Unlike the South Coast West route, there are hardly any major climbs to contend with on South Coast East, but that means you won’t benefit from many relaxing downhills either. Starting off in the New Forest at Brockenhurst, you’ll jump on four ferries to make it along the initial section of the route, crossing Southampton Water, the River Hamble, from Gosport to Portsmouth and then over to Hayling Island. You’ll largely be avoiding the bustling activity of Southampton and Portsmouth, before historic Chichester and nearby Fishbourne Roman Palace beckons.
There are some gaps in National Network Route 2 between Chichester and Bognor, and from Littlehampton to Goring-by-Sea, but there are suggested alternative routes for these sections. There are easy-going promenades to enjoy in the towns leading up to Brighton, before a climb out of the city’s marina. Passing through Seaford, you’ll go through a stretch of the beautiful South Downs, the Cuckmere River Valley – a scenic diversion avoiding the challenging gradients of Beachy Head. Coming back down to the coast at Bexhill and Hastings, you’ll then come to the historic town of Rye – home to arguably some of the most picturesque streets in the UK, and a potential stop-off point before the flat, otherworldly expanses of Romney Marsh.
Then it’s on to Folkestone, after which you’ll be greeted with the only major climb of the journey, but at 500ft above sea level the views will make it all worth it. Finally, Dover and its iconic white cliffs mark the end of your journey.
We have taken all responsible steps to ensure that these routes are safe and achievable by people with a reasonable level of fitness. However, all outdoor activities involve a degree of risk. To the extent permitted by law, Sustrans accepts no responsibility for any accidents or injury resulting from following these routes. Walking and cycling routes change over time. Weather conditions may also affect path surfaces. Please use your own judgement when using the routes based upon the weather and the ability, experience and confidence levels of those in your group.