South Downs Camping - The Camping and Caravanning Club
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Seaview of the Severn Sisters chalk cliffs in south downs during the daytime

Camping in the South Downs

Best Campsites in the South Downs

Stretching from the outskirts of Winchester in the west to the cliffs of Beachy Head near Eastbourne in the east, the South Downs National Park offers great camping for all ages. Explore our campsites in the South Downs here.

South Downs FAQs

What are the best campsites in the South Downs?

We have a number of fabulous camping sites in the South Downs, including our popular Club Sites Graffham and Slindon.

Last Modified: 01 Jul 2022
What are the best family-friendly campsites in the South Downs?
Our campsites have their facilities listed to make finding a site suitable for you and your family quick and simple. Look out for facility icons such as play area, parent and baby room and washing machines.
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2022
Which campsites in the South Downs allow dogs?
Both our Graffham and Slindon Club Sites allow dogs. Check out all of our dog-friendly campsites here.
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2022
Which campsites in the South Downs are adult-only?
Most of our campsites are family friendly however, a selection of our member exclusive sites are adult-only.
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2022
Can you wild camp in the South Downs?
The rules for wild camping are complex, please read our guide to wild camping to find out more.
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2022

Things to do and see while camping in the South Downs

Exploring natural beauty in the South Downs

The South Downs is probably best known for its natural beauty, green rolling pastures, open spaces, ancient woodlands, and river valleys.

Although 85 percent of the national park is privately owned working farmland, there are still around 1,200 kilometres of public bridleway including the South Downs Way, perfect for walking, cycling and horse riding. The Park also boasts many recreational sites and country parks, including the 2,000-acre Queen Elizabeth Park near Waterlooville and Stanmer Park near Brighton.

Our campsites in the South Downs National Park include Graffham and Slindon. These tranquil and picturesque sites have beautiful views of the park and are surrounded by fantastic walks and public right of way for campers to explore.

Walkers and cyclists can explore the South Downs Way, a 90-mile ancient trail which begins in Eastbourne and passes close to our Graffam Club Site. E-bikes can be hired and charged at several points in the western end of the South Downs National Park.

There are also plenty of walks direct from our Slindon Club Site through surrounding woodland and an estate which has 25 miles of public right of way (details available from the site office ).

Five Scenic Walks in the South Downs

1. Seven Sisters and Friston Forest Circular

Take in the glorious views when enjoying this 12km trail around Seven Sisters and Friston Forest. With a river, forest, cliffs, farms and a lovely hamlet, this trail is a must-do!

2.The Cuckmere River

Starting in the pretty village of Alfriston (coined the “sweet spot of the South Downs” by the Times) to the monumental Seven Sisters chalk cliffs on the Sussex South Coast, this 7-mile walk is definitely worth doing! Get a link to the trail here.

3. Devil’s Dyke and Ditchling Beacon

Widely considered the most stunning area of the South Downs, capture the South Downs beauty on the wonderful walk from Ditchling Beacon to Devil’s Dyke.

4. Meon Valley

The Meon Valley trail is the perfect introduction to the South Downs National Park, as it links to well established trails within the park, including the South Downs Way National Trail. Highlights of the walk include the gorgeous and glittering River Meon, plus captivating countryside views from the top of Hyden Hill.

5. Black Down ‘Temple of the Winds’ walk

Explore the South Downs beautiful woodland and heathland on this walk. This walk takes you through The Temple of the Winds, named after a Bronze Age circular bank. Here you’ll find one of the best views of the South Downs National Park. This discreet spot has an air of mystery and secretive feel to it, with a charming curved stone stead to rest on and take in the views!

 

Delve into the History of the South Downs

The South Downs are steeped in history, home to prehistoric burial mounds, Iron Age hillforts and registered battlefields.

Three exciting historical spots to visit in the South Downs

1. Marvel at the magnificence of the Seven Sisters

The Seven Sisters are a series of impressive chalk sea cliffs on the English Channel Coast. Admired by many, these brilliant white cliffs are an incredible geological phenomenon. The chalk was formed under ancient sea that existed between 65 and 100 million years ago, when dinosaurs were still roaming the planet! The Seven Sisters have also been featured in some iconic movies, including Harry Potter and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

2. Discover remains of the Iron Age hill forts of Cissbury ring

Cissbury Ring is an iconic landmark on the South Downs, treasured for its history, beauty and glorious views. Cissbury was constructed in 400BC, originally acting as a defence fort in the iron age. Since then, Cissbury has provided multiple use over time, being used as settlement in the Roman period and later in the Tudor times forming part of an early warning system of beacons that ran the length of the south coast. In the war, the North Slope of Cissbury Hill was used in military exercises in preparation for the invasion of Europe. Today, Cissbury Ring has a much more peaceful existence, where people can walk and appreciate the beautiful countryside views.

3. Explore Arundel Castle

For those who appreciate Victoria architecture, originally built in 1067 and later rebuilt in the 1800’s to reflect the Victorian’s magnificent gothic architecture, Arundel Castle and Gardens is considered one of the greatest works of Victorian England. With plenty to see and do Arundel Castle and Gardens is a must visit.

 

Other attractions in the South Downs

1. Petworth House is a fantastic National Trust property with a 30-acre woodland garden and an estate landscaped by ‘Capability' Brown.

2. Nyetimber and Nutbourne Vineyards produce some of the finest English wines at West Chiltington, near Pulborough. Lurgashall Winery, near Petworth, produces fine country wines, meads and liqueurs made from pure natural ingredients.

3. Slindon Estate contains 1,400 hectares of National Trust woodland, parkland, downland and farmland. There is plenty to do at Slindon Estate, including beautiful walking trails, cycling and horse-riding, or if you want to learn something new try your hand at geocaching!

4. The National Trust owned village of Slindon is just a stroll away and has a pub (The Spur) and community store, The Forge which also serves as a café.

5. Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve is well known for its twisted and ancient yews and is home to a grove of veteran trees which are among the oldest living things in Britain. It is also home to plenty of beautiful butterflies, including the stunning chalkhill blue, holly blue and brimstone.

6. Hollycombe Steam in the Country is Britain’s largest collection of working steam with a traditional fairground, steam railways and woodland gardens, it is a fantastic family day out

7. Our Club Sites are also within easy reach of the sandy beaches of Littlehampton: Worthing, East and West Wittering and Bognor Regis.

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