South Downs Way, day 0: Cambridgeshire to Winchester

Colin and I decided that after last year’s Hadrian’s Wall Path (HWP) adventure, we’d tackle something a little easier, if a little longer: the South Downs Way (SDW).

We had most of the equipment we’d need from doing HWP; we’d really only need to stock up on consumables – plus a new pair of shoes for me. We also had our trusty Trailblazer SDW guide book [1].

The plan

The plan is to do the walk from west to east, starting at Winchester and finishing one hundred miles and eight days later in Eastbourne. We’ll stay in a B&B in Winchester before setting off first thing in the morning – after breakfast, of course. We’ll camp every night after that until we reach Eastbourne, where we’ll stay overnight in a pub, before heading back home the next day.

Simple. Apart from the trains to Winchester.

The trains

As if it wasn’t a convoluted enough route to Winchester, what with having to get to London, cross London on the Tube and get another train to Winchester, we had to get not one, but two rail-replacement buses to get to the start. We did get there in one piece, so that was all good.

Once we got to Winchester, we walked to our B&B via WHSmiths: I’d forgotten to bring my horned pencil! I bought a pencil with a rubber tip and put it in my bumbag. After we had dumped our stuff in our cell for the night, we set off to explore in more detail, and to find some food.


We had a drink in the Royal Oak, which purported to be the oldest pub in England. We didn’t know if this was true or not, but it certainly looked pretty old.

There were lots of interesting things to see in Winchester; it would be a nice place to spend a weekend.

Weather station in the wall, plus lots of geographical information

After we’;’d explored all we could explore, we turned in for the night. We had a big day ahead of us!


  1. Jim Manthorpe and Stedman, Henry (2022) South Downs Way, 7th edition. Trailblazer Publications: Surrey, UK

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