South Downs Way Western Section

Winchester to Amberley in 3 days walking Code: SDW4

The section between Winchester and Amberley has many wooded areas, offering shade from the sun and a variety of views. It is steeped in history from start to finish.

The Western section in 3 days walk is our shorter option, finishing with a long day between South Harting and Ambeley.

Miles Km
Day 1 Travel to Winchester for your first nights accommodation
Day 2 Winchester to Exton 12 19
Day 3 Exton to South Harting 17 27
Day 4 South Harting to Amberley 21 34
Day 5 Depart from Amberley after breakfast


There are several rocky sections along this route which should be easy enough to tackle for most reasonably fit people. Goat Fell has a sheer drop on one side on the descent and a river crossing via stepping stones, this can be avoided in bad weather or for people with vertigo by taking the low route. The paths along the shore are not always clear but as the route follows the coast it is hard to get lost. As some sections are impassable at high tide it is important to check the tides before setting off. If in doubt use the alternative routes.

Terrain: A coastal path with a mostly rocky shoreline, some road sections (not very busy) and forest tracks. Depending on the tide the route can be sandy or shingly with some boulder fields that are slow going and can be tiring. Consider an itinerary with shorter days than you would normally choose to allow for this.

What’s it like underfoot? A mixture of road, rocky shoreline (which can be slippery after high tide or in wet weather) forest tracks and some constructed paths. A few sections may be muddy after heavy rain.

How Much Up & Down? Mostly flat, apart from the Goat Fell option which involves a climb of 874 meters (there is a get out at 630 meters). The alternative forest route between Lagg and Whiting Bay rises up to 250 meters.

Signposting: There is little signposting on the route.

Navigation: A compass is required if you do the Goat Fell section – the map is sufficient for the coastal paths.

Weather: You may be lucky enough to encounter warm, dry weather over the whole route and enjoy dry paths and tremendous views, but you must be prepared because the weather can change quickly. Good clothing and waterproofs are essential, but don't forget your sunhat, sunblock and shorts!

All Holidays
Accommodation Overnight Bed and Breakfast accommodation in selected hotels, farmhouses, village inns, guest houses and family B&Bs.Full English or Continental breakfast.
Guidebook A detailed guidebook with route information, maps, photos and background information.
Information of Services Along the Route A comprehensive Service Info sheet, including services such as cash points, banks, post offices, village shops, inns, cafes and taxis.
Maps A waterproof map from Harvey Maps covering the whole route.
Personal Itinerary A personal itinerary setting out each overnight stop, including large scale maps of each accommodation, to ensure you find it easily.
Emergency Telephone Support If you get in to difficulties during your holiday, we are always available to help, even out of office hours.
15% discount at Cotswold Outdoors We will issue you with a 15% Discount Card valid at all Cotswold Outdoor stores, and online, for the whole year on confirmation of your booking.
Luggage Transport We will transfer your luggage between each overnight stop – if you leave your luggage at the accommodation when you set off in the morning, it will be moved on to your next B&B. You only need to carry a small day sack with the clothes and provisions you require during the day’s walk.
Packed Lunches
Provided for each day’s walking and recommended on this holiday as there will not always be a handy shop or cafe on the route.
Off Road Parking If you are travelling by car we can usually arrange off road parking for the duration of your trip. (There may be a small charge for this).
Arrangement of return transport We can also arrange your transfer back to your car, (or advise you when public transport is a better option)!
What’s not Included
Evening Meals Your evening meal isn’t included in the package, but we include full details and recommendations for each evening meal in your itinerary. You will normally be within walking distance of a pub and/or restaurant, or where there is good food available at the accommodation, we’ll book that for you. Allow about £20.00 per night.
Transport to the Start & Away from the Finish Have a look at the “Travel Info” tab above for suggestions. If you’re still struggling, get in touch and we’ll help you sort it out.
Travel Insurance Even if you are based in the UK travel insurance is worth having.

One of the great features of our South Downs holidays is the quality of the accommodation, including small country house hotels, guest houses, bed and breakfasts and farm house accommodation. In selecting the accommodation we look for helpful, friendly hosts with good quality, characterful accommodation close to the trail. We always try to arrange en suite accommodation, i.e. rooms with their own bathrooms for each night of your stay. However, in some of the more remote locations accommodation is limited and occasionally we may have to book rooms with shared bathrooms for one or two nights of your holiday, (especially if the booking is made at short notice), but we will always let you know if this is likely to be the case. Here are a few examples of the accommodation we book for you:

Giffard House, Winchester
An elegant, beautifully restored Victorian house with luxurious rooms and plenty of character. Located in a quiet part of Winchester, only a short walk from the city centre, you are assured of a warm welcome and a comfortable stay.



Corhampton Lane Farm, Exton
This traditional farmhouse near the village of Exton has large, beautifully decorated rooms and is full of character and charm. Suzanne is a delightful host and you are assured of a friendly welcome and a delicious breakfast from her lovely farmhouse kitchen.

General travel information for the South Downs Way will be included in your holiday pack, including train and bus timetables where available. Detailed instructions on getting to your first night’s accommodation by car, or on foot from the nearest train or bus station, will also be included in the holiday pack on individual accommodation maps. To view train times please visit national rail ,where you can also purchase tickets in advance. For information on bus timetables please visit traveline.

Getting There:
By Air:
The nearest International Airports to the trail are Southampton (European and domestic flights only) and London Heathrow. There is a railway station at Southampton Airport (Southampton Airport Parkway) with fast and frequent trains to Winchester (journey time approx. 10 mins). Trains also run frequently between London Heathrow (Terminals 1, 2 and 3) and Winchester changing at Hayes & Harlington and Reading (journey time approx. 2 hours).

By Public Transport: There is a railway station at Winchester (WIN). Winchester Railway Station is located on the South Western Main Line with frequent trains to and from London Waterloo station (journey time approx. 1 hour). There is a taxi rank at the station if needed.

By Road: Winchester is located not far off the M3 motorway at Junctions 9 and 10. If travelling from the North, follow the M6 motorway onto the M40. Leave the M40 at Junction 9 (Bicester/Oxford) and follow the A34 towards Oxford and Newbury. Continue on the A34 until you reach Winchester.

Getting Away:
By Public Transport: There is a railway station at Amberley (AMY). Amberley Railway Station is located on the Arun Valley Line with hourly trains direct to and from London Victoria station (journey time approx. 1 and a half hours)


Winchester is one of England’s most historic cities and well worth an extra day. It was the ancient capital of Wessex, and seat of King Alfred the Great. Winchester Cathedral has been a place of worship for 900 years and houses, amongst other treasures, Jane Austen’s tomb. King Arthur’s famous Round Table is worth a visit, in the Great Hall, and the City Museum has many fascinating displays and artefacts. There are many places to eat and drink, too.


Nestling at the foot of the Downs, Amberley, with its many thatched cottages, is a lovely place for a day off. Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre covers a 36 acre site, and is dedicated to the industrial heritage of the area. There is a narrow gauge steam train and vintage bus service to take you around the site, as well as many traditional craftsmen, such as stained glass makers and wheelwrights. Amberley also has a castle, which can be viewed form the outside, and a train station with regular services to the nearby historic town of Arundel.

Prices AUD ($)
Accommodation, map & guidebook only $675
with Luggage Transport $733
with Packed Lunches $714
with Luggage & Lunches $769

Other Options

Extra Nights (per night) $104
Single Supplement (per night) $48
Solo Luggage Supplement (per day) $18