Winter walks and wine experiences in Sussex

Winter walks in Sussex, Ditchling Beacon

Winter is a spectacular time to be in our glorious corner of Sussex. For us, the South Downs are never more picturesque than on a crisp winter’s day, thrown into pin-sharp relief by the low, pale sun. 

There are soul-stirring hours, days and weekends to be spent under the huge Sussex sky, exploring the iconic landscape we’re blessed to be surrounded by. With our own roots deep in the Sussex soil, we wanted to share our insider’s view on making the most of the breathtaking beauty of winter in our local area.

Ridgeview Wine Estate English Sparkling Wine
Ridgeview Wine Estate English Sparkling Wine

Make Ridgeview your basecamp

Our first tip, naturally, would be to pay Ridgeview a visit this winter. Far from hibernating, the start of the year sees the estate alive with activity, purpose and anticipation. In the vineyard, the team is gearing up for winter pruning, while our winemakers’ thoughts now turn to blending trials for our new 2023 wines. Plus, with our Winery Shop open year round, this is a great time to book a Tour and Tasting Experience in Sussex.

Of course, you’ll want to sustain yourself for your excursions. We can take care of you in this regard too – and in style. Our Rows & Vine restaurant has taken up residence in our winery this winter, giving you a front-row seat on winemaking in action. The ambience is cosy and contemporary; the menu seasonal, hearty, locally sourced and delicious. 

Before you tuck in at the Rows & Vine, why not stop off at the Winery Shop for a spot of self-sommeliering? Whether you drop in or book a tutored tasting, it’s a chance for you to try our range and pick your favourite to go with your meal.

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View along South Downs towards Ditching Beacon, Sussex

Take in the views from Ditchling Beacon

The Ridgeview estate is situated four miles north of Ditchling Beacon. At 248 metres above sea level, the summit is the highest point in East Sussex and an incredible spot to take in panoramic views of our locale. To the south is the English Channel, to the north the Weald, and the South Downs stretch as far as the eye can see to the east and west. 

There are a few ways to reach the beacon. On foot it’s on the South Downs Way, while also served by regular buses from Brighton. If you’re travelling by car, there is a car park near the summit. Or for the best route of all, Ditchling Beacon is a picturesque 90-minute walk from Ridgeview.

Get back to nature on Ditchling Common

Less than a mile from Ridgeview is Ditchling Common Country Park, a tranquil patchwork of woodlands, lakes and open parkland. Famous in spring for its carpet of bluebells, the Common has its own quiet majesty in winter. 

Criss-crossed by walking trails leading to secluded glades and still, silent lakes, it’s the countryside at its most contemplative. Every flitting robin and frosted cobweb seems to be there for you and you alone. If you’re craving those reflective moments reconnecting with nature, we can’t think of a better winter wanderland.

The Bull, Ditchling

Delve into the local culture

Steeped in history and alive with contemporary Sussex culture, the quirky, crafty village of Ditchling lies two miles south of Ridgeview. It’s an easy 40-minute walk from our estate and worth setting aside a few hours for. 

Ditchling’s rich history is on show in its architecture, with landmark buildings spanning the centuries all the way back to the C12th parish church. And for a village of its size, Ditchling punches well above its weight in terms of culture. At its heart, Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft displays an impressive roll-call of Sussex artists and makers in its permanent collection, alongside eclectic seasonal exhibitions. Meanwhile, Ditchling’s thriving artistic community lives on in its many artists’ studios and workshops. 

This brilliant online walking tour gives you a step-by-step guide around Ditchling’s cultural highlights. Once you’re finished, we can thoroughly recommend stopping off at The Bull for a well-earned glass of Ridgeview Bloomsbury!

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South Lodge
Huluki Sussex Stays

Make a weekend of it

Up to this point, we’ve ventured less than five miles from Ridgeview. We haven’t even touched on the nearby delights of Brighton or Lewes, nor the brilliant local producers who supply The Rows & Vine. With so much to explore in our area, it’s well worth devoting an entire winter weekend to your visit. 

Fortunately, we can point you to some of our favourite local accommodation, with a couple of special mentions. If you’re looking to treat yourself to a little luxury (something we all deserve at this time of year), our friends at South Lodge Hotel are ready to take the very best care of you. 

An immaculately maintained country house set in 92 acres of Sussex countryside, South Lodge is home to award-winning dining and a state-of-the-art sustainable spa. Ridgeview flows freely in the bar and restaurant, but our vinous connection to South Lodge has gone even deeper since its 15-acre on-site vineyard came under our stewardship last year.

For those looking to self-cater in style, our second accommodation tip is Huluki Sussex Stays. Huluki has curated a unique collection of holiday lets around the county, all complete with character or period features. These high-end homes-from-home are a great way to immerse yourself in Sussex life for a weekend, with all the luxe touches you need to relax fully after your days of adventure.

Explore local accommodation
The Rows & Vine at the Winery English sparkling wine Ridgeview Wine Estate
Winter walks in Sussex at Ridgeview Wine Estate

Give your walking boots a proper workout

For us, the great outdoors loses too much of its grandeur through a windscreen. So as tempting as it is to jump in the car and head straight to your destination, we’re firm advocates of taking as much of your winter Sussex tour as possible at walking pace. 

That includes reaching Ridgeview in the first place. With the estate just a half-hour walk from Burgess Hill railway station, we’re easy to reach on foot. And, sustainable souls that we are, we reserve some of our warmest welcomes for those arriving in muddy walking boots!

We hope we’ve inspired you to pull on your thermals and take to the Sussex trails this season.

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Join us at The Beauty Show Live

We are proud sponsors of The Beauty Show Live (at the Business Design Centre in London on 20 and 21 September 2024). Brought to you by the producers of Marie Claire, woman&home and Who What Wear, this brand new event celebrates everything the beauty industry has to offer all under one roof. VIP tickets include full access to the Ridgeview VIP lounge with complimentary beauty treatments, a premium beauty box, a free glass of Ridgeview sparkling wine and so much more…

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Ridgeview VIP lounge at the Beauty Show Live


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