Sussex Cycle Routes
Sussex has plenty to keep the cyclist busy with a vast array of cycle routes and some splendid scenery.
The main attractions include the South Downs (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) with its wonderful rolling countryside and also the coastal rides in and around the seaside towns of Brighton and Eastbourne.
Also check out the lovely Cuckoo Trail - a flat off road trail running from Heathfield to Eastbourne Park which makes for a relaxing afternoons cycling.
Please use the links below to view full route information including descriptions, elevation profiles, interactive maps and GPS downloads.
You can also view an overview map of all the routes in the using the Sussex Cycle Map
There are several National Cycle Network signed routes in the county many of which have been mapped and can be viewed and downloaded below.
For more information on NCN routes in the county (including free cycle maps) please click here
For more information on cycle routes in Sussex including tips, advice and free cycle maps please click here
|Bewl Water||12 miles (20 km)||This is a walking and cycling route around the beautiful Bewl Water reservoir near Lamberhurst. The route runs alongside the reservoir for most of the way though there is an inland section on quiet country lanes around Tolhurst. It runs for about 12.5 miles with great views of the High Weald AONB. |
Bike hire is available during the summer months from the Boat House Bistro.
The area is also great for wildlife watching with Goldcrests, Long Tailed Tits, Wagtails, Skylarks and Lapwings in the woodland. Also look out for Kingfishers, Herons and the Great Crested Grebe on the water.
Please note the route is not always open for cyclists during the winter months - please check the Bewl Water website before setting off.
The Sussex Border Path runs past the reservoir so you could pick this up if you wanted to continue your walk.
Just to the east of the lake you will find Bedgebury Forest. The 2000 acre woods are an excellent place for extending your cycle or walk. There's miles of mountain bike trails with jumps and fun descents. For walkers there's the delightful Bedgebury Pinetum with 10,000 trees growing across 320 acres.
The National Trust owned Scotney Castle is also nearby and well worth a visit.
|Black Down||4 miles (6 km)||Climb to the highest point in the South Downs on this challenging route in Sussex. The area is run by the National Trust and includes a series of well defined paths taking you to flower-rich meadows, ancient woodland and copses. There are fabulous views over the Weald from the Temple of the Winds, at the southern end of Black down. The English Channel can also be seen through the River Arun gap on a clear day. The circular route below starts at the car park near the Temple of the Winds and takes you north across Black Down to Boarden Door Bottom.|
Cyclists can also enjoy a number of easy bridleways or more challenging mountain bike trails which run across the area.
The Sussex Border Path walking trail runs through Black Down so you could pick up this trail and head west to the nearby Marley Common to continue your walk.
Black Down is located just a few miles south of Haslemere town centre.
|Bognor Regis to Littlehampton||9 miles (14 km)||This route follows National Cycle route 2 from Bognor Regis to Littlehampton. It starts on the sea front at Bognor Regis and follows minor roads to Littlehampton on the River Arun. You will pass Middleton-on-Sea and Yapton on the way. Train stations can be found at either end of the route making it easily accessible.|
|Brighton to Eastbourne||34 miles (55 km)||Starting at the pier in Brighton this ride takes you along the south coast to Newhaven and then inland through some lovely countryside to Eastbourne along National Cycle route 2. |
You start in Brighton and head east along the coast to Newhaven via Rottingdean with views of Brighton Marina and some lovely coastal scenery. After passing through Newhaven with its attractive harbour, you continue along the coast path to Seaford before heading inland along the Cuckmere river and through the South Downs to Polegate. Here you join the lovely traffic free Cuckoo trail taking you to Eastbourne Park. The ride finishes with another lovely section along the Eastbourne coast before finishing at the train station.
|Brighton to Newhaven||9 miles (14.5 km)||Follow the Brighton to Newhaven clifftop path on this splendid coastal walk on the south coast. Much of this route follows a traffic free path along National Cycle Network route 2 so you can bring your bike too. Part of the route also passes the popular Undercliff Walk Brighton from the marina at Black Rock to Saltdean. This follows a nice surfaced path along the sea wall with great views of the white cliffs and the sea. Much of the rest of this walk is on an elevated clifftop trail with splendid coastal views. It's about a 9 mile walk but fairly flat throughout. |
The walk starts on the front in Brighton and heads east to the Brighton Marina where you pick up the sea wall path. This takes you to Saltdean where you will pass the impressive Saltdean Lido. You continue to the outskirts of Peacehaven where the cycle route turns inland but you can continue along the cliff top if you are on foot. At Peacehaven you will pass the the Greenwich Meridian monument marking the site where the Greenwich meridian crosses the English south coast.
The final section takes you past Peacehaven Heights, Harbour Heights and the 19th century Newhaven Fort (video below) before finishing at Newhaven Harbour.
At Newhaven the walk links with two long distance walking trails. You can pick up the Sussex Ouse Valley Way and follow it north along the River Ouse to Piddinghoe if you would like to extend your walk. You could also follow the Vanguard Way further along the coast to Seaford.
You can virtually explore the part of the path around the Peacehaven Greenwich Meridian Monument using the google street view link below.
|Camber Sands||3 miles (5 km)||Enjoy a cycle or walk along National Cycle Network Route 2 from Rye to the beautiful Camber Sands. You can pick up the trail in the centre of Rye near to the train station. It's about a 3 mile ride to the beach, passing alongside Camber Road. There are lovely views of Northpoint Water and Rye Bay before passing Rye Golf Club and entering the village of Camber. It's a beautiful and popular beach with the only sand dune system in East Sussex. If you continue your cycle along the coast road you will come to Broomhill Sands and Lydd.|
To extend your outing you could pick up the Saxon Shore Way long distance footpath and walk to the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve just south of Rye. The reserve a variety of habitats such as saltmarsh, lagoons, grazing marsh, shingle and reedbeds. You can also visit the ruins of Henry VIII's Camber Castle. The Device Fort was built to protect the Sussex coast against French attack in the 16th century.
The Sussex Border Path also passes through Rye. You can follow the path north from the town centre and enjoy a waterside walk along the River Rother.
You can also follow the England Coast Path east and visit the wonderful Dungeness RSPB Nature Reserve. The large reserve boasts lakes, lagoons and an expansive section of shingle beach with a wide variety of wildlife.
|Centurion Way||6 miles (10 km)||This pleasant short route follows the Centurion Way along a disused railway path from Chichester to West Dean.|
The ride is flat and traffic free making it ideal for cycling families or walkers looking for a pleasant easy stroll through the Sussex countryside.
|Chichester to Bognor Regis||8 miles (13 km)||This is a nice, easy short route from Chichester to Bognor Regis which follows National Cycle route 2 and local cycle paths.|
You start in the centre of Chichester and soon join a lovely canalside path along the Chichester Canal. The route then follows another off road path through Chichester's various lakes. A traffic free roadside path and series of quiet roads then lead you to Bognor Regis, finishing near the train station.
Most of this ride is traffic free and with train stations at either end is easily accessible.
|Crawley to Brighton||25 miles (40 km)||Follow National Cycle route 20 from Crawley to the seaside resort of Brighton. You start at the train station in Crawley and head through Tilgate Forest passing through the golf course. The route continues to Handcross where you can see the pretty Nymans Gardens before passing the villages of Staplefield, Bolney and Hickstead. A long traffic free section then follows taking you to the outskirts of Brighton with views of the South Downs as you go. The final stretch takes you through Brighton passing the attractive pavillion gardens before finishing near the prom.|
|Crawley to Eastbourne||48 miles (78 km)||Follow National Cycle route 21 from Crawley to Eastbourne on the south coast. |
You start by Three Bridges train station in Crawley and head east to East Grinstead along the traffic free Worth Way. Another off road section along the Forest Way takes you onto Groombridge - this follows the trackbed of a disused railway line and has views of the River Medway. You then continue through Eridge and Mayfield before joining the traffic free Cuckoo trail at Heathfield. This delightful trail takes you all the way to Eastbourne Park and has wildlife, sculptures and wild flowers to enjoy. The ride finishes with another lovely section along the Eastbourne coast before finishing at the train station.
|Cuckoo Trail||14 miles (23 km)||This traffic free cycle and walking path runs along a disused railway line from Heathfield to the outskirts of Eastbourne. The trail follows National Cycle route 21 and runs through a mixture of woodland, grassland and countryside with a variety of interesting sculptures lining the way.|
For wildlife lovers there is plenty to look out for along the trail including different species of butterflies such as the orange-tip. Also look out for various birdlife including bullfinch, lesser whitethroat and cuckoos of course (The trail obtained its name from the tradition that the first cuckoo in Spring was heard at the Heathfield Fair)
The trail is easily accessible with train stations at Polegate and Hampden Park. It is also a nice easy, safe route ideal for families.
|Ditchling Common Country Park||2 miles (4 km)||Explore 188 acres of lovely parkland near Burgess Hill in East Sussex. The park trails pass oak trees, grassland, a lake and a stream. Many different birds visit the park including stonechats, linnets, woodpeckers, chiffchaffs, and blackcaps. Cycling is permitted through the park along the bridleways but all of the paths are open to walkers.|
|Downs Link||36 miles (58 km)||This is a terrific walking or cycling path running from St Martha's Hill to Shoreham-by-Sea and linking the North and South Downs National Trails.|
You start on St Martha's Hill will terrific views of the Surrey countryside before heading south to Cranleigh along the Wey and Arun Canal. The path continues to Rudgwick and then onto the delightful Southwater Country Park. The next stage takes you to Henfield and then onto Bramber with its ruined castle. The final stage runs along the River Adur taking you to Shoreham-by-Sea.
|Eastbourne to Rye||31 miles (50 km)||This coastal ride takes you along National Cycle route 2 from Eastbourne to Rye. |
You start along the Eastbourne prom heading east to Sovereign Harbour. The route continues along the coast passing Pevensey and Cooden Beaches before lovely stretches along the seafront in Bexhill and Hastings. Finally you head inland towards Winchelsea and then onto Rye on a final pleasant traffic free run.
|Forest Way||11 miles (17 km)||This cycling and walking route runs from East Grinstead to Groombridge following National Cycle route 21 along a flat tree lined path. The path is also a designated country park. |
The trail follows a disused railway line route and has splendid views of the rolling hills of the downs and local farmland.
Please click here for more information on this route.
Weir Wood Reservoir is just to the west of the route so you could visit this lovely nature reserve if you have time.
|Friston Forest||5 miles (8 km)||Enjoy miles of cycling and walking trails in this large forest on the South Downs near Eastbourne. There are trails for mountain bikers ranging from gentle off road trails to an exhilarating single track ride. There are two fairly easy waymarked trails for walkers. Look out for wildlife including rare butterflies and deer. |
This circular route starts at the car park and takes you along some of the bridleways in the forest. It also visits the pretty village of West Dean.
It's easy to extend your outing by visiting the nearby Cuckmere River and Cuckmere Haven and Seven Sisters Country Park. You could also pick up the The South Downs Way which runs past the forest.
|Guildford to Horsham||22 miles (35 km)||This route follows the Downs Link Bridlepath from Guildford to Horsham via Cranleigh.|
The route starts by Guidlford rail and first follows the Wey Path along the River Wey before joining the Downs Link trail. This takes you through the North Downs along a disused railway line track bed before a short on road section takes you into Horsham, finishing at the train station.
|Harting Down||3 miles (5.5 km)||This large area of chalk downland on the South Downs is managed by the National Trust. It's a wonderful place to go for a walk with splendid views over the downs and an abundance of flora and fauna. The area is covered with wild herbs, wild flowers and pyramidal orchids attracting butterflies such as the Duke of Burgundy fritillary and the Grizzled Skipper. |
This circular walk starts in the National Trust car park and follows the South Downs Way to Beacon Hill - the highest point on Harting Down. The route then heads to Little Round Down where you will follow woodland trails through a large area of Yew woodland. Look out for wren, thrush and finch in this area. The final section climbs Harting Hill through more woodland to return you to the car park.
It's a splendid area with fabulous views across the Weald, the North Downs and towards the coast and the Isle of Wight. Look out for Fallow deer, Turtle Dove and Skylark on the downs.
The whole of this route is designed for walkers but you can mountain bike across Harting Down on the South Downs Way from the car park to Beacon Hill.
|Hastings Country Park||3 miles (5 km)||Enjoy over 600 acres of beautiful parkland and coast on this circular route in Hastings. The park is located in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, most of the park has been designated a Special Area of Conservation and a Local Nature Reserve. Peregrines, black redstarts and fulmars can be seen on the coastal cliffs, while Dartford warblers, stonechats and yellowhammers can be seen on the gorse covered hills. |
The route below is most suitable for walkers but National Cycle Network route 2 also runs through the park and is a short cycle from Hastings. See the Eastbourne to Rye Cycle Route for more details.
|Havant to Chichester||11 miles (18 km)||Follow National Cycle route 2 on this lovely short route along the south coast. Route highlights include Emsworth Quay and a pleasant off road section near Bosham|
|Horsham to Shoreham-By-Sea||23 miles (37 km)||Follow the Downs Link Bridlepath from Horsham to Shoreham-By-Sea on this attractive, fairly flat route.|
The route starts by Horsham rail and follows off road tracks, a dismantled railway line and the River Adur before finishing at Shoreham harbour.
|Houghton Forest||4 miles (6 km)||These woods near Arundel have good mountain bike trails and some nice footpaths to try. You can park at the Whiteways Countryside car park, just off the A29 at the south eastern end of the forest. From here you can pick up the trails heading north west through the woods. You could also follow either the Monarch's Way or South Downs Way from the village of Houghton. You can also extend your walking in the area by continuing along either of these long distance trails or the Midhurst Way which also passes through the forest.|
|Littlehampton to Shoreham-By-Sea||14 miles (23 km)||This route follows National Cycle route 2 along the beautiful Sussex coast, from Littlehampton to Shoreham-By-Sea.|
You start by following the River Arun passing Littlehampton marina before a short stretch along the coast with views of Littlehampton beaches. The route then heads through Ferring and Worthing with most of the path along the coast with the traffic free run along the prom from Worthing to Shoreham particularly lovely. There are train stations at either end of the route making it easily accessible.
|London to Brighton||65 miles (104 km)||Travel from the banks of the River Thames in Greenwich to the South Coast on this popular route along National Cycle Network Routes 21 and 20. |
The ride starts by the Cutty Sark on the Thames in Greenwich and heads south along the Ravensbourne and Pool Rivers to New Beckenham. From there you continue south to Elmers End where you will pass through the lovely South Norwood Country Park. The route continues through the pretty Addington golf course and on to Addington Hill along the London Loop.
The ride then heads through New Addington, Warlingham and Caterham to Redhill. There are several off road sections to enjoy on this section with pleasant stretches through Holt Wood near Warlingham and Mercers Country Park near Redhill.
From Redhill you continue to Crawley, passing Horley before an interesting traffic free section through Gatwick Airport take you to Crawley.
The final section runs from Crawley to Brighton first passing through Tilgate Forest and its golf course. The route continues to Handcross where you can see the pretty Nymans Gardens before passing the villages of Staplefield, Bolney and Hickstead. A long traffic free section then follows taking you to the outskirts of Brighton with views of the South Downs as you go. The final stretch takes you through Brighton passing the attractive pavillion gardens before finishing near the prom.
|Petersfield to Brighton||43 miles (70 km)||Starting in the market town of Petersfield follow the South Downs Way to Brighton on the south coast.|
Much of this route is through undulating countryside on off road tracks and paths with a lovely coastal stretch on the home straight to Brighton.
|Redhill to Tunbridge Wells||36 miles (58 km)||Starting in Redhill first travel south through Gatwick airport (easier and more pleasant than it sounds!) and then onto the off road Worth Way, Forest Way and Sussex border paths that will take you through East Grinstead and some lovely countryside before finishing in Royal Tunbridge Wells.|
The ride follows National Cycle route 21 and has a number of traffic free sections making it an attractive, leisurely ride.
|Rye to Dover||39 miles (62 km)||This largely flat coastal ride takes you along National Cycle route 2 from Rye in East Sussex to Dover and its famous white cliffs.|
You start in Rye and head to Camber where there is a lovely coastal stretch with views of Camber sands. The route continues inland through Romney Marsh. to Hythe where you can enjoy a lovely spell along the Hythe Military Canal followed by a cruisy strech along the prom. More lovely coastal scenery follows as you head to Folkestone and then onto Dover where you can see the famous white cliffs before finishing the ride in the town centre.
|Salterns Way||11 miles (18 km)||This super short cycle ride takes you along the Chichester Channel from Chichester to the sand dunes of East Head. The route starts near the centre of Chichester and follows minor roads and off road tracks through Birdham and West Wittering before finishing near the beach at East Head. You will pass attractive marinas and pretty villages while also enjoying terrific views of Chichester Harbour and Hayling Island.|
|Seven Sisters Country Park||3 miles (5.5 km)||Explore nearly 700 acres of parkland and coast on this delightful route through the South Downs. The Country Park is named after the famous Seven Sisters chalk cliffs on the Sussex Heritage Coast. On the route you will enjoy fabulous views of the Cuckmere river before heading towards the beautiful coastline.|
There are a number of footpaths and trails in the Park - further information and trail maps can be found in the Visitor Centre. Cycling is permitted on the valley floor and there is a concrete track which offers access to the beach.
If you'd like to continue your walking in the area then you could pick up the Cuckmere River footpath and head towards Alfriston and climb up to the Long Man of Wilmington.
|Shinewater Country Park||2 miles (3 km)||Shinewater Park is located near Eastbourne. It has two large lakes and well surfaced cycling and walking paths. There's plenty of wildlife to see with moorhen, coot, reed bunting and great crested grebe near the lakes. Hampden Park rail station is a good access point, located less than a mile from the park.|
|St Leonard's Forest||2 miles (4 km)||This large area of woodland is located just to the east of Horsham. There are miles of cycling and walking trails to explore with attractive pine woodland, a series of pretty streams and the Whitevane Pond at the north western end of the forest. There are good wide tracks ideal for a mountain bike or hybrid. There's some steep climbs to try with fun descents. For walkers there are miles of easy flat tracks to enjoy. Look out for wildlife including peacocks and wood warblers.
The forest can be easily reached by following the High Weald Landscape Trail from the centre of Horsham.
|Tilgate Country Park||4 miles (6 km)||Tilgate Country Park is a popular large park and forest area in Crawley, Sussex. Here you'll find stunning lakes, lawns, gardens and miles of woodland and bridleways. There are also very good facilties with a Nature Centre, cafe and a delightful Walled Garden with a maze and picnic area. |
There are many walking trails but Tilgate is popular with mountain bikers too, while National Cycle route 20 also runs through the park.
|Worth Way||7 miles (11 km)||This 7 mail long bridleway and footpath runs along National Cycle route 21 from Crawley to East Grinstead via the village of Crawley Down. The tree lined path follows the trackbed of a disused railway line making for a nice flat easy walk or cycle ride. The path and surrounding area are also blessed with a variety of wildlife - look out for Roe Deer, foxes and Kingfishers.|