Pub Walks on The South Downs

If, like myself you can always find a justifiable reason not to fully commit to your New Year’s Resolutions, I have found the perfect half-way house to satisfy your conscience – ‘Beer Mat Walks’ – courtesy of the National Trust.

Tried and tested by many of my friends and myself who have over indulged during the festive period I promise that there is nothing nicer than taking in the fresh air and picturesque countryside of the South Downs and embarking on an appropriately named ‘Beer Mat Walk’ . Each walk starts and finishes at a Country inn where at least you will have burned off much of the calories you then consume when reaching your final ‘hostelry’ destination. 

Courtesy of the National Trust, I have listed below  5 beer mat walks you may want to try during the Christmas and new year break. 

Walking can sometimes be the best way to explore a new place or rediscover your local area while getting some fresh air and gentle exercise. However, if you find the thought of a long country hike a bit daunting, you’re not alone. We' The National Trust, have put together a series of six short circular walks (1hr to 1½ hrs) in five different areas across the South Downs.

Birling Gap walk from the Tiger Inn. This circular walk allows you to enjoy spectacular views over the downs and East Sussex coast. Discover part of the world-famous Seven Sisters chalk cliffs By following old drovers' and smuggling routes to the sea from this small Downland village you may also feel a sense of the landscape's long history. Route details  The Tiger Inn, The Green, East Dean, East Sussex, BN20 ODA  - Difficulty Moderate - Time 1 hour 30 mins - Distance 3 miles (4.8 km) - Map Explorer 123 - Dogs allowed Dog friendly

Walk on Fulking  A moderate circular walk, starting and finishing at the Shepherd and Dog pub, comprising ancient landscapes and breath taking views. Explore a famous beauty spot on the South Downs. Along the way, look out for the lime kiln dating back to the Victorian era as well as banks of chalk grassland teaming with flowers and butterflies in the summer. At the top, take in the spectacular views across the downs before heading back down to the Shepherd and Dog for a well-earned pint. Route details - Fulking, Henfield, West Sussex, BN5 9LU -  Difficulty Moderate - Time 1 hour 30 mins - 2 hours - Distance 2 miles (3.2 km)  - Map Landranger 198; Explorer OL11 - Dogs allowed Dog friendly

Slindon Estate, West Sussex - This walk around Nore Hill Folly from The George Inn at Eartham is perfect for warm days in spring, summer, and autumn, with much of the route overhung and shaded by trees. -  A varied, interesting trail perfect for a stroll Slindon is the largest traditional estate on the South Downs. There is a superb show of bluebells under ancient beech trees from as early as mid-April. Route details - Difficulty Moderate - Time 1 hour 30 mins - Distance 3.8 miles (6.1 km) - Map Explorer 121 - Dogs allowed Dog friendly

Marley Common and Cognor Wood – this route is from The Mill Tavern  with it’s nearby ancient millponds of Shottermill  where you’ll head onto Marley Common, where impressive beech trees line a boundary bank. Vibrant heath follows deciduous woodland, grazed by Belted Galloway cattle and a haven for heathland birds and insects. You'll then descend through and into a working sweet chestnut coppice, before heading up to a Summer mead. Route details - Mill Tavern, Liphook Road, Shottermill, West Sussex GU27 3QE -Difficulty Moderate - Time 2 hours -  Distance 3.5 miles (5.6 km) - Map Landranger 186; Explorer 133 - Dogs allowed Dog friendly

Woolbeding Countryside - River Rother and Midhurst. Enjoy this easy walk along the River Rother starting and returning to Midhurst's charming main street. Woolbeding Estate is a hidden countryside gem, situated in the South Downs National Park near historic Midhurst. The walk starts in the heart of Midhurst and takes in the beauty of Woolbeding Parkland. Follow the River Rother, edged with ancient trees. Pass a plantation of whispering poplars and hear the sounds of the weir before returning to Midhurst's main street. Route details - Woolbeding Estate Office - Difficulty  / Easy - Time 1 hour 30 mins - Distance 3 miles (4.8 km) –  Map Explorer 133 - Dogs allowed Dog friendly.

Join the National Trust and enjoy Britain!