Downs Link - Stile-Free

Downs Link - Stile-Free

A shorter, easier alternative walk along the Downs Link, bypassing the ascent onto St Martha’s Hill.

6 to 8 nights
36 miles
Easy to Moderate

From £730 per person

Discover the available tours

About this route

The Downs Link follows a disused railway line through the landscape between the North and South Downs. Since the trains departed in the 1960s, the embankments have become a green corridor for wildlife. The route connects a range of habitats, passing banks of wildflowers, woodlands, rivers and streams.

This holiday option follows the Wey South Path and River Wey Navigations for the first stage of the walk, avoiding the ascents onto St Martha’s Hill and Blackheath. This route is less challenging than the main trail, but is still very scenic and enjoyable.

Upon reaching Bramley, this route is identical to our main route option. You can then expect a relaxed amble through glorious woodland, with plenty of chances to spot a variety of wildlife.

As a Stile-Free route, this walking holiday along the Downs Link path has no stiles or other challenging obstacles to contend with. Any climbs or descents are short and/or gentle. It is suitable for beginners, young families and those with mild mobility impairments.

© Contours Walking Holidays Downs Link - Stile-Free map
Guildford/Shoreham By Sea
36 miles (58 km)
2nd January to 24th December

Holiday highlights

Keeping an eye out for a variety of beautiful wildflowers and elusive animals, including butterflies, birds and small mammals.

Seeing the scenery change as you traverse the Weald, the naturally-formed basin that separates the North and South Downs.

Passing by a range of intriguing historic landmarks, including Guildford Boathouse, Baynard’s Station, West Grinstead Station, Bramber Castle and Shoreham Airport.

Available tours

CodeTourDurationDifficultyPrice per person
DLA1 From Guildford(L) to Shoreham-by-Sea(L) 6 nights, 5 days walking Stile-Free - Moderate£730
DLA2 From Guildford(L) to Shoreham-by-Sea(L) 7 nights, 6 days walking Stile-Free - Easy£850
DLA3 From Guildford(L) to Shoreham-by-Sea(L) 8 nights, 7 days walking Stile-Free - Easy£970

Downs Link - Stile-Free 6 nights, 5 days walking

£NNN per person
  • Itinerary
  • What's included?
  • Extra nights?
  • Tour facts
  • Route profile
  • Travel info
  • Weather

Travel to Guildford(L) where your first night's accommodation has been booked

Day 1

Guildford(L) to Cranleigh. 8.5 miles (13.5km)

Day 2

Cranleigh to Rudgwick(T). 4 miles (6.5km)

Day 3

Rudgwick(T) to Southwater(T). 7.5 miles (12km)

Day 4

Southwater(T) to Henfield. 7.5 miles (12km)

Day 5

Henfield to Shoreham-by-Sea(L). 9 miles (14.5km)


Depart from Shoreham-by-Sea(L) after breakfast

Your Itinerary

This itinerary lists our preferred overnight stops for this tour. Sometimes there may be a shortage of available accommodation in a preferred location, in which case we will transfer you from the trail to your accommodation and back again at no extra charge. Overnight stops marked with a (T) will always require transfers as standard.

Overnight stops marked with an (L) have very limited accommodation, and therefore more often than not will also require a transfer, particularly on bank holidays and weekends. We will use non-transfer accommodation wherever possible.

The daily mileages quoted are average trail miles only and do not include the distance from the trail to your accommodation. We do not expect you to have to travel more than a mile from the trail to your accommodation; should your accommodation be further than this, transfers will be provided as standard.

Below are the additional costs that may apply depending on your requirements. Dog-friendly tours are subject to a Daily Dog Charge, which will be listed below if applicable. Our standard prices per person are based upon two people sharing a room; if you are on your own, or are part of a group but require a room of your own, then the Solo Traveller or Single Supplements apply respectively:

A note about transfers
Solo Traveller Supplement
£60.00 per person / per night
Single Supplement
£45.00 per person / per night

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

Extra night (Standard)
£65.00 per person / per night

What's included?

  • 6 nights' accommodation in en-suite rooms (where available) in selected B&B’s, hotels, inns and guesthouses along the trail, or a short distance away via taxi provided at our expense.
  • Breakfast each day.
  • Door to door luggage transfer.
  • Maps with the route marked on and a guidebook or route notes describing the trail.
  • An information pack containing an itinerary, instructions on how to find your accommodation each night and a kit list.
  • Detailed travel instructions on how to get to the start of your holiday and back from the end of it.

Extra Nights & Rest Days

The Downs Link Trail visits a variety of wonderful location on its journey, offering plenty to see and do along the way. If you want to explore some specific areas more thoroughly, you can extend your holiday by adding extra night stays at any of your overnight stops.

The bustling town of Guildford is a great choice for an extra night’s stay due to its fascinating array of historic attractions. These include a medieval undercroft on Guildford high street, the former courtroom of the Guildhall, Guildford Museum, and the wonderful Guildford Castle, where there are panoramic views over the surrounding countryside. In terms of more modern features, the town boasts a contemporary cathedral, a university, world-class sports facilities and plenty of shops and eateries to enjoy. The areas around Guildford are also filled with gorgeous landscapes ripe for exploration, including the preserved sections of waterfront that showcase the history of the Wey Navigations that once occupied the river.

The small market town of Cranleigh is another perfect location if you need a day to rest and relax. The vibrant High Street has a wealth of lovely independent shops and places to eat, and a variety of events are held throughout the year to help boost its already strong community spirit. As well as the Cranleigh Arts Centre, the Leisure Centre and plenty of other amenities within the town itself, the surrounding countryside offers the ideal opportunity to enjoy a gentle stroll. You could also visit the other nearby villages of Alford, Bramley, Ewhurst and Shamley Green, each with their own special charm and stories to uncover.

Henfield is yet another friendly, thriving market village that is worth further exploration. Its criss-crossing network of streets present a selection of unique shops, old inns and historic buildings, so you could easily spend an afternoon leisurely wandering and discovering something new around each corner. More notable features include the 13th century Church of St Peters, which can be found at the highest point in the village; though perhaps the most famous attraction in Henfield is the Cat House, a unique and quirky thatched property with an unusual tale to tell.

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

Extra night (Standard)
£65.00 per person / per night

Tour Facts

Total distance: 36 miles (58 km)
Duration: 6 nights, 5 days walking
Minimum daily distance: 4 miles (6.5 km)
Maximum daily distance: 9 miles (14.5 km)
Code: DLA1 Grade: Stile-Free - Moderate
Season: 2nd January - 24th December
Start of holiday: Guildford(L)
End of holiday: Shoreham-by-Sea(L)

Route Profile

Downs Link - Stile-Free Route Profile

Travel Information

Useful information and travel links that will assist you in your plans to travel to the start of the holiday and back from the end of it are sent to you with your full tour pack. A summary is given below:

By Air - The most convenient major city and international airports are London Gatwick and London Heathrow and London Stanstead.

By Rail - There are train stations at the start of the trail (Guildford) and at the end of the trail (Shoreham-By-Sea).

By Bus - Various bus services run to Guildford and from Shoreham-By-Sea.

From London - Trains run from London Waterloo Station to Guildford.

Return To The Start - The easiest way to return to the start is to take the train from Shoreham-By-Sea to Guildford.

Weather Information

To find out more about the weather forecast for your chosen holiday's general location, please see the following websites:

  • MetCheck - This website allows you to look up detailed weather information for specific locations as far as six months in advance.
  • Met Office - This website shows regional area forecasts a few days in advance, with a general UK forecast description of up to 30 days in advance.
  • Mountain Forecast - This website shows what the forecast is like up on specific hills and fells, and offers forecasts a few days in advance.

Routes on this trail

Downs Link - Via St Martha's Hill
4 to 6 nights
41 miles
Easy / Moderate+
From £485 per person
The official route of the Downs Link trail, visiting the viewpoints of St Martha’s Hill and Blackheath.Find Out More