Just a few miles inland from the Brighton coast, there’s a vast open countryside, featuring open, rolling green space populated by farms and fields. Much of the area lies within the 12,800-acre South Downs National Park, which stretches for almost 90 miles between Winchester and Eastbourne. There are hundreds of miles of trails and bridlepaths, with something for every runner: gentle, grassy paths, more uneven woodland trails, and steeper chalky paths with steps and stiles. You could spend days exploring here. This interactive MAP has excellent information on the walking/running options, including the South Downs Way long distance walking trail. Two favorite, easily accessible spots to Brighton are:
Devil’s Dyke. Run the longest, deepest and widest ‘dry valley’ in the UK! This scenic, V-shaped valley just north of Brighton has many miles of well-signposted walking trails and bridleways. There’s something for every runner here: gentle, grassy paths, more uneven woodland trails, and steeper chalky paths, with steps and stiles. It would be overwhelming to design a specific route. One popular, longer distance trail is South Downs Way, which runs west from Devil’s Dyke. There are no online maps available, but there are trail leaflets at the information boards. There are also numerous hotels and restaurants in the area, and a pub next to the car park at the top of Devil’s Dyke!
Stanmer Park. Located four miles northeast of Brighton off the A27, Stanmer Park features beautiful woodland walks and extensive open lands. There’s a good network of trails here. For running, you might want to follow one of the ‘nordic walking trails‘, which range in length and difficulty. The most advanced is a 5.8 mile loop, featuring some longer inclines (MAP). You can also explore the campus and trails around the adjacent University of Sussex.