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Tour de Rings MTB

Tour de Rings – South Downs

Route Information

Stats: 17 miles and 1900 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Dropping off the north face of the South Downs just after you’ve passed Chanctonbury ring on one of the bridleways, will spit you out into the typical Sussex villages of Steyning and Bramber. Here there are plenty of tea rooms and oak beamed pubs to refuel at, but beware of the climb back up to finish this route – or take the Downs link cycle path that hugs the river back to your car. Check this out on the OS map. At the end of the ride, leave the car by river and amble into nearby Shoreham By-Sea to sample the cosmopolitan cafes and riverside bars

Character

A locals favourite on this part of the South Downs. It’s very much a smorgasbord of undulating and varied bridleways in this neck of the woods with a multitude of loops and extensions. This 17 miles takes in the two iron-ages hill forts of Cissbury and Chanctonbury rings with the perfect mix of what the South Downs does best. Rolling undulation, fast white singletrack, sea views and long challenging but rewarding climbs and flat out XC!


Route

1. Leave the car at Cuckoo Corner car park on the Coombes road which is free but does have a height restriction. You could leave the car in nearby Shoreham By-Sea as many of the residential streets are quiet and without restrictions

2. Turn left out of the car park back onto Coombes road and take the first right that is the entrance to the Hogwarts style Lancing College. Continue to ride up the college entrance road past a row of houses and the first Bridleway will be coming up on the left just past the houses

3. Once through the gate continue the gradual climb for the next 1.7 miles taking in the views of the exclusive college on your right as you run parallel with the A27. Losing the views to the enclosed trees eventually you roll out to into open downland with the sea on your left

4. Descend down as you hug the contouring ridge line of Steep Down with its chalky ruts that have plenty of features for pumping and finding your flow

5. At the bottom of the chalky shoot you’ll come to a crossroads of bridleways, turn left to start your roller-coaster of flat out double track before the fast climb towards the Bostal Road. At the top cross the road and go through the adjacent metal gate before you continue down another fast double track bridleway towards Canada Bottom

6. Blink and you’ll miss it, but continue straight through the next bridleway crossroads, into the steepest but shortest descent of the ride as you rattle on towards Canada Bottom. Keep your momentum high as you seamlessly roll onto “Hateful Hill” (namely on Strava) as you approach the car park at the foot of Cissbury ring.

7. Once at the top of the “hateful” drag you’ll go through a metal gate into a small carpark for Cissbury. Take the gate on your immediate left and follow the wide snaking white road of chalk as it cheekily makes you grind up to the top before exposing the sea views and ancient hill fort

8. Stay on the chalky road with the sea directly in front of you, you’ll bear to your right on a sweeping curving fire-road which throws you into a fast flinty descent before another cheeky lung burner as you make your way around Cissbury Ring from East to West

9. Through the gate at the top of that kicking but short climb, take a breather to enjoy the sea view and green flanks of Findon Valley

10. Continue your circumnavigation of Cissbury by following the bridleway signs round its western flank past Shipdens Holt. Hugging the treeline you’ll pass through a gate before open grassland gives you a full view across Findon Valley

11. Continue on but stay high on the obvious grassy trail, through a second gate

12. Up next, is one of the finest pieces of South Downs singletrack as it winds across the contours with tight twists and an almost perfect flow that eventually spits you out back at the North side into the carpark

13. Head due north on the main bridleway/farm track for 0.5 miles before turning left into what feels like you are entering some fields. After 0.1 mile take the right hand fork and begin the long and gradual descent that hugs a hedge line before rattling you down a rooty fast treeline channel and delivers you out at a farm house on your left

14. Continue past the house on the tarmac and spot a bridleway pointing across a cambered horse paddock. Through the gate and across the field. Once out the other side repeat and go through one last field before picking up a gravelled and flint laden road as you turn left after shutting the last gate out of the second field/paddock

15. Once up the steep but short climb turn right at yet another crossroads of bridleways and begin the gradual climb from the valley side to intersect the South Downs Way before reaching the top and Chanctonbury ring with its perch on the North edge of the South Downs ridge

16. Once at Chanctonbury enjoy the views across the low weald as you peer Northwards and on a clear day a view of the Isle Wight can be enjoyed as you complete your 360 degree panorama

17. Continue on the South Downs Ways, straight into a super fast grassy and flinty descent which is a big reward for the climb up to Chanctonbury. Still going after 2 miles of undulating fast cross-country you’ll come out on the apex of the Bostal Road. Take care when coming out and turn right onto the road and continue on

18. Do not miss the South Downs Way sign on your left as you leave the road and begin the drawn out but fast descent across the upper grasslands, past the high pig farm towards the final race towards the river basin. As the gradient steepens past the pigs it’ll bear right and funnel you into a flat out bumpy finish where the brakes will earn their keep before the gate

19. You’ll exit onto the Coombes road, turn right and take the casual 2 mile pedal back to the car at Cuckoo Corner.




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Stanmer City Limits MTB

Stanmer City Limits MTB

Route Information

Stats: 8 Miles / 900ft (not including commute from Brighton Central if you fancy the warm up?)

Os Map:

Refreshments

Free parking can be found at Ditchling Beacon, The Upper Lodges and dotted in and around Stanmer Park. At the beacon you have great views across low weald and east towards Lewes whilst you enjoy a Mr Whippy or you have the delicious home-made food and snacks at the quaint and biker friendly Stanmer Tea Rooms down in the Hamlet.

Character

If you are visiting Brighton to do this ride, why not make a day or weekend of it and enjoy the Bohemian sea-side town by train! By train you can warm up from Brighton station via the road or change trains and head for Falmer which drops you off pretty much outside Stanmer Park. As the title suggests this is all about enjoying the South Downs views and the singletrack of Stanmer all within the city limits of one of Britain’s most vibrant cities.


Route

1. Let’s assume you travel by train for these directions. Entering Stanmer between the two white gate houses that guard the the estate and hamlet of Stanmer, follow the road through the heart of the park, past the manor house, tea rooms (save that for later) until you reach a gate. Tarmac turns to trail as you begin your first ascent out of the bowl that is Stanmer Park. At the fork bear right and climb up to the pylons

2. On at the pylons, there’ll be a bench and cross-roads into the forest. Head straight on as you descend down to Stanmer Down

3. Escaping the trees, the bridleway takes you out of Stanmer on vein of downland singletrack as you climb again towards the South Downs Way (SDW). As you climb the trail you are on is intersected by another bridleway. Turn left and take this new bridleway until you reach the top and join the SDW

4. Turn left/west for a short burst on the SDW before crossing the infamous Ditchling Beacon road and potentially stopping for your Mr Whippy ice cream

5. Demolish the cheeky snack, enjoy the views before heading west again along the SDW for just under ¼ of a mile before taking the bridleway through the fence and gate on your left

6. It undulates for a bit before at first gently accelerating you down a dead straight double track. As the pace quickens you’ll notice the trail looking like it disappears but as you approach fast you want to take the swooping and quick left hander as you are sling-shotted around the banks of the “North Bottom” escarpment

7. Try and keep your speed as the trail flattens and gently climbs towards the exit gate and the Ditchling Road

8. Taking care to cross the road you’ll see the trail dives in the trees and you are back inside the trees line of Stanmer Park

9. Once in hang a right and follow the double track, hard pack trail to the first gate, through the gate you are back in the open on grass as you ride parallel with the road on your right heading towards “Upper Lodge Woods”

10. As you enter “Upper Lodge Woods” you’ll notice trails diving off into the tree’s to your right. Feel free to take these trails as they will wind you down and spit you back onto the main double track trail (feel free to repeat as you will not of lost any height, so riding back up to the gate and repeating is more than doable but there is plenty more to come)

11. Crossing the Upper Lodge access road ensure you stay on the double track and bear right as it forks. In this set of woods there are loads of singletrack and a smorgasbord of fire roads. From here on in you can pretty much explore what you come across. Everything that heads down and is a descent will most likely bring out onto another fire road or the open playing fields of Stanmer near the white gates houses at the entrance to Stanmer

12. My advice is to explore Stanmer and follow your nose. It’s hemmed in by roads and like I said earlier, if the trail heads down then you’ll eventually find your way back to those white gate houses. Once you’ve had enough take the short flat ride up to the tea rooms and enjoy a great home-made lunch with great tea or coffee




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Hooksway and Goodwood MTB

Hooksway & Goodwood

Route Information

Stats: 24 miles / 2608 ft

OS Map:

Refreshments

The best place to start this ride is at the Harting Down National Trust Car Park, which is very popular due to the great views but is only £2 for the whole day and sizeable to handle the busiest of days. The route takes in the Cocking Farm shop (great local icecream and pastries) with a splattering of village pubs either on route or not far from it. So ensure to check out your OS and plan your stops.

Character

Another South Downs classic. This brings together many elements that is so good about this National Park. There’s the chance to race against thorough-bred race horses as we ride parallel to Goodwood, test your climbing prowess on epic climbs before being rewarded with tree-lined descents and views across the Solent.


Route

1. From the car park at Harting Down head east along the South Downs Way (SDW) for about 6 miles. Descend to Cocking Farm for that ice-cream or quick water stop before continuing east on the SDW as you climb out of Cocking.

2. After ¾ mile and at the Cross Dyke on top of Heyshott Down, turn right onto the bridleway (BW) that takes you south towards Burnoak Gate before delivery you into Charlton (nice pub)

3. Turn left, then first right before Charlton Farm to pick up the BW to Charlton Park and makes you hug part of the Goodwood race track

4. Follow until it brings you out onto the road and turn hard right and ride past the main Goodwood grandstand on the road

5. At the T-junction, turn right and after about 150 meters take the BW to your left that takes you past the Trundle hill fort

6. Heading west stay on this BW until it descends down to Binderton House

7. Turn right onto the A286 then first left and continue on the country lane, before crossing the B2141 and taking the BW straight ahead towards Kingley Vale

8. At the cross-roads of two BWs turn 90 degree right and continue onto Kingley Vale and
up to Bow Hill

9. Stay straight on this BW and follow your nose ignoring the fire road junctions to stay on the BW

10. As another BW comes into intersect the one you are on to a T-junction turn hard right again to descent about ¾ mile to Chilgrove Hill ensuring not to descend all the way to the B2141

11. At this crossroads of BWs turn left to continue on to Bow Hill Farm

12. Follow until you join the road, turn right, then right again as you perform a Zig-Zag on the B2141 to pick up the BW called Philliswood lane

13. Once on Philliswood Lane, follow until it brings you out at the Royal Oak pub at the Hooksway. Perfect spot for lunch or almost a post ride pint!

14. After your stop at the Royal Oak. Take the BW at the pub, north to pick up the SDW and retrace your steps back to the Harting Down carpark




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Birling Gap South Downs MTB

Birling Gap

Route Information

Stats: 17 miles / 1620Ft

OS Map:

Refreshments

This loop offers up a variety of options for a cheeky refreshment or two. There’s the cliff top café at Birling Gap, through to the 400yr old year Eight Bells in Jevington.

Character

It’s not often you can ride cliff top with glaringly wide sea views as a starter before treating yourself to winding forest singletrack to wrap up this fine loop.


Route

1. The best place to start this ride is at one of the Friston Forest carparks which are well marked with ample space. Although keep an eye out for the many lay-bys (off-road) on the meandering road approaching Friston Forest from Litlington as there could be the chance to park for free on these

2. Start with a warm up on the road by picking up the A259 and heading east along it towards the village of Friston

3. At the top of the hill as you enter the village take care to take the gravel road right down the side of the church which is on the opposite side of the road to you. You are now on your first bridleway as you leave the busy road. About 250m down this lane you’ll turn left through a gate into a field to pick up your next bridleway that takes you diagonally across the field and through another gate to descend down Hobb’s Eares, once you’ve rolled smoothly and fast down this grassy embankment you’ll now be in East Dean. Come out onto the residential road and bare right up a sharp quiet road and keep an eye out for the next bridleway coming up on your right.

4. Through the gate and ensure you get into a nice rhythm early as you take on this narrow, natural climb up through the trees before the rewarding descent to Birling Gap

5. Once on top and heading straight for the sea, this is the perfect time to take in the sea air and big views before the fun smooth descent to the café which perches perilously close to the edge of the famous white cliffs of the South Downs

6. Take in the impressive white cliffs from the viewing platform and treat yourself to piece of cake and a coffee at the coffee before the slow and gradual climb from Birling Gap to intersect the South Downs Way high above Eastbourne

7. Head East from Birling Gap on either the Birling Gap road or the parallel grassy bridleway for about half a mile. Then turn left up a gravel road flanked by farm fields

8. Take the steady climb towards Cornish Farm and take the second bridleway on your right

9. Stay on this bridleway for about 1.5 miles up and over “Long Down”

10. Now high above Eastbourne, turn left and pick up the South Downs Way to start the return journey. Through the Golf Course and your reward for the climb is a long fast descent down to Jevington

11. Finally at the bottom jiggle left then instantly right across the road as you pick up the rutty climb on a bridleway that brings you to the top of Friston Forest. Take a breather at the bench and take in the rolling views of where you have just come from

12. Head into Friston on the fire-road, over the first junction, then as you come to a clearing where the fire-road widens and doubles as a passing/turning area for machinery, you’ll see an obvious trail dart into the trees on the right. This is the start of a fine piece of singletrack trail in Friston. This one takes you pretty much all the way down back to the car parks. It’s an old-skool natural trail with plenty of flow, roots, twists and turns to keep you occupied. This goes on for a fair while and once deep in the forest, don’t be scared to explore the trails and bridleways you may come across. With your OS at hand it’s not too difficult to find your way back to the car as the majority all heads in that general direction




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South Downs Expressway

South Downs Expressway

Route Information

Stats: 14 mile / 1430ft

OS Map:

Refreshments

Start point is a carpark on the South Downs Ways at Washington but you could easily start this ride on top of the South Downs way at either Kithurst or Chantry carparks and adjust the route to suit. Accesses to these are from Storrington so check out your OS Maps beforehand. Once you reach the bottom of Amberley mount and follow the route towards the river, there are superb riverside tea-rooms and two excellent pubs to enjoy a mid-ride lunch and drink.


Character

One of my favourite sections of the South Downs Way dominates this ride. Regardless of how fast you want to go, the trail just keeps you rolling almost effortlessly in either direction once you are on top. Wide open views of rolling green hills and sea surround you as the chalk rumbles underneath the rubber. The perfect cruise of a ride, for those looking to get some fresh air and enjoy a pub lunch or tea room riverside at Amberley


Route

1. Starting at the Washington car park right on the South Downs Way (SDW), take care in crossing the A24 and follow the SDW signs west, up the steep road climb that converts into the SDW off-road trail just as you settle into your rhythm

2. Continuing the climb on the SDW, which is now a gradual trek compared to the initial yank, towards the large barn on top of Sullington and Chantry hill

3. Once past the barn continue west on the SDW and enjoy this undulating and flowing section of this chalk n flinty highway for a coupe miles. Once through the patch of trees just past Springhead Hill, take the right-hand fork that keeps you dialled into the SDW towards Amberley

4. Keep your flow as the SDW treats you to more flow before delivering you on top of Amberley Mount. Make sure you take in the views across the river Arun at the gate, before the fast, but wide open short descent off the Mount

5. Once down from the Mount bare right and continue to follow the SDW signs

6. It’ll spit you onto the B2139 at a T-junction where you are turning left and following the road past the chalk pit museum towards the train station and your potential rest stop riverside at the teas rooms or pub

7. Once refuelled, the return leg begins and rather than the tortuous climb back up Amberley Mount this ride takes you South towards North Stoke and brings you back on top via a gravel road and lastly a couple of chalky bridleways

8. Leaving the comfort of Amberley’s watering holes head south on Stoke Road and bare left once you reach North Stoke and follow the road

9. Tarmac turns to gravel and chalky bridleways as you first take the left fork followed by the 90 degree left north which is the final leg to re-join the SDW

10. It’s all about retracing your steps from here on in as you drift right/east back onto the SDW as the trails merge. Its SDW all the way back to the start point on the rolling and undulating bridleway highway




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South of England Mountain Bike Routes

South of England MTB – Riding the South Downs, Dartmoor and The New Forest


Including areas such as Dartmoor, Exmoor, the New Forest and the South Downs, there’s a fantastic network of trails and bridleways in the South of England.

The rolling hills of the South Downs are a contrast to the rugged terrain of Dartmoor, but both areas provide awesome riding, with some forestry thrown in by a visit to the New Forest.

Take a look below as we grow the route selection, adding to these awesome riding areas of the UK mtb scene.

SOUTH DOWNS EXPRESS  – EASY 14 MILES


Wide open views of rolling green hills and sea surround you as the chalk rumbles underneath the rubber. The perfect cruise of a ride, for those looking to get some fresh air and enjoy a pub lunch or tea room riverside at Amberley

STANMER CITY LIMITS  – EASY 8 MILES


As the title suggests this is all about enjoying the South Downs views and the singletrack of Stanmer all within the city limits of one of Britain’s most vibrant cities.

TOUR DE RINGS – MEDIUM 17 MILES


This takes in two iron-ages hill forts of Cissbury and Chanctonbury rings with the perfect mix of what the South Downs does best. Rolling undulation, fast white singletrack, sea views and long challenging rewarding climbs and flat out XC!

BIRLING GAP – HARD 17 MILES


It’s not often you can ride cliff top with glaringly wide sea views as a starter before treating yourself to winding forest singletrack to wrap up this fine loop.

HOOKSWAY & GOODWOOD – HARD 24 MILES


There’s the chance to race against thorough-bred race horses as we ride parallel to Goodwood, test your climbing prowess on epic climbs before being rewarded with tree-lined descents and views across the Solent.

OS Map Stanmer City Limits

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