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Walking in Mid Sussex
Are you a walker? The South Downs National Park offers you beautiful scenery and a way to keep you healthy and fit.
More than half of the District's 128 square miles are Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Whether you are planning a long distance hike, an active day's walk or just a day out in the fresh air, Mid Sussex has it all.
- Nationally important landscapes
- Fascinating histories
- Charming towns, villages and hamlets
Our park rangers run free healthy walks across the district.
The walks will:
- Help you get fitter
- Show you new areas of the beautiful Mid Sussex countryside
- Help you to meet other like-minded people in a safe and supportive environment
The statement from Walking for Health is as follows: From Wednesday 18th March we are suspending all Ramblers Walking for Health activities – including group walks, social activities and other meetings. All these activities must stop until further notice, subject to further developments.
Due to the pandemic, Mid Sussex District Council Healthy Walks are currently suspended until further notice.
How do I get walking?
You will need to fill in a walker registration form on your first visit. All walks are free.
What are the health benefits?
- Reducing high blood pressure
- Lowering the risk of certain types of cancer and heart disease
- Controlling body weight
- Improving mental health
- Reducing the stresses of everyday life
Walking for health accredited walks
The Mid Sussex Healthy Walks scheme is an accredited scheme run by Walking for Health.
- Level 1: 30 minutes on paved paths. No stiles
- Level 2: 30 minutes to one hour. No more than two and a half miles on non-paved paths. No stiles
- Level 3: Between one and one-and-a-half hours. No more than three miles on non-paved paths. Some stiles and hills
Mid Sussex District Council walks
- Level 4: One-and-a-half to two hours at the most. No more than five miles. Stiles and hills
- Level 5: Two to three hours. No more than seven miles. Stiles, steep hills, faster pace
Further details about our walks and the different levels can be found in our Healthy walks information leaflet
What to wear and bring
Please wear walking boots or stout footwear for all countryside walks. Warm and waterproof clothing may also be needed.
Walking with dogs
Well behaved, sociable dogs are welcome on our walks. The walk leader is responsible for the safety of the walkers. They may offer you advice about your dog or request the removal of the dog from the walk if it is causing a problem.
Please respect the views of our unpaid leaders and those of other walkers. Our simple guidelines are:
- Please clean up after your dog
- Please put your dog on a lead when requested, for example, when walking near livestock and along or crossing roads
- If conditions are suitable for dogs to be off the lead, please ensure that they remain close to you and do not run back and forth through a line of walkers
Who leads the walks?
All our walks are led by trained walk leaders. We have a leader at the front and a marker at the back so we won't leave anyone behind!
Volunteer Healthy Walk Leaders
Mid Sussex District Council's Healthy Walks Scheme is run by the Park Ranger Service - but volunteers lead the majority of walks.
Becoming a Volunteer Walk Leader is a great way to give something back to your community whilst doing something you love and meeting new people.
What does being a Healthy Walk Leader involve?
Walk leaders may lead as many or as few walks as they wish. Some people choose to lead one walk a week. Some once every six months. It's up to you.
Walk Leaders can set up their own walks and choose their own routes or we can supply routes for you.
Each healthy walk has a leader and a back marker. You can choose to lead a route or stay at the back and make sure no-one gets left behind. Many people start off as back markers and then become leaders as their confidence improves.
We have meetings twice a year to plan the next season's walk programme and we also hold an annual social event for volunteer leaders.
How can I become a Walk Leader?
To become a walk leader or back marker you must attend a training course organised by our Rangers. This is free of charge. Please contact the Rangers using the contact details below for more information.
On-going training and support is given after attending the course. Further information about our walks can be found in our Healthy Walks leaflet.
Walk Leader resources
What is the next step?
Join a walk to see how it works. When you are ready you can book a place on one of our training days.
Take a look at the links below for walks in the local area. Discover the beauty of the South Downs, Ashdown Forest and High Weald.
The Countryside Code
Before walking in the countryside, please read the Countryside Code.
The South Downs Way
The South Downs Way links Winchester to Eastbourne. It's the only official long-distance trail which has the status of a public bridleway. This means it can be used by:
- South Downs Way
- The South Downs discovery map
- National Trails - South Downs Way
- Footprints of Sussex - annual group walk with transport provided
The South Downs is managed by the South Downs National Park.
The Worth Way/Forest Way Country Park
The Worth Way follows a 7 mile / 11km disused railway line from East Grinstead to Three Bridges near Crawley.
Combined with the Forest Way Country Park in East Sussex it offers the walker a 17 mile / 27 km route through classic High Weald scenery. It provides a peaceful setting for walking, cycling and riding.
It is also part of the Sustrans National Cycle Route from Dover to Inverness.
West Sussex County Council
The Worth Way
The High Weald Landscape Trail
The High Weald Landscape Trail is a 90 mile / 45km waymarked route. It crosses the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty between Horsham in the west and Rye in the east.
The High Weald Trail
An 8 mile / 13km walk between Haywards Heath and Balcombe railway stations - including Ardingly reservoir.
Download the Ardingly Amble leaflet.