The Southeast Feature
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Hiking in the Southeast
For those who prefer to travel on their own two feet, the Southeast offers long sweeps of open terrain that makes walking a pleasure. Ardent walkers can explore all or part of the North Downs Way (153 mi) and the South Downs Way (106 mi), following ancient paths along the tops of the downs—the undulating treeless uplands typical of the area. Both trails give you wide views over the countryside.
Trails on the Downs
The North Downs Way starts outside Guildford, in the town of Farnham, alongside the A31. (You can park at the train station.) It passes along the white cliffs of Dover and ends in the Dover town square. It follows part of the old Pilgrim's Way to Canterbury that so fascinated Chaucer.
The South Downs Way starts in Winchester, at Water Lane. It ends on the promenade in the seaside town of Eastbourne. Along the way it crosses the chalk landscape of Sussex Downs, with parts of the route going through deep woodland. Charming little villages serve the walkers cool ale in inns that have been doing precisely that for centuries.
The 30-mi (north-south) Downs Link joins the two routes. Along the Kent coast, the Saxon Shore Way, 143 mi from Gravesend to Rye, passes four Roman forts.
Guides to these walks are available from the excellent Web site for National Trails (www.nationaltrail.co.uk). Tourist information offices throughout the region also have good information.
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