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on 26 April 2012
It is a guide book that tells you how to follow the track, and gives some information about the surroundings. Short section in the end with some transportation info, contact details for YHAs, tourist centres, cycle shops, saddlers, vets, horsebox parking and local facilities along the Way.

Some people have complained that it does not include enough information about the various things to look at along the Way, or enough accommodation suggestions. This does not bother me, as I research the accommodation beforehand on the internet, and generally don't want to know the full history of everything I see around me. I rather keep the book thinner so that it still fits well in my trouser's map pocket!

It's got easy to follow and clear instructions. I walked from Eastbourne to Amberley, and found myself off the official track couple of times as I thought it was clear on the ground where to go. Once I realised I wasn't on the official track anymore, quick consultation with the book and I found my way back in no time! After making the same mistake twice, I learned to check the book first and after that had no problems whatsoever. Would definitely recommend to those, who want a reassurance with them to make sure they stay on the Way.

Some other books say that the SDW should be walked from West to East, as otherwise the views can be an anticlimax, and that way the wind is behind you. I found both these claims unfounded, I had no problems with the wind going from East to West, and the scenery is different further West, but in no means any less exciting. So walk which ever way you like!! There is no right or wrong here.

Deducted one star from full 5, as I did miss more information on distances. A distances table similar to that on National Trails website would be good. Also the OS extracts could have the accurate distance of the section of the path shown on them. This would make planning easier, as an estimation from a scaled map is still only an estimation.
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on 27 July 2017
Very pleased with order and quick service
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on 23 August 2011
I'm a bit disappointed, but I guess I should have read the other reviews. The book is good if you want detailed instructions of how to walk the trail, but most people can probably follow a signposted trail or read a map. It has a very small section on useful information and very little on where to stay and eat, taxis to get from one point to another, interesting places nearby etc. And if you want to walk from Winchester to Eastbourne (rather than vice versa) all the descriptive passages of the walk are back to front!
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on 29 August 2011
New look to the National Trail Guide books but nothing changed inside. It is the only guidebook series to have the OS maps embedded for the whole route, so need to buy maps. But there are a lot of negatives. There is little information apart from route finding "turn left at" stuff. The "days" are totally arbitary, ending sometimes at places with no parking, no accommodation and no public transport! Mileages are only given at the start of the book and of each chapter, nothing on the maps or in the text. The mileage table at the start of the book also contains errors, beware, as it tries to include mileages to places to stay that are off the route, so it can look like a section is longer than it is if you do not detour. It would have been so good if, as well as the new cover design they had asked someone who walks to give them advice on what we want from a walking book. I guess I'll have to buy the Cicerone guide as well.
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on 6 April 2009
Thanks for organising the supply of the South Downs Way National Trail Guide. Whilst down in that area of the country last week found it very usefull to select sections of the way to walk and hopefully will continue working on the whole job !

As always these guides benefit from having the OS mapping as a base to follow.

Strangely, as this trail is routed from Eastbourne to Winchester (going West), you always end up turning the pages backwards to walk the other way ! Could do with being one of those guides where it can be read either way ?

Anyway, thanks for your help.

Regards, David Wimbush
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on 14 September 2010
This guide book primarily consists of extracts from ordnance survey maps covering the entire length of the SDW, plus associated text describing the route. Most of the text is in the form of instructions for following the SDW ("turn left onto a narrow footpath soon after passing the entrance to Hogsbottom farm" - that kind of thing). All well and good and all very clear and accurate, but I found that all of that was totally unnecessary considering how well sign-posted the SDW is on the ground.

The guide contains relatively little information about the sites you pass and sights you see on the way. Mentions of such things tend to be cursory ("from here you look down on the village of Little Wobbling") rather than informative (i.e. telling the reader what there is in Little Wobbling and why it might be interesting).

There /are/ sections on accommodation, facilities for horse riders, etc, but these are little more than brief lists tacked on at the end.

In summary the guide would be excellent if there were no signs on the ground, but in practice provides very little of use. In 4 days of hiking, I looked at the maps a few times to check how far we were from the next village/hill/whatever - but no more than that.
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on 3 September 2009
A detailed description of the 100 miles of the South Downs Way bridle path.
The summary introduction to the route and advice to users is well presented, and the whole route is shown on small scale maps.
The route details are superbly presented in 11 individual sections, each with large scale contoured Ordnance Survey type maps. Significant waypoints and features are clearly marked. A useful feature is that the maps are detailed over a wide enough area to allow deviations from and return to the route, as required. It would be really difficult to get lost using this book.
An essential book for anyone wanting to experience the South Downs Way.
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on 26 May 2012
I bought this primarily because it saves buying 3 or 4 OS Explorer maps as you get exactly the same level of detail. It's great for planning a day walk or ride but like most reviewers on here the route descriptions in this book are not really needed. On the Eastern sections I've walked/cycled you can see the paths very clearly and when going down valleys or through villages the route is always very clearly signposted. Unlike some of the negative reviews I can understand why they've avoided including exhaustive lists of pubs and hotels, after all in the current climate there's no guarantee they'll still be open in a couple of years time. There's nothing worse than diverting off route for pub lunch only to find it's been boarded up or converted into a house!
Overall, worth buying if you plan visiting different sections of the SDW or the whole thing, but if you're planning just using one section you're probably better off with the relevant OS Map.
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on 12 January 2014
I have many of the official National Trail Guide books and have used them on numerous national trails; sadly this is the worst by far.

As others have pointed out, there's lots of general information lacking but worst of all, the guide goes the wrong way! Even the official trail team agree!

I'm of the understanding that the trail is extremely well sign posted so will be retuning the book to Amazon going it alone - the right way ;)
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on 17 November 2009
Used this guide when I walked the path during the summer. Brilliant guide with everything you need to find your way but with loads of valuable additional information about the areas you walk through. I have quite a few of these National Trail Guides and they are all just as good as this.
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