Rottingdean Beach © David Eldridge
Castle Hill © Kevin Gordon
Ovingdean Beach © Simon Carey

Although lost to East Sussex following its recent absorption into the Brighton and Hove Unitary Authority area, I have not let this fact deter me from including the charming village of Rottingdean in this collection of walks. From a starting point high on the cliff top, our walk follows the High Street to reach the oldest quarter of the village where the church and the Plough Inn face each other across the village pond and green. Nearby are The Grange, once the home of the artist Sir William Nicholson, now the public library; The Elms, occupied briefly by Rudyard Kipling; and North End House, once the home of another artist, Sir Edward Burne-Jones. Our walk takes us over the Downs to Ovingdean before turning towards the sea. The return route follows the top of the high chalk cliffs back to the start.

1. From the entrance to the Marine Cliff car park, turn left, walk down to the traffic lights and go right along Rottingdean High Street. Take the second turning to the right (Vicarage Lane) and follow it round to the left past the Plough Inn and the village pond on the left.

2. Opposite the church entrance on your right, turn left along the right edge of the village green, leaving The Elms, the home of Rudyard Kipling at the beginning of the last century, and the entrance to Kipling's Garden on your right. Join another road and turn right.

3. After less than 100 yards go left along a rough track, signed as a public bridleway, which narrows to a path and climbs steadily up and out onto the grassy ridge of Beacon Hill. At the top, with Rottingdean Windmill away to your left, turn right along the ridge, following a clear path which passes, on the left, a stone plinth marking the site of the various beacons which have been lit here over the last 400 years.

4. At the edge of the built up area of Ovingdean, turn left and drop downhill along an estate road with houses to your right. At the bottom of the hill cross a road (Greenways) and the stile, opposite, and climb along the right and left edge of two successive fields. Soon after the path levels out, ignore two stiles, instead turning right along the left edge of the same field.

5. In the field corner, just short of a gate, go left over a stile and ahead along a right field edge, over the highest point of Castle Hill. Continue down the right edge of the next field. Towards the bottom of the hill, go over a stile and turn left along a path which follows the foot of a bark, rising up to your left, and then curves right out to join a road.

6. Turn left in front of the main entrance to Roedean School and forward along the left edge of an open grassy area. Bear right along the access from a car park, cross the main coast road near its junction with Roedean Road and walk out to the edge of the cliff.

7. Turn left and follow the cliff edge path back to Rottingdean. About halfway way, steps allow access down to the beach and the undercliff walk which provides an alternative route in good weather.


Rottingdean is on the A259 Coast Road about 5 miles east of Brighton. Park in the Marine Cliff Car Park (fee payable) on the seaward side of the A259 about 100 yards east of the traffic lights at the junction of the A259 and Rottingdean High Street (B2123). The pub has no car park.

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