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on 9 June 2009
I have just returned from an 8-day walk along the 100 miles of the South Downs Way and found this guide invaluable. We walked the Winchester-Eastbourne route, which is the direction that the book is set out, but the maps and information could easily be read in reverse. The information about places to stay and eat is excellent and the maps are very detailed and easy to follow. You could probably get away with just taking this book and no Ordanance Survey maps as the maps in the book are so good and the Way is well marked, however it is always a good idea to have a back-up OS sheet in case you do wander off the track (it happened to us once or twice when we were really tired and not paying as much attention to the trail).
We camped along the way and the advice about distances and suggested itineraries were really good and made the overall distance manageable. The book is a nice size to carry and fits in rucksack pockets to be easily accessible. There are lots of other interesting features noted on the maps and several boxes of interesting facts about the area through which you are walking.
The only minor criticism was that the occasional gradient was marked the wrong way round - a bit of a disappointment when you've just trudged up several long hills and the map promises a section of downhill... only to find the arrow was marked the wrong way and it's actually another uphill! Otherwise a great little book and highly recommended, if not essential, to those planning on walking some or all of the South Downs Way.
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on 29 October 2009
The book is a comprehensive guide to the South Downs Way. It starts in Winchester and takes you through to Eastbourne. There is a lot of useful information for those who may not have walked a long distance path before with schedules compiled for the camper, those staying in hostels and camping barns as well as the person using Bed and Breakfast accommodation. The guide has introductory pages on 'What to take', 'When to go', Flora and Fauna (including colour illustrations) and other aspects of preparing for the walk.

The maps are the most useful feature and these are line drawings with annotations. Key features are marked and the route is easy to follow. The Way itself is well marked with signposts and there is little chance of taking a wrong turning.

Summing up: Clear maps. Walks from West to East although the maps can be used the opposite way round. (The timings between key points or junctions are shown for walkers going in either direction.) Good information to help preparation and good suggestions for accommodation and where to eat.South Downs Way: Winchester to Eastbourne (South Downs Way British Walking Guide: Planning, Places to)
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on 3 August 2008
This book is just as applicable for people walking from Eastbourne to Winchester (I didn't myself) as the directions can easily be reversed; however I personally feel finishing in Eastbourne is much more natural climax to the whole walk.

The book itself is fantastic, it's an ideal resource for planning your trip as much as it is for actually walking the South Downs Way with its excellent, accurate and useful mapping. I did take the OS sheets and did refer to them a little for when I needed to deviate from the trail (to/from accommodation mainly) but overall I think this is one of the best travel guides I have ever bought.

A valuable and dare I say necessary companinion for this walk. It's also small, and the binding is such that it will endure the abuse of walking with it.

Highly recommended.
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on 12 September 2008
I, and 2 pals, used this book to walk the entire SDW last Month and found it to be an invaluable guide to the route. With accurate timings, great detailed maps and even the odd off-beat funny comment, it was easy to navigate and follow the route from it. The detail on planning was also excellent and we planned the whole trip from detail in this book - even refering to it during the trip to change our plans! OK a couple of telephone numbers have changed, but a quick look on the net produced the correct ones without problem. Of course the trip was made much better by not having to get the waterproofs out once, but I don't think this book was responsible for the weather!

A great walking guide that is a must for anyone doing the South Downs Way!
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on 3 September 2010
We bought the book (Third edition)mainly because it starts from Winchester (to Eastbourne)which is the direction we want. With hindsight we have found that it is size, weight, price and print to the National Trail Guide of the SDW (2008)(by Paul Millmore).

We have enjoyed reading it by dipping in and out. It is full of information you think you need plus loads more that you didn't know you needed! We liked the tables with estimated walking times of distances.... they are also at the bottom of each page.

The style is friendly and informal. We are still planning our trip but have found this book inspiring - so can't wait to get going !
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on 8 October 2009
i walked the downs recently with my dog. no map reading/ long walking experience and walked the route back to front (eastbourne/winchester)all i took was this book. with the help of passing walkers, mainly for reassurance and tips, it was all i needed. i would suggest a map for off the way as my only problems arose when rejoining trail in morning, that probably says more about me in the mornings than any fault in the book. i also got confused with times to begin with (by including time of detours to villages that i didn't walk)
my only negative comment would be on the camping section. i took all my equipment with me and found it really tough to keep up with the schedule. i had to b&b the last two nights as i ran out of time. that said, great book, great help.
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on 15 April 2011
I Have the South Downs Way (National Trail Guides) book but was a bit disappointed with that. Mainly because it went East to West, when the majority of people go west to east. So I decided on a this guide. It's much better with in depth guides to places to stay and eat and point of interest. There's a useful grid for each town/village along the way with whether it's got food, camping, cash point etc and how far it is away from the trail.

It's compact but the maps aren't brilliant so expect to use a map if necessary.
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on 19 July 2016
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on 5 January 2011
A truly great summary of the South Downs but accessible only to those customers Amazon delivers to. Regrettably I am not one.
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