Yellow sky over green landscape in devils dyke, west riding
Yellow sky over green landscape in devils dyke, west riding

West Sussex - Devil's Dyke Valley

A legendary beauty spot with a devilish history

Devil's Dyke is a 100m deep v-shaped dry valley on the South Downs in Sussex, a little way north-west of Brighton. This renowned beauty spot is managed by the National Trust, and is also part of the Beeding Hill to Newtimber Hill Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Keep an ear out for skylarks on your hikes.

Devil's Dyke was a major local tourist attraction in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is now a popular site for walking, model aircraft flying and hang gliding. The South Downs Way passes the site.

Devil's Dyke gets its name from a legend that says the devil was furious at the conversion of the people of the Weald to Christianity and decided to dig a dyke through the South Downs, so the sea would flow in and drown all the villages. To make sure his efforts weren't discovered until it was too late, he decided to dig the dyke in a single night. However his noisy digging woke an old woman, who lit a candle. This then woke her cockerel, who began to crow. Seeing the light and hearing the cockerel, the devil was fooled into thinking it was dawn, rushed off with his work uncompleted, and the Weald was saved.

Hike, cycle or stroll your way round the many trails leading through and around this picturesque spot with far-reaching views of the South Downs.