South Downs Cycle Routes
Please use the links below to view full route information including descriptions, elevation profiles, interactive maps and GPS downloads.
You can also view an overview map of all the routes in the using the South Downs Cycle Map
|Black Down||4 miles (6 km)||Climb to the highest point in the South Downs on this challenging route in Sussex. The area is run by the National Trust and includes a series of well defined paths taking you to flower-rich meadows, ancient woodland and copses. There are fabulous views over the Weald from the Temple of the Winds, at the southern end of Black down. The English Channel can also be seen through the River Arun gap on a clear day. The circular route below starts at the car park near the Temple of the Winds and takes you north across Black Down to Boarden Door Bottom.|
Cyclists can also enjoy a number of easy bridleways or more challenging mountain bike trails which run across the area.
The Sussex Border Path walking trail runs through Black Down so you could pick up this trail and head west to the nearby Marley Common to continue your walk.
Black Down is located just a few miles south of Haslemere town centre.
|Crawley to Brighton||25 miles (40 km)||Follow National Cycle route 20 from Crawley to the seaside resort of Brighton. You start at the train station in Crawley and head through Tilgate Forest passing through the golf course. The route continues to Handcross where you can see the pretty Nymans Gardens before passing the villages of Staplefield, Bolney and Hickstead. A long traffic free section then follows taking you to the outskirts of Brighton with views of the South Downs as you go. The final stretch takes you through Brighton passing the attractive pavillion gardens before finishing near the prom.|
|Downs Link||36 miles (58 km)||This is a terrific walking or cycling path running from St Martha's Hill to Shoreham-by-Sea and linking the North and South Downs National Trails.|
You start on St Martha's Hill will terrific views of the Surrey countryside before heading south to Cranleigh along the Wey and Arun Canal. The path continues to Rudgwick and then onto the delightful Southwater Country Park. The next stage takes you to Henfield and then onto Bramber with its ruined castle. The final stage runs along the River Adur taking you to Shoreham-by-Sea.
|Friston Forest||5 miles (8 km)||Enjoy miles of cycling and walking trails in this large forest on the South Downs near Eastbourne. There are trails for mountain bikers ranging from gentle off road trails to an exhilarating single track ride. There are two fairly easy waymarked trails for walkers. Look out for wildlife including rare butterflies and deer. |
This circular route starts at the car park and takes you along some of the bridleways in the forest. It also visits the pretty village of West Dean.
It's easy to extend your outing by visiting the nearby Cuckmere River and Cuckmere Haven and Seven Sisters Country Park. You could also pick up the The South Downs Way which runs past the forest.
|Harting Down||3 miles (5.5 km)||This large area of chalk downland on the South Downs is managed by the National Trust. It's a wonderful place to go for a walk with splendid views over the downs and an abundance of flora and fauna. The area is covered with wild herbs, wild flowers and pyramidal orchids attracting butterflies such as the Duke of Burgundy fritillary and the Grizzled Skipper. |
This circular walk starts in the National Trust car park and follows the South Downs Way to Beacon Hill - the highest point on Harting Down. The route then heads to Little Round Down where you will follow woodland trails through a large area of Yew woodland. Look out for wren, thrush and finch in this area. The final section climbs Harting Hill through more woodland to return you to the car park.
It's a splendid area with fabulous views across the Weald, the North Downs and towards the coast and the Isle of Wight. Look out for Fallow deer, Turtle Dove and Skylark on the downs.
The whole of this route is designed for walkers but you can mountain bike across Harting Down on the South Downs Way from the car park to Beacon Hill.
|Houghton Forest||4 miles (6 km)||These woods near Arundel have good mountain bike trails and some nice footpaths to try. You can park at the Whiteways Countryside car park, just off the A29 at the south eastern end of the forest. From here you can pick up the trails heading north west through the woods. You could also follow either the Monarch's Way or South Downs Way from the village of Houghton. You can also extend your walking in the area by continuing along either of these long distance trails or the Midhurst Way which also passes through the forest.|
|Meon Valley Trail||9 miles (15 km)||This peaceful cycling and walking trail runs along a disused railway track from West Meon to Wickham. There are splendid views of the beautiful Meon Valley and the River Meon to enjoy as well as a variety of wildlife including butterflies, redwing and egrets.|
|Petersfield to Brighton||43 miles (70 km)||Starting in the market town of Petersfield follow the South Downs Way to Brighton on the south coast.|
Much of this route is through undulating countryside on off road tracks and paths with a lovely coastal stretch on the home straight to Brighton.
|Queen Elizabeth Country Park||5 miles (8.5 km)||Explore 2000 acres of of open access woodland and downland in the South Downs on this circular walk or cycle in Hampshire. Highlights in the park include Butser Hill - the highest point on the South Downs with views to the Isle of Wight. There is also a Visitors centre where you can sign up for a guided walk.|
The park is very popular with mountain bikers with several off road trails running through the park. See the video below for example of what you can expect.
|Seven Sisters Country Park||3 miles (5.5 km)||Explore nearly 700 acres of parkland and coast on this delightful route through the South Downs. The Country Park is named after the famous Seven Sisters chalk cliffs on the Sussex Heritage Coast. On the route you will enjoy fabulous views of the Cuckmere river before heading towards the beautiful coastline.|
There are a number of footpaths and trails in the Park - further information and trail maps can be found in the Visitor Centre. Cycling is permitted on the valley floor and there is a concrete track which offers access to the beach.
If you'd like to continue your walking in the area then you could pick up the Cuckmere River footpath and head towards Alfriston and climb up to the Long Man of Wilmington.
|Winchester to Petersfield||26 miles (42 km)||Travel through Hampshire along the beautiful South Downs Way from Winchester to the pretty market town of Petersfield.
Highights include the fantastic scenery in this Area of Outsanding Natural Beauty and the miles of traffic free cycling on this route.