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  • Writer's pictureSHOOTLAB

Lewes Walks - Lewes to Southease Walk

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

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 scenic view from the Lewes to Southease walk, showing a meandering river reflecting the sunlight, flanked by lush green fields and a road running parallel to it. The white chalk cliffs and varied autumnal colors of the trees add to the natural beauty of the landscape, inviting hikers to enjoy the tranquil and picturesque countryside of 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)

A vibrant image of the Sussex countryside, featuring a field of lush green grass peppered with bright yellow flowers, with a hill rising gently in the background. The rural scene is completed with a small cluster of houses halfway up the hill, epitomizing the idyllic and peaceful English landscape one might enjoy while on a walk in Lewes, Sussex
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.

A sunny residential street in Lewes with modern apartment buildings on the left and traditional brick buildings on the right. Cars are parked along the curb, and the street is lined with lush green shrubs and blooming white roses, adding a touch of natural beauty to the urban environment. The clear blue sky suggests a perfect day for a walk from Lewes to Southease
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.

The tranquil River Ouse flows through Lewes, bordered by a blend of modern and industrial architecture. On the left, contemporary apartments with large glass windows overlook the water, while on the right, historic brick buildings with a classic English pub 'John Harvey Tavern' provide a glimpse into the town's rich heritage. A moored sailboat adds a leisurely feel.
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!

A picturesque scene along the Lewes to Southease walk, featuring a foreground of bright yellow wildflowers. Beyond the flowers, a calm river runs parallel to charming houses, one painted pink and another with a modern design, all set against the dramatic backdrop of tall white cliffs under a clear blue sky. This diverse landscape showcases the natural beauty and architectural variety encountered on this scenic walk
River Ouse with white cliffs backdrop (photography by shootlab)

rusty metal modernist house with large glass windows on concrete base overlooking river, white cliffs in background and greenery growing on cliffs. It contrasts with the natural chalk cliffs in the background, representing the blend of contemporary living and timeless natural beauty found along this scenic walking route
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.

a river gently curves through a lush landscape. The riverbank is adorned with a flourish of wild daisies, their white petals and sunny centers swaying in the foreground. Rolling green hills under a clear blue sky create a serene backdrop
Michaelmas daisies growing alongside the edge of the River Ouse with Sussex hills in the background June 2023 (photography by shootlab)

a rustic pedestrian bridge spans across a tranquil river, with lush wildflowers in the foreground and a gentle hill rising in the distance. The clear blue water reflects the sky, enhancing the peaceful rural setting
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
Bright yellow flowers delicately hang over the rippling waters. This simple yet striking natural detail adds a splash of colour and life to the serene riverside path, inviting walkers to appreciate the small beauties along their journey through the Sussex landscape

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.

"An old green iron bridge crosses over a river on the Lewes to Southease walk. Its sturdy structure stands amid lush greenery, with the rolling hills of the Sussex countryside in the background. The bridge is a testament to historical engineering and serves as a picturesque crossing point for walkers enjoying the rural beauty of the area
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.

A woman in contemplation stands reading an information board along a rural trail. The board provides historical context or nature information, enhancing the walking experience with educational content. The lush greenery of the field and the distant view of the countryside under a clear blue sky suggest a peaceful and enriching outdoor adventure
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, people relaxing on a jetty and paddle boarding in the calm river waters. The lush green field in the background, brightened by the summer sun, offers a peaceful setting
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.

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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