CYCLIST'S GUIDE TO THE SOUTH DOWNS WAY
Added map & photo of water tap at Southease see 'water tap page.
After crossing DD Road, SDW (signed ?) goes through light scrubby bushes for few hundred yards, emerging onto Summer Down as photo below.
Crossing Summer Down, there seem two paths across the grass, both join up before descent to Saddlescombe. Small car park on the right. Keep reservoir (flat grass roof) to the right. The climb in photo is after going through Saddlescombe.
Descent into Saddlescombe quite steep with gate at bottom, then car park as photo.
Climb out of Saddlescombe is through darkish gulley; at top, there is a fence and post but not clear which side; keep to left of fence, you will soon see path going over West Hill; right side of fence which is a track seems to lead into a field. (See photo in 'going westwards) See first photo on this page gives better overall view as some people reported diffiulty in knowing route as track not obvious.
Below photo of Pyecombe. Quite steep descent on chalk (slippery if wet ?). At bottom, through gate, becomes concrete road, follow round to left beside A23, cross over on road bridge, as road bends round to left, road to Pyecombe on right (blocked to cars by flower bed).
Thumbnail for Full size unannotated photo
View along SDW from car park at Ditchling Beacon. SDW goes through gate then to left of fence. SDW is fairly straight. After 2.4 miles turn 90' right just before Blackcap. (See photo four below).
THUMBNAIL View towards Swanborough Hill from Car park at Ditchling Beacon.
Photo below also from Ditchling; just possible to make out Firle Beacon on horizon to left of picture.
PHOTO below soon after Ditchling Beacon
PHOTO below Plumpton Plain; Blackcap in distance. Hard chalk.
Turning to right 2.4 miles after Ditchling.
Single trackfor 0.6 miles between hedges. Could be muddy if wet; bumpy if dry.
View to Buckland Bank (between A27 & Blackcap). Turning is 0.6 miles from Blackcap turn (see above).
Looking over Balmer Down towards Long Hill (just to left of small wood in middle) and Swanborough Hill (middle horizon).
Good grass gradual descent for 1.1 miles to turn as in photo below.
THUMBNAIL without annotation.
Showing right turn on Balmer Down. See photo below of gate.
Gate and turn at end of the '1-mile' descent (with a few gates).
Route through Bunkershill Plantation (small wood). There is a short steep section on earth with bends in the wood. If coming other way, then beware of gradient, tight turns etc.
PHOTO down to A27, and across to climb. Steepening descent on grass with gate at bottom, see photo below.
THUMBNAIL without annotation
PHOTO of gate after steepish grass descent to A27 (visible through trees). There is a flight of steps beyond down to cycle path beside A27.
Mike has emailed to add a water tap on wall, see 'water taps'.
Turn right, passed Housedean Farm. Shortly after farm, bear left up to over-bridge.
Another photo from Mike
Cross A27 by vehicle road bridge, bear left and carry on between A27 and railway. Go under railway at second tunnel, (finger posted).
After short section by field, then short steepish part through light wood to photo below. Again, if other way, beware of slippery steep part.
Climb up other side of A27, with Newmarket Plantation on the right of SDW at top. This is a fairly long steady climb, not too steep.
At top of hill, there is then over 1 mile of good fairly level grass surface.
PHOTO general view on side of Swanborough Hill. I think this was the bumpiest part from between Ditchling & Southease.
At top, turn right, then short distance 50 yds, turn left onto concrete track as below.
PHOTO of fast descent on concrete track for about 3/4 mile. Surface reasonable condition. There are 2 or 3 cattle grids, but filled up to level of 'rails' and grass, so seem ok to ride over.
After concrete, SDW goes through some fields, so can be bumpy if cows trodden.
PHOTO at end of narrow path next to house at Mill Hill. (Shortly before this section of path, you will have crossed the GREENWICH MERIDIAN).
I went left by mistake (down to Rodmell, then along busy road to Southease), finger obscured, and does not look like SDW straight ahead as no path / track, but it is SDW !. On right, just out of photo, are pair large iron gates to house.
Go over field, then left at farm track / bridlepath. At road, turn right for short distance before turn left into Southease.
Southease church 10th century has frescoes and an unusual circular tower.
NB. If coming other way, finger post at road is just 'bridlepath', not 'SDW'.
Cross River Ouse by steel / wooden vehicle bridge. River Ouse here is rather disappointing as straight dredged channel.
Road approaching R.Ouse with Itford Hill behind.
Follow to level crossing at Southease station. Safe to cross through pedestrian gates when light is 'green'.
See my note about water tap, as SDW now diverted so you will miss it. Refer to my 'water tap page' for location.
Photo below from Mike
Test panorama photos. (4 photos joined together). View north from near Newmarket Hill, just south of A27, towards Blackcap to the middle right and Ditchling middle left.
(Are panoramas useful ?)
As above but annotated.
There are also some photos on the going 'Westwards' page