South Downs Cycling

Guidebooks and Maps for the South Downs National Park

On this page we bring you our personal selection of Traditional and Digital Maps, Guides and Guide Books for both the South Downs and South Downs Way, covering cycling specific routes and tracks general purpose Maps and Navigation Data from a variety of Publishers & Sources.

These are what we as local cyclists have used and would recommend for anyone venturing into the South Downs or trying to complete the South Downs Way - you can also find on this page and our South Downs Way and Tracks and Trails pages, lots of links to other useful Websites with a more detailed and specific focus

For anyone attempting to complete the South Downs Way for the first time we definitely recommend a Guidebook and Map, Maps alone do not have enough detail and the route signage isnít great

South Downs and South Downs Way Maps and Guides

Recommended Guides for the South Downs, South East and the South Downs Way:

These Ordnance Survey Maps cover the South Downs National Park OS Explorer 120,122,123,132,133 OS Landranger 185,197,198,199

The following are Ordnance Survey Explorer (Active Range with protective coating) The Scale is 1:25 000 (4 cm to 1 km, 2Ĺ inches to 1 mile)

OS Explorer 120
OS Explorer 121
OS Explorer 122
OS Explorer 123
OS Explorer 132
OS Explorer 133

The following are Ordnance Survey Landranger Maps. The Scale is 1:50 000 (2 cm to 1 km, 1ľ inches to 1 mile)

OS Landranger 185
OS Landranger 197
OS Landranger 198
OS Landranger 199

Digital Mapping Resources - Useful Online Sources - Official Leaflets and Guides

The digital mapping data of the South Downs Way cycling route is Here in GPX + MMO format. For GPS data conversion try GPS Babel

Various organisations produce Official Guides and Maps (in dowloadable PDF format) for the South Downs and South Downs Way - We have collected these together below - again some of these are cycling specific and some are more general visitor information.

The South Downs National Park Authority have a new(ish) dedicated visitors website section Have a Look

Official South Downs Way Mountain Bike Guide leaflet from English National Trails. Download it here (PDF) South Downs Way Biking Guide

The official South Downs and South Downs Way information leaflets on a variety of subjects can be downloaded here SDW free PDFs

Official South Downs Way Drinking Water Guide pdf download South Downs Way Drinking Water Guide

The Official South Downs Way Camping and Hostels Guide Leaflet - pdf download South Downs Way Camping and Hostels

Local Mountain Biking Tips and Advice

The South Downs are basically chalk hills. Wet chalk can be suprisingly slippy but its not as "heavy" to get through as clay mud or peat soil. There are sharp flint seams in the chalk that are a puncture hazard.

There are not a lot of Pubs / Cafes / Food places on the South Downs Way itself you may have to divert off the track to a village.

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

In the summer months the park is always busy at weekends with families, dogs and walkers etc. Cycle accordingly.

There is a lot of Livestock (farm animals) Horse Riders and stables in the National Park, be careful, shut gates and follow the Countryside Code - which is available to read and download from Natural England

P.S. Sheep are particularly dim (bless em) and just as likely to jump in front of you as out of the way when you honk swear shout ring your bell.

South Downs National Park Rights of Way Facts and Figures

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 in the South Downs National Park. (source: Environment Agency 2010)

South Downs National Park Map and Guide related News and Events

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 website and also the Sustrans website

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 ebikes 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

Sept 11 - Follow the old Blog
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National Bike and Cycling Organisations

BBC Weather Page :
Cycling Proficiency for the 21st Century:
The essential cycling resource:
It's so much nicer than riding alone!:
Share knowledge of good bicycle routes:
CTC - the UKs national cyclists
Create + view routes in O.S. + Google:
Cycling Holidays:
CTC - maps and routes:
Cycle Campaign Network:
Route and Accommodation guide:
Promoting cycling for Families:
Use others - Add you own:
The Voice of Road Safety:

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 Oct 2015