The NBH 10 Challenge - The South Downs - 26 miles (41.8km)

The NBH 10 Challenge

"10 Marathons in 10 Months, in 10 Hours"

Marathon No. 5 - June 2014


The South Downs Marathon Walk

(NBH most scenic marathon walk)

26 miles miles (41.8km)

Join us for a spectacular marathon hike across the South Downs and Surrey Hills, taking in the most famous hills and landmarks:

Our South Downs marathon hike starts in Hassocks, as we cross the open landscape of the Surrey Hills before climbing Wolstonbury Hill and passing through Pyecombe and onto Saddlescombe Farm, which is owned and managed by the National Trust, and were we will stop for a morning tea break at the Hikers Rest.

We continue our hike to the Devils Dyke were we will walk through the valley of the Dyke, and onto the South Downs ridge were we will continue to Edburton Hill, Truleigh Hill and Beeding Hill before dropping down to Thundersbarrow Hill and Ewebottom Hill. As we near the end of our South Downs marathon hike we will take in the spectacular views from Ditchling Beacon and continue across the South Downs to the Clayton Windmills, also known as Jack & Jill windmills before ending our marathon hike with a well deserved pint back in Hassocks.


The Devils Dyke

It is a matter of opinion which is the finest view in South East England, but the amazing panorama from Devil's Dyke on the South Downs escarpment must surely be a strong contender.

A legendary beauty spot on the South Downs

Devil’s Dyke, just five miles north of Brighton, offers stunning panoramas, a record breaking valley, a curious history and England’s most colourful habitat. 

At nearly a mile long, the Dyke valley is the longest, deepest and widest 'dry valley' in the UK. Legend has it that the Devil dug this chasm to drown the parishioners of the Weald. On the other hand, scientists believe it was formed naturally just over 10,000 years ago in the last ice age. 

When John Constable described the panorama from Devil’s Dyke as 'the grandest view in the world', he wasn’t wrong, but there is so much more to discover here than just a beautiful view. 

Why it's special: 
The peculiar shape of this part of the Downs, with a long indentation coming into the main body from the north, really does look artificially made; when you are down in the trench itself there's a weirdly cut-off feeling to the place. The legend of the Devil's Dyke has it that Satan was trying to dig through the Downs so that he could flood all the churches on the Weald; an old lady spotted what he was up to and persuaded the cockerels to crow, tricking him into thinking it was morning and giving up halfway through. Sussex was the last county in England to accept Christianity; devils still make plenty of appearances around here, while nearby Lewes is famous for its high proportion of witches and its paganistic bonfire celebrations. 


View from Ditchling Beacon

Ditchling Beacon commands a place as the third highest point on the South Downs at 814ft (248m) with panoramic views, because of its defensive position it was also the site of an early Iron Age Hill fort.

We continue our walk to the impressive Clayton windmills also known as  of Jack and Jill; they were both built during the early 19th Century and are Grade II listed.

Jill Windmill - a 19th century corn windmill, which has been restored to working order and she now produces stoneground wholemeal flour on an occasional basis. The vast majority of her flour (which is sold to visitors) is ground from local wheat, grown in Sussex.

Jill, along with her neighbour Jack (in private ownership), stand atop the scenic South Downs with spectacular views of the Sussex Weald. 


Level: Intermediate (8/10)

Walk Pace: Medium to Fast (2.5mph)

Length: 26 miles (41.8km)

Duration: 10hrs plus lunch stops

Start/End: Hassocks Station


Walks & Mileage Chart:
The purpose of the Walk & Mileage chart is for you to keep track of your walks and distances covered. Your total distance covered will enter you into an exclusive Club 100, Club 300 and Club 500.
This is exclusive to NBH and offers a great prize for each Club.

Food: Pack lunch

Meeting Time: 6.45am.

Train departs from London Bridge at 07.12 and arrives at Hassocks Station 08.04am. Returning to London Victoria at 19.30.

Meet: Tooley Street entrance next to West Cornwall Pasty Co. (leading to platforms 1-6)


Cost: £20.00 based on 4 adults sharing, on a "First Come First Share" basis. (Return rail travel, NBH costs and organiser's fee). 

Individual train tickets are charged at full price, plus £8.50 (NBH cost and organisers fee). 


NOTE: Please remember to change your RSVP if you are no longer able to make the event. No shows are recorded and may affect your RSVP status for future events. After three “no shows” you may be moved to the waiting list for events that are full.

Things to bring:
Pack Lunch and energy Snacks
Walking shoes / Boots
Compeed blister plasters
Spare boot laces
Waterproof clothing (Jacket and trousers)
Suitable clothing for walking (no jeans)
Warm tops (layers)
Money (cash for lunch and drinks)
Camera (optional)


2014 Marathon Walks:

February – Seven Sisters

March – North Downs Way

April – Lewes

May – Hangers Way (Extended)

June – South Downs Way

July – Brighton

August – The Chilterns

September – To be decided

October – To be decided

November – London

NOTE: The above monthly marathon walks are subject to change due to weather conditions, transport, etc…

Also, if members miss any of the marathons walks they can contact me at: [masked] and if there are enough people wanting to repeat a marathon walk I will arrange the walk at a later date.

NBH: Fun & Friendly London based International Hiking and
Outdoor Adventure Activities.


NBH-Natural Born Hikers operate within:
The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992.

For more information:

Look at the following site for the simplified explanation


IMPORTANT NOTE: NBH-Natural Born Hikers consider safety to be our number one priority and while we never take unnecessary risks, we do recognise that any outdoor activity involves a danger of personal injury or death. Remember that you should be aware of and accept these risks as you are responsible for your own safety and you should not undertake anything beyond your abilities. It is also your responsibility to be correctly equipped for the weather and activity you have chosen to participate in.

NBH-Natural Born Hikers recommend that everyone participating in outdoor activities obtain appropriate insurance. The BMC offer excellent policies for all outdoor enthusiasts at very competitive rates:

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  • Brie

    Fab challenge,really enjoyed the scenery and fantastic people . Looking forward to the next marathon hike.

    1 · June 15

    • Giorgia

      Hey! I'm still waiting for your cakes pictures :)

      June 15

    • Brie

      Next time honey..and perhaps they will come with samples!!

      2 · June 16

  • Pawel

    Michael, can you upload some photos from the hike? :)

    June 16

  • Tantali

    Another great marathon hike, thanks Michael!

    1 · June 16

  • Giorgia

    Although today I go upstairs walking like Oscar (four-legged) I really enjoyed this adventure! I hope to see you next time!

    3 · June 15

  • Nathan

    Another really enjoyable challenging Marathon hike with a great group. Already looking forward to the next one!

    1 · June 15


    Great people and challenging walk !!

    1 · June 15

  • Lorraine T

    A great walk and great company. Well worth the achy legs and feet today!

    2 · June 15

  • Pawel

    Really awesome hike, awesome people, awesome path, everything was awesome! :D

    1 · June 15

    • Michael.

      Ha ha, I was at LEGOLAND last Monday, and 'YES' it's AWESOME :)

      June 15

    • Mark I

      What was also awesome was how you kept climbing up on every gatepost and triangulation pillar in Sussex!

      1 · June 15

  • Indranil

    Awesome :-)

    Here's the route we did

    2 · June 15

  • JonSea

    It was a really special walk - lovely weather, fantastic scenery, really great people - top notch all round. :)

    1 · June 15

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