South Downs Cycling

Bike Information for the South Downs National Park UK

South Downs Cycling is an open resource hub for all visitors, residents, commercial & non-commercial organisations relevant to cycling in the new South Downs National Park. We are attempting to collate all bike facilities, businesses and groups located in or near the South Downs National Park. Please let us know about your Shop / Club / Website so we can build a comprehensive directory of cycling infrastructure for the South Downs. We want everything from established companies to your one man trail mapping efforts. You can e-mail us your details at please include: your e-mail address, organisation category, location (in terms if village/town) a brief description, your web address and your postcode - or use our Submision Form

If your a new visitor and planning to go Off Road cycling or attempting the South Downs Way - have a look below at our local Mountain Biking Tips

About the South Downs

The South Downs has been nationally recognised for thousands of years for it's natural beauty and the space it offers for people to enjoy. This is why in March 2011 the South Downs became Britain's newest National Park and the 10th to be designated in England. Have a look at the South Downs National Park Authority official planning a visit guide. Here

The South Downs Way is a historic long distance footpath and makes up one of Britain's National Trails. The path runs for about 100 miles from Winchester to Eastbourne, passing through the heart of the South Downs National Park, there are hundreds of miles of other paths and trails to be explored, world famous scenery in an area rich with historic and cultural sites. For more detailed information have a look at these Websites:

South Downs on Wikipedia | South Downs on Visit Sussex | The South Downs National Park Authority | The South Downs Society | The Association of National Park Authorities |
My National Parks

South Downs and South Downs Way Maps and Guides

The following Ordnance Survey Maps cover the south downs national park: OS Explorer 120,122, 123,132,133. OS Landranger: 185,197,198,199. For a more thorough list of maps and guidebooks - for general use and cycling specific - covering the South Downs and the South Downs Way then have
a look at our dedicated maps & guides page South Downs + South Downs Way Maps and Guides

Local Off Road Cycling / Mountain Biking Tips

The South Downs equals Chalk, wet chalk can be surprisingly slippy but its not as "heavy" to get through as clay mud or peat bog.

If doing South Downs Way for the first time I would get a guide book - maps aren't detailed enough.

There are not a lot of pubs food places on the South Downs Way itself you may have to drop down off the track to a village.

It can be windy on the South Downs ridge, try and go with the wind - check the forecast and take suitable clothing.The prevailing wind for the South Downs region is SW or South Westerly.

There are sharp flint seams in the chalk that are a puncture hazard.

From West to East the Downs hills become more pronounced. So if you are cycling the SDW from Winchester to Eastbourne in 3 days you will be doing a majority of your uphill cycling on the 3rd day. To compensate for this, its advisable to divide the journey into a 40 or 50 mile 1st day leaving yourself a shorter daily mileage for the harder part of the route

There is a lot of livestock (farm animals) horse riders and stables in the National Park

If you are more used to Road Cycling be aware that Off Road Biking takes at LEAST 30% more energy due to the terrain and wider tyres.The wetter the ground the harder it becomes.

Follow the Countryside Code - which is available to read and download from Natural England

South Downs National Park Tourist Information

For detailed tourist information for the areas that make up the South Downs National Park and the locations of Tourist Information Centres

East Sussex County Council | West Sussex County Council | Hampshire County Council
Visit Sussex | Visit Hampshire | Sussex-Southdowns-Guide

Visit Arundel | Beachy Head Local Info | Visit Chichester | Visit Eastbourne | Haslemere
Visit Lewes | Petersfield | Seven Sisters Country Park | Winchester

South Downs National Park Facts and Figures

Area = 1648 square kilometres. Population = 107,929. Largest settlements: Lewes (16,000), Petersfield (13,300), Midhurst and Liss (4,900) and Petworth (4,500) Visitors : An estimated 39 million visitor days are spent in the South Downs each year (source: Tourism SE, 2003) Highest point : The highest point in South Downs National Park is Blackdown in Sussex at 280 metres. In Hampshire, the highest point in the National Park is Butser Hill at 270 metres

Rights of Way : There is approximately 3,282 km of public rights of way within the South Downs: 1813 km of footpath; 1213km of bridleway; 53km of restricted byways; 77km of byways open to all traffic (BOATS); and 176km of road used as a public path. Rivers:There is 321km of main river within the South Downs National Park. (source: Environment Agency 2010)

Historic Environment : (source: English Heritage 2010) Number of Scheduled Monuments 600, Number of Conservation Areas 165, Number of Registered Battlefields 2 Number of Listed Buildings: grade I 150 grade II* 220 grade II 4783 Total 5153 Number of Parks and Gardens: grade I 2 grade II* 14 grade II 14 Total 30

Land Use : Approximately 85% of the land area within the South Downs National Park is agricultural (Grade 1-5), 14% is non agricultural (eg woodland), and 1% is urban. (source: Agricultural Land Use Classification) Key habitats: Key habitats within the South Downs National Park include chalk grassland (6,617ha or 4% of the National Park area, and 76% of the resource in the region), lowland heath (1,595ha or 1% of the National Park area), and floodplain grazing marsh (2431.07ha or 1.5% of the National Park area). (source: Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre & Hampshire Biodiversity Information Centre 2010) Woodland:Woodland covers 20% of the South Downs- approximately half of this is ancient woodland (17,427 hectares (ha) or 10.5% of the South Downs) (source: Local Accord between FC and SDJC, 2006)

South Downs National Park and News and Events

February 2016 - Cycle Revolution exhibition at the London Design Museum Until the 30 June 2016. I can't recommend this highly enough.
Unfortunately this has now finished.

January 2016 The 2016 London Bike Show - runs from 11 Feb to 14 Feb: London Bike Show

December 2015 The SDNPA Website now has a dedicated cycling page at SDNPA
There are more developments in the on-going Egrets Way Cycle Path project, see all the latest details on the
Ouse Valley Cycle Network

Nov 2015 Site wide link check

October 2015 New listings added in Bikes Services, Accommodation and Pubs and Cafes pages

June 2015 Site wide link check. New more mobile friendly tags added.

December 2014 Listings and page updates for the Home page, SDW, Cafes and Cycle Clubs pages.

October 2014 New Cycle Paths: 2nd multi user route now open, running alongside alongside Ditchling Road, Brighton, enabling more people to access the South Downs National Park by bike and foot. The 1st opened earlier this year and runs from Woodingdean to Falmer. At the bottom of this article is a full list of all cycle paths in development in the South Downs. SDNPA- News October

September 2014 New much needed South Downs Way water taps in Hampshire (West end of SDW) SDNPA

July 2014 Total Site Link Check

June 2014 The Egrets Way a new Ouse Valley (Rodmell to Southease) cycle route has opened. For more information have a look at the OVCN website: Ouse Valley Cycle Network

May 2014 Listings and requests update

Sept 2013 This Website has had a major muti-page reeboot

Oct 2012 - E-Gov Petition for Blind Spot Mirrors on Large Vehicles - unfortunately this is now closed.

Sept 2012 - Total site link check

Aug 2012 - Avenue Verte - earlier this month signposting of a new cycle and walking route which will connect London with Paris, via Newhaven's ferry service, was completed The English side of the Avenue Verte Partnership is led by East Sussex County Council you can find more details and route information on their and also the Sustrans website On the 29th of August the The Evening Argus Brighton to Paris Cycle Challenge will follow the French side of the route, to raise money for the excellent Argus Appeal

July 2012 - West Sussex County Council has Brand New shiny Cycle Journey Planner - it seems to work well and has good detailed route information. Have a look at

June 2012 - Added the new South Downs part of the electric bike network - so far in hampshire only. Recently launched at Alice Holt Forest, this is a network of Hire Points in the SDNP where you can hire e-bikes and ride along quiet lanes and off road trails via Charge Points strategically located at pubs, tea rooms and visitor attractions. This is a joint venture between the South Downs National Park, the Electric Bicycle Network and CPRE Hampshire. Details can be found at: south downs electric bike network

March 2012 - Currently in middle of big site redesign should be live in next week or two

Dec 2011 - Added: Sign the for Increased Rural Access for Mountain Bikes - now closed. Friston Forest and Arun Vally cycle leaflet pdf links and new entries for the South Downs Way section

Sept 2011 - Added new South Downs National Park facts and figures section.

Aug 2011 - Have a look at the South Downs National Park Authority official planning a visit guide. Here

June 2011 - Added 2 new sections to the website which I hope people will find useful: Maps and Guides and local off road / south downs way cycling tips

June 2011 - Unfortunately there a no current plans from the SDNP or National Trails to install weather stations or web cams. They have no funding in place for the hardware or website development that would be needed. So lets do it oursleves and lets start with devils dyke - it may be possible to get some costs refunded by the time it gets set-up. I am happy to set up the website - if anyone else can help then please get in touch on:

May 2011 The South Downs National Park and Authority officially launched at the beginning of April with a fair bit of national and local media coverage: more here Now they are up and running when can start bothering them with our requests

I am trying to get them to install WebCams and Wind Vanes/ Speedometers at a few spots along the South Downs Way. With the photos and wind data being fed to their website. This is very useful for walkers / bikers / paragliders to get an up-to date idea of weather conditions. It is something that some of the other national parks have in place. The obvious spots are Butser Hill and Devils Dyke (there did used to be a local BBC? webcam at Devils Dyke but it seems to have gone) Let them know what you think at:

March 2011 - The Brighton MTB bods have been busy establishing a Southdowns MTB user group Follow the South Downs MTB Hub Twitter Feed They are really commited to developing quality Mountain Bike tracks and specific cycling areas / technical trails

Jan 2011 - Park authority relocating to new heaquaters in Midhurst. SDNP awarded 11.4 million for next financial year

Sept 11 - Follow the Blog This blog finishes on December 2014. There will a new one soon hopefully.
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Aug 2010 - see below for the The South Downs National Park Authority "Mission Statement"

The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) is the organisation responsible for promoting the purposes of the National Park and the interests of the people who live and work within it. As a National Park, the SDNPA has statutory purposes and socio-economic responsibilities as specified in the Environment Act of 1995

1. To conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area
2. To promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the Park by the public. Working in partnership with other Local Authorities and other organisations, it is also the duty of the Authority to seek to foster the economic and social well-being of the local communities within the National Park. For more information about Britain's National Parks visit

National Bike and Cycling Organisations

Bicycle Association of Great Britain:
British Cycling - Sport/Travel/Trade:
For everyone in the Bicycle Business:
BBC Weather Page :
Cycling Proficiency for the 21st Century: bikeability-dft
The essential cycling resource:
It's so much nicer than riding alone!:
Share knowledge of good bicycle routes:
bike week 16th-24th June
CTC - the UKs national cyclists
Create + view routes in O.S. and Google:
Tax Free Bikes For
UK's sustainable transport charity:
Cycling Holidays:
Mountain Biking UK + Cycling Plus mags:
CTC - maps and routes:
Cycle Campaign Network:
Route and Accommodation guide:
Promoting cycling for Families:
Magazine Website:
Cycling England (Archive):
Use others - Add you own:
The International Bicycle Fund:
The Voice of Road Safety:
Trans Pennine Trail:
The Cumbria Coast to Coast Path:

National Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Links

Assocation of National Park Authorities | England's official tourism website |
The Ramblers Association | Youth Hostel Assciation YHA UK |

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Page Links Checked Jan 2017