The South Downs on Two Wheels
With 1,200 kilometres of public bridleways across the National Park, cyclists are really spoilt for choice. Whether you’re a serious mud junkie or enjoy a gentle peddle, this is a great way to get the wind in your hair and explore England’s newest National Park.
The 160 km South Downs Way is the only UK National Trail fully accessible to riders and can be completed in a two or three day trip throughout the year. The views are stunning, the climbs challenging and the descents exhilarating. If you manage the entire trail you’ll even get a free certificate.
Heading out of Winchester, the route begins easily enough taking you over Cheesefoot Head and Beacon Hill. A short detour here brings you to the South Downs Sustainability Centre, complete with an organic, fair trade, vegetarian and vegan café as well as a woodland campsite, yurts and an eco-lodge if you decide to stop.
From here the route gets going with a steep drop down to Queen Elizabeth Country Park and then up to Harting Down where the vistas really begin to open up with views to Chichester, Goodwood, Kingley Vale and the Isle of Wight. You’ll also spot the Devil’s Jumps, some 3000 year old tumuli and a memorial to a WW2 pilot on Treyford Hill.
Brace yourself for a few big climbs and descents before finally dropping into Amberley and a welcome break at The Sportsman Inn or a wander around Amberley Museum & Heritage Centre.
It’s a big old climb back out of the Arun Valley past legendary Chanctonbury Ring and another big climb at Truleigh Hill towards Devil’s Dyke. A quick detour down the scarp slope brings you to the 18th century Shepherd and Dog at Fulking (although you’ll need to cycle back up again!).
From here you’re heading eastwards over the open grasslands of the chalk downs to the Jack and Jill Windmills, Ditchling Beacon and through ancient Alfriston. You can then enjoy a downhill ride to the seafront in Eastbourne and a well-earned rest.