Route 1

Alfriston to Berwick

1.3 miles / 2.1 km Moderate

Discover the rich history of Sussex along this route, taking in a beautiful view of Alfriston from the Downs.

Leave St Andrew’s Church, Alfriston and take the path across the village green (known as The Tye) to the northwest corner. On the southern side of The Tye can be seen the thatched 14th-century Old Clergy House – the first National Trust property in the country.

At the northwest corner of The Tye take the narrow pedestrian passage up to the High Street. Halfway up the passage on the left is the Old Chapel Centre, built in 1801 as a non-conformist chapel and sometimes open to the public.

At the High Street turn right. After 50 yds (45 m) you will see on your left the Star Inn. This building dates back to 1345 when it was a religious hostel for monks and pilgrims en route between Battle Abbey and the shrine of St Richard in Chichester Cathedral. In the centre of the square is the medieval market cross, one of only two surviving in Sussex. Exit the square past The Smugglers Inn whose name is reminder that the Cuckmere River was a major smuggling route up until the 19th century. Leave the square and walk up West Street and up the hill out of the village. Towards the top of the hill on the left is a wooden crucifix which marks the site of a Saxon cemetery dating back to the 5th and 6th centuries. Continue straight ahead and look back to enjoy the view over the village to the Downs. Where the road turns sharply to the right continue straight ahead on a track and after a few yards leave this to follow the footpath along the hedge on the right (do not walk along the track to Comp Barn).

Follow the hedge line down the hill and then continue along the path across the open field ahead of you. Continue straight ahead across the fields. The path descends to a small seasonal stream and then rises up to Berwick Church. On entering the churchyard you will see an ancient mound to the south of the church on which there is a war memorial. This may be a tumulus or Saxon moot (meeting place) and this, together with the circular outline of the churchyard, suggests that this was a sacred site before a church was built here.