Walks

Sussex Walks: Brighton to Lewes – on the old drove track ‘Jugg’s Road’

Walk Notes

Length: 7 miles

Difficulty: Medium

Terrain: Pavement, grass downland, chalk path

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Lewes is the county town of East Sussex and a pleasant, aesthetically pleasing one north-east of Brighton nestled within an amphitheatre of chalk downland. The two are just far apart enough to be a good walking distance and, crucially for Lewes, also far enough to be able to retain its distinct and individual character from its more gregarious cousin, Brighton. The route follows much of what was the old drover’s road connecting Brighton and Lewes and has some wonderful sweeping views of the downs and Lewes.

For those interested, a drover’s road is an old route for moving livestock, either from one place to another or to carry goods for market as in the case of this route. The people who accompanied the livestock were known as drovers and they covered huge distances transporting wares and livestock across the country. This particular drove road from Brighton to Lewes is known as the ‘Jugg’s Road’ named after the baskets the wives of Brighton fisherman carried containing the fresh fish for sale at Lewes market.

For the starting point of this walk I have chosen Bear road next to the Bear Inn in the centre of Brighton on the Lewes road, very close to the large Sainsbury’s supermarket and the Bus depot a little further down. If you live in Brighton a good idea is to purchase a day saver bus ticket as you will be able to bus back from Lewes via the same route (28 & 29) which runs from Brighton to Uckfield or Tonbridge Wells passing through Lewes.

Here you should follow the road straight up passing Brighton cemetery to your right before curving round on Warren road to your left until you reach the point where the drove road begins and comes off of the road.

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The start of the Drove Road to Lewes

Keep following this path for half a mile or so before you come back onto the road at a junction, with Falmer road heading down the hill to your left. Keep going straight, crossing the road, and take the chalk track that bears slightly to the left. Once you reach the end of this you will see a communications tower and this marks the start of the downland section.

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The path leading to the communications tower

You will now be greeted with wonderful downland views as you reach Newmarket Hill. As you follow on this route it is a great chance to hear skylarks and watch for birds of prey such as kestrels and buzzards flying over cold coombes to your left.

Another half a mile or so and you will reach a stile which marks the beginning of Kingston ridge and a great place to sit and rest with brilliant views of Kingston village and in the distance your first sight of Lewes

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Lewes from Kingston Ridge

 

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The path leading off Kingston Ridge, surely one of the most picturesque in East Sussex.

The descent off Kingston ridge follows a lovely winding chalk tracks that meets at the base of a fork before trickling off the downs onto a lovely track hemmed and hedged with hawthorn, willow and bramble which is very beautiful in May when the hawthorn is in bloom.

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The view left from the Kingston ridge track

You follow onwards going past a row of houses on each side until you reach the road and Ashcombe Holloway where you need to carry on straight over and up until you reach Ashcombe windmill. There you continue over the field diving into a narrow tree-lined track that emerges out onto a tarmac road which leads down to a bridge crossing the A27.

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The path before crossing the A27

Once you are over this it’s a simple walk to reach the outskirts of Lewes and the Swan pub. Carry on along the road passing Anne of Cleves house and you are now in the centre of Lewes. The town has excellent connections to Brighton and you can either get the train or catch a bus at the station outside Waitrose.

A great walk if you’re in need of some fresh air and peace from Brighton.

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1 comment on “Sussex Walks: Brighton to Lewes – on the old drove track ‘Jugg’s Road’

  1. Pingback: Top 5 chalk paths in East Sussex – The Idle Countryman

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