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On Two Wheels

On Two Wheels

Conquer the challenging slopes, enjoy the exhilarating descents and drink in the breathtaking landscapes as you cycle the South Downs Way from Lewes to Eastbourne pier.

You don’t have to do this section of the South Downs Way all at once. There are several nearby places you can visit on a short detour, including the home of Virginia Woolf in Monk’s House at Rodmell, the spiritual home of the Bloomsbury group at Charleston and Alfriston Clergy House, the first property ever acquired by the National Trust.

Please be aware that between Alfriston and Eastbourne at the eastern end of the South Downs Way, cyclists must follow the bridleway through Jevington as the coastal route is a footpath only and cannot be ridden.

Along the bridleway, take a short detour to see the ‘Long Man of Wilmington’, the largest chalk figure of a man in the UK. Enjoy stunning vistas back over the rolling downland and great sea views towards the English Channel. Finish at Eastbourne Pier and treat yourself to a well-earned ice-cream!


Getting around
Distance 23 miles from Lewes Station to Eastbourne seafront
Duration Full day or 2 days with an overnight stay in Alfriston
Grade Challenging
Directions – Cycle
  1. Head left from Lewes railway station and take the 2nd exit at the roundabout onto Priory Street B2193.
  2. Stay on the B2193 along Southover High Street, passing Anne of Cleves Museum on your right.
  3. About 40 metres after the mini-roundabout, turn left onto Juggs Road, which will change into an unsurfaced off-road route leading to the South Downs Way.
  4. Follow the South Downs Way waymarkers eastwards.
  5. As you leave Alfriston and cross the Cuckmere River, follow the bridleway left along the South Downs Way towards Jevington.
  6. As you reach the coast, follow the fingerposts towards the seafront and Grande Parade until you reach Eastbourne Pier.
  7. To return to Lewes by train, return west along the seafront and turn right into Terminus Road from Grand Parade.
  8. Turn left onto Seaside Road/A259, then follow the A259 one-way system to Eastbourne railway station.

Useful Information

Take a look at the South Downs Way section of the National Trails website for route descriptions, day itineraries and events, and much more.

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Stories of smugglers abound in this part of the South Downs and the trail takes you through some of the more notorious areas where you can stop off for a relaxing lunch or a refreshing drink of local ale.

The infamous Stanton Gang was based in Alfriston at Market Cross House (now Ye Olde Smugglers Inne) and was only disbanded when leader Stanton Collins was transported to Australia for sheep rustling! Jevington Jigg’s gang of smugglers stored their brandy in the Rectory and the inn at Jevington.

Extend Your Visit

As you pass Firle Beacon, you may have spotted the colourful paragliders at this favoured launch site. Release your adventurous spirit and TAKE TO THE SKIES, the Go South Downs itinerary that takes you soaring above the landscape.

Stay another night in Lewes and cycle the South Downs Way westwards from Lewes to Ditchling Beacon. Follow the BIRDS EYE VIEW itinerary for a stunning 350 degree view across the weald and out to the English Channel at Ditchling Beacon.

Useful Links

South Downs Way

Monk’s House


Alfriston Clergy House

Long Man of Wilmington

National Trails

Ditchling Beacon



"The Downs...too much for one pair of eyes, enough to float a whole population in happiness."