The Vanguard Way

66 miles from the suburbs to the sea

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Extension and computerisation

In 1986, just five years after the first edition of the guidebook was published, a second edition was needed.  Then in 1997 it was decided to extend the route a further 5 km (3 miles) to Newhaven to provide a link with the Dieppe ferry for those who wish to walk from London to Paris - it has been done! (see the Vanguard Way goes international).

Of course, this required a third edition, largely rewritten by club member Colin Saunders, who has written several other books about walking.  For the fourth edition, it was decided to enter cyberspace with the online version that you are now reading, also written by Colin Saunders, which was first published in 2009 and has been frequently updated.

So, in 2009 the route went digital, when the Club set up the website It included a free 10-section north to south guide in pdf format, together with ‘An Introduction to the Route’, the ‘Vanguard Way Companion’ (with details of accommodation, refreshments and other facilities) and ‘Flora, fauna and geology of the Vanguard Way’. A south to north guide was added in 2011.

In 2021 the 'Vanguard Way PhotoGuide' was published, which is frequently updated and enables walkers to follow the route on their smartphones by means of arrows showing the next step on photos at strategic locations.


To manage and promote the trail, the Club set up a Vanguard Way Committee, which later became the Vanguard Way Working Party. Eventually, after 40 years, they decided to hand over responsibility to an independent, more formal Vanguard Way Association, and this was inaugurated on 28th May 2022 at a meeting in St Matthew’s Church, Croydon.

Membership is open to all who have walked the route or would like to help in some way, either by volunteering their services on the committee or as a ranger, or just by paying a membership fee – click here for details or email with your name(s) and address. Membership (£7/yr) or donations help fund signage to guide you on the route.


© 2023 Colin Saunders