill in background, river in front with bridge over, wild flowers along river edge
Beautiful stretch of the River Ouse with Mount Caburn in the background (photography by shootlab)

This walk has an ever-changing tableau - to the left, chalk hills rise and fall; to the right, farmland rolls out in gentle waves. Occasionally, you'll spot the coastal train, a sinuous thread weaving through the landscape - the very same train that will carry you back to Lewes.

wild yellow flowers growing alongside river edge
Yellow fauna alongside the river Ouse in Sussex (photography by shootlab)

This favourite trail of ours offers refreshing air and varied landscapes making it a perfect escape from daily routine and providing a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with nature. A part of the charming South Downs Way, the path suits a range of abilities and showcases impressive countryside views. It's a dog-friendly walk, offering an enjoyable off-leash experience for your pet.

green metal bridge over river with hill in background blue sky
Southease bridge cross to Southese station (photography by shootlab)

Within the span of 30-40 minutes, the outline of the Southease bridge should begin to materialise in the distance. Upon reaching it, you have a choice - cross the bridge and head towards Southease station, or turn right to explore the delightful Southease village, complete with charming thatched cottages and an endearing church.

blonde woman wearing black dress and sunglasses looks at sign  in countryside  environment
Pip reading about the history of Southease by the Slipway, a popular spot for wild swimming

Southease Swing Bridge, Slipway a popular spot for wild swimming

At Southease Bridge there is a slipway with access to the River Ouse, a popular spot for 'Wild Swimming', paddle boarding, kayaking and canoeing, and it provides an easy access point to the river (there is no slipway in Lewes). The water is really clean at this stretch of the river, as it is tidal and this part is close to the sea. You will also find an information board that talks about the interesting history of Southease and its industrial past. People also love to picnic here!

slipway into river with countryside background, person paddle boarding and others sitting at waters edge
Slipway at Southease Bridge for wild swimming, paddle boarding kayaking and other water-sports

You have now come to the end of the walk, If you cross the bridge you will find Southease Station where you can catch a train back to Lewes (6 minutes)

Should you find yourself with time to spare before the train arrives, we strongly recommend crossing the railway line for a pitstop at the YHA South Downs. Walk across the River Ouse at Southease bridge, the only crossing point between Lewes and the coastal port of Newhaven and continue up the path.

green metal bridge with blue sky and country environment, walkers sign post on right
Looking across Southease Bridge in Sussex

Carry on on up the path ahead you will pass through the railway line and find YHA South Downs!

back of woman wearing black dress and other walkers in front walking up country road lined with bushes and shrubs in the distance is a hill with a blue sky
Hikers heading towards YHA South Downs for a rest and refreshments

road leading to multiple old buildings shrubs on left and blue sky
Entrance to YHA South Downs Southease

looking out of glass doors at grassy area with picnic tables people sitting with backs to the camera, sunny day with blue sky
YHA South Downs cafe for Tea, cake and alcohol

YHA South Downs Courtyard cafe

The YHA South Downs has a Courtyard cafe serving a selection meals and snacks as well as this it has a well stocked bar. You can take a break with a tea or coffee and slice of cake! It has clean facilities, and offer a serene garden setting where you can relax and enjoy pleasant views on a sunny day. Given its location on the popular South Downs Way route, you're likely to encounter fellow hikers and cyclists taking a breather here, typically in high spirits.

Getting back to Lewes from Southease

The easiest way to get back to Lewes from Southease is by taking the train at Southease Station. The station is nestled in the heart of the quaint village of Southease and situated on the Seaford branch of the East Coastway Line, has an irresistibly charming vibe.

Believe it or not, the train journey from Southease to Lewes is a mere 6-minute affair, an astounding fact given the richness of the walk just undertaken. There's something quite special about retracing your route from the comfort of the train, offering waves to those adventurers treading the path you've just trodden. Even if they don't spot you, it certainly brings a smile to your face.

Train times from Lewes from Southease

Lewes to Southease Walk Overview:

  • Duration: Approximately 2 - 2.5 hours.

  • Terrain: Easy to navigate, but can be muddy in the winter, so wear suitable footwear.

  • Parking: Friars Walk car park, Lewes, or Ham Lane.

  • Begining: Begin at Lewes Railway Land, Railway Lane or, if parked at Ham Lane, start by the household recycling plant.

  • Navigation: Very simple - simply follow the right hand side of the river all the way.

  • Note: Check the train times for your train journey back, especially on Sunday where there is a reduced service. If you do have time to kill, visit the South Downs YHA a perfect place to relax.



SHOOTLAB are a content Creation Company based in Lewes, East Sussex. Specialising in Video Production,Photography, Videography, Social media Content Creation & Social Media Management. We have experience working with businesses of all sizes creating high-quality content for websites, blogs and social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram and Twitter.Elevate your brand or business with Shootlab's expertise in dynamic content creation and high-impact video production.

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