CYCLIST'S GUIDE TO THE SOUTH DOWNS WAY
[I know a matter of personal opinion, but I think from Heyshott Down to Littleton Down is the dreariest, dullest part of SDW !!]
Tarmac lane for 250 yards (0.15 miles). As the lane bends slightly round to the left, there is a WATER TAP on the right-hand bank. See ‘water taps’ map ‘Cocking’.
Now, of course having come all the way down from Didling Hill, you now have to go up again. So nearly 1 mile slow climb on stony, flint. A steady 4 mph grind .See VIDEO on video page
On reaching the top, there is then a good quite fast
stretch of hard gravely surface.
JULY 2011 Noted that SDW now goes more or less straight on and rejoins at far point of blue line below; if you now go left as arrow cattle grid with another at far end. NB: no SDW fingerpost at this end ,but there is one at other end; seems not quite finished doing alteration.
NB This photo superseded by note above and photo below
JULY 2011 bear (not brown or grizzly!) to the right, not left round corner across cattle grid hidden behind hedge.
The track then passes through light woodland (quite a lot of thinning out of trees has happened) on hard cinder-like surface, though quite good, and quite fast. This used to be a very dull dreary stretch as went through thick trees bush, but now much lighter. But it still seems as though it goes on forever !
After 1 mile, the track emerges on to a wide field track; if it has been raining, then it is almost continual puddles, and muddy slippery.
April 09: route update: Mike A has kindly emailed to say that the track has recently been filled with large lumps of chalk so makes riding difficult. July I rode along mid July, compacting now, much better than previous which had lots of puddle holes mud etc.
Having covered this section, go straight over a ‘track’ crossroads, pass through some trees coming out into a field.
Depending on time of year and crop, the correct way forward can sometimes not be clear. If you imagine coming out of the wood is 6’ o’clock, then SDW is about 1’ o’clock, (disappearing over gate post in photo); there is also a track which goes off at about 11 o’clock; don’t take that one.
You will be able to se the radio masts on top of Bignor Hill; you will pass to the south or right of them.
Often, it is a ‘person-wide’ path through 6 foot high sweet corn. The down gradient gradually increases, but there are occasional large flints, so stay on worn path. Emerging at a fence, go through gate, carry on steepening path, usually grass field to gate at bottom. NB Note August 24 from Martin that VERY SLIPPERY near gate at bottom; skidded like ice, bruised ribs etc so TAKE EXTRA CARE
Go onto the wide farm track, through a gate, then a short descent by Littleton
farm to the A285 Petworth road. SDW is nearly opposite, so use lay by to the
right to find direct cross.
The track on the other side of the road is used by cows, and usually a lot of manure, etc foul water etc.
There follows quite a steep climb on muddy chalk. The part at the second arrow (in photo above) after road, I slow to about 2 - 3mph! It gradually eases off after that ! This is for about 3/4 mile. The SDW then emerges out of the trees to open corn fields. Nearer the masts, the SDW passes through a grass field, which usually has lots of sheep in;
it follows the fence to the gate exiting the field. SDW bears round to the left, joining part of Stane Street, Roman Road from Chichester [Noviomagus] to London. Then a right turn, down to the car park. There is a brick base to the signpost which is good for sitting on.
Sign on Stane Street old Roman road.
Car park (Bignor Hill)
There are also some photos on the going 'Westwards' page