Riding the South Downs Way

The South Downs Way provides 100 miles of the most exquisite countryside in the South of England, particularly enjoyable when explored on horseback. Whether you’re out for a gentle Sunday hack or prefer to use the bridleways of the South Downs Way to improve your horses’ fitness, there is something for everyone.

The South Downs Way is enjoyed by thousands of horses and riders each year, with many accounting it’s popularity to a combination of beautiful views, lovely bridleways and the wonderful going (even on those wet, winter days). Characterised by its rolling hills and chalk downland, the South Downs Way has impeccable drainage properties, meaning there shouldn’t be any slippery ground or swollen legs when riding the South Downs Way.

Whether you choose to hack the South Downs Way one part at a time or feel confident enough to attempt the whole trail at once, you should be prepared in the way of horsebox or trailer parking facilities, find a selection of useful information below.


Horsebox Parking

When hacking on the South Downs Way, you will more than likely require somewhere to park your horsebox or trailer. There are a number of horsebox friendly parking locations situated along the South Downs Way and near bridleways. This PDF highlights a number of equestrian parking sites, indicating the ease of approach to the car park, the space available for maneuvering a horsebox, the safety of tacking up in the area and access to bridleways from each.


Horse Friendly Accommodation

When riding the South Downs Way, you may wish to stop over at a horse-friendly B&B or find a livery yard for the evening. Using the Plan Your Visit tool on the National Trail website you are able to locate accommodation offering stabling along the South Downs Way under the Equestrian Information tab.

If you do not own your own horse but would still like to experience the joys of hacking the South Downs Way, there are a number of riding schools offering hacks on the South Downs National Park and surrounding areas. Whether you are a total beginner or an experienced rider, the South Downs Way awaits you.


Route Sections

Riding The South Downs in 4 Days

Riding the South Downs Way in 4 days - Route Information

Riding The South Downs in 5 Days

Riding the South Downs Way in 5 days - Route Information


How long does it take to ride the South Downs Way?

Typically the ideal route length is 4 days averaging around 25 miles per day. If you wish to take it slower, you can do around 20 miles in a day or take extra days to explore the South Downs surrounding areas.

How easy is it to ride the South Downs Way on a horse?

There are a number of steep inclines and descends but once on the top of the ridge, the majority of the Way is flat and not too strenuous. However, your horse should be comfortable carrying you for the majority of the day.

How can I take the best care of my horse when riding the South Downs Way?

If you are planning on doing the SDW all in one go, then you will need to arrange accommodation that offers appropriate food and water for your horse. If you are attempting the South Downs Way in stages, be sure to remind whoever is collecting you at the next stop to bring water for your horse before you load them. We recommend spraying your horse with fly spray, especially in the Summer months, to ensure both horse and rider are comfortable and safe throughout. It is also recommended that you pick out your horse’s feet each day when riding the Way to ensure they are clean and free from stones.

What should I bring when riding the South Downs Way?

As with any other hack, we strongly recommend you bring your mobile phone, allowing you to contact someone for help should it be required.

What shall I wear when riding the South Downs Way?

We recommend that you wear your usual riding attire, as well as waterproofs if the weather is looking like it could be damp. Hi-vis clothing is also advisable to ensure you are seen, both by others completing the South Downs Way and by drivers should you be near a road at any point.


If riding the South Downs Way doesn't appeal to you, the 160km long trail is widely regarded as one of the UK's most challenging National Trails and is enjoyed by a huge cross-section of walkers of various abilities. Take a Look at our recommended walks.

The many hundreds of miles of single track and bridlepaths spurring from the South Downs Way the trail and National Park means it is not only a haven for horse riders but a mecca for Mountain Bikers. Not all rides need to be on the path, why not take a leisurely tour between scenic villages on your road or regular bile. Plan a cycling adventure today.