CYCLIST'S GUIDE TO THE SOUTH DOWNS WAY
I have rearranged website as links at top taking up too much space. Now use link on each section below.
I have divided my guide up into sections of the SDW. I show below two maps, each with the route of the SDW drawn on (by me so indicative!). Each vertical bar is the start/end of a section.
The first map shows the sections at the western end, from Winchester as far as Bignor Hill, so my sections: 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5. The second map shows the sections from Bignor, 6, to Devils Dyke 8, and now 9 &10 to Eastbourne. I have referred to the 'section breaks' as eg Harting, Bignor; this means the 'hill' not the village.
1. Winchester to Exton (A32): Approx. 12 miles, climb on tarmac, good gravel & grass tracks, short stretch of tarmac, descent through village to A32.
1/2 Revised Meon Valley route March 2009: adds 2.2 miles to route
2. Exton (A32) to Queen Elizabeth Country Park (QEP): Approx. 9 miles, short stretch on tarmac, then old railway line, grass, short steep climb, then , steep descent through field, farm track, short tarmac, then concrete, short climb in flint/root gully, good gravel gentle climbing, then VERY fast descent on wide open grass.
3. QEP to Harting: Approx. 6 miles, gradual climb on gravel, short ups & downs on good gravel, few short sections of tarmac, some good fast sections, before narrow path with gradual climb to Harting Hill.
4. Harting to Cocking: Approx 7 miles; grass downland, then steep descents and climbs on chalk; good gravel section with climb; rutted, bumpy section, then long descent on flint chalk.
5. Cocking to Bignor: Approx. 7 miles, long climb on stony flint, relatively flat on gravel, stone, earth, steepish descent through crops, grass to road, then long climb on chalk up to Bignor, with a last stretch on flat grass.
6. Bignor to Amberley: Approx. 5 miles, hard bumpy stone, small dip, cross main road, long steepish descent on chalk to beside River Arun.
7. Amberley to Washington: Approx. 7 miles; long climb on tarmac with steep climb on gravel, stone, grass; relatively long level, good, fast middle section, descent to A24.
8. Washington to Devils Dyke: Approx. 13 miles, long climb chalk, stone to Chanctonbury, good long gradual descent to River Adur, climb back up on grass, tarmac, short up & downs on chalk, finish on good grass.
And these by chance add up to 65 miles !
And now a rest, or the rest !
9. Devils Dyke to Southease: Approx. 17 miles: (from Ditchling to Southease at present 12 1/2 miles) :Good level grassy track, hard chalk, then good gradual long descent mainly grass, with only short climb in woods, to A27. Long climb up on good grassy , then good level section at top. Slightly bumpy part through fields (Swanborough Hill). Gradual descent, concrete track and then fields. Cross River Ouse.
10. Southease to Eastbourne: (Now done June 2008) approx 13 miles Three long rough climbs. Tops are flattish grass ridges.
Thanks to Graham D for his aerial map
SUMMARY of surfaces
TARMAC: prefix numbers refer to 'my sections'. (distances are approx, all miles). Most are between Winchester and QEP.
1: A31 to Chilcomb: 1.1 miles
1: end of Holden Lane, Milberry Pub, to Wind Farm: 1.5 miles.
1: Beacon Hill: 0.2 mile
1, 2:Wheely Down Farm to Old Winchester Hill: 2.4 miles.
2: Whitewool Farm (between Old Winchester Hill & Coombe): 0.25 mile
2: HMS Mercury: 0.4 mile
2: just west of Butser: 0.5 mile
3: QEP: 0.5 mile
3: Buriton: 0.2 mile
3: Coulters Dean, Ditcham, Sunwood Farm: 0.75 mile
7: Amberley, High Titten lane: 0.4 mile
8: Bidulphs, to west of A283: 0.5 mile
8: Truleigh Hill: 0.75 mile
Total tarmac out of 65 miles approx 9 1/2 miles
9. A27 Housedean 0.25 mile
9. Southease: 1 mile
10. Alfriston: 0.3 mile
10 Alfriston after cross river: 0.3
10. Jevington :0.2
So another approx 2 miles, total say 12 out of 97 miles
GRASS: (distances are approx, all miles)
2: Butser, 0.75 mile
4: Harting Down, 0.3 mile
5: just to west of Bignor, 0.3 mile
8: Chanctonbury Ring, 0.2 mile
8: Annington Hill just to west of Bidolphs A283: 0.5 mile
and then last 0.25 mile to Devils Dyke !
9 : a few grass
10: many grass stretches
ROUGH: (This is relative, and just impressions (physical!) gained from experience; these parts just seem to stand out as being unpleasant !)
Didling Hill to Cocking Down (between Harting & Cocking); Bignor Hill. First few hundred yards up Bourne Hill going out of Jevington.
STEEPEST CLIMBS: (In my opinion, as usually because I have to walk up part !)
Going east (Winch to Eastbrne): Salt Hill (perhaps not all that steep, but included due to surfaceand as I usually have to walk!) [between Warnford & Butser]; Pen Hill (short) [between Harting & Cocking]; Littleton End from A285 (just about cycle up) (Cocking to Bignor); Amberley Mount; A24 to Chanctonbury; .
Going west (Eastbrne to Winch ): from A27 at Housedean Farm; Littleton down (from A285, Bignor to Cocking) Pen Hill ; Butser (short section just before gate).
Following a request, I note the number of gates. These are from memory !
Section 1 Winch Wford: 12; Section 2 Warnford QEP: 5; Section 3 QEP Cocking: 3; Section 4 Cocking Bignor: 5; Section 6 Bignor Amberley: 6?; Section 7 Amberley A24: 7?; Section 8 A24 Devils Dyke: 9?; Section 9 DD (Ditchling) Southease: 11? ; Section 10 Southease Eastbourne: 11?.
So about 70 gates in total !
I have added a table of metres 'climbed' and descended' on General Information page.