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Cycling at South Downs!

Our Combe Haven park is set across from a hillside not far from the historic city of Hastings and just half an hour from Haven’s holiday park Combe Haven you will discover some of the most gorgeous countryside in the UK that can be explored by bike or on foot – and I was lucky enough to do just that! 

We’d heard about the village of Alfriston from a friend, it’s quintessentially British and has some lovely little shops to explore, an art gallery, three pubs and at least two tea rooms. It’s as good a place as any to start your walk or cycle from and at the edge of the village you’ll find a handy car park called The Willows. There are lots of routes you can choose and you can break it into sections if you don’t want to go out for the whole day.

Exploring by bike.

Cycling on grass is quite a challenge and the hills are not for the faint hearted however there’s no shame in getting off and walking! If you think about it the original push bike had no pedals or gears so you only ever rode it down hills! We took the route from Alfriston up a steep track out of the village to join the South Downs bridal way.
We then cycled as far as Southsea not far from Lewes and we had lunch and a pint at the Abergavenny pub. We then headed back along the old coach road, all in all about 20 miles but very up and down! The route was pretty and signs that Spring had arrived included clumps of daffodils, buds on the Hawthorn and the song of the larks as they flew above our heads.
There were lots of lovely views including the sea at Newhaven.

A well deserved pint after all that cycling!

A well deserved pint after all that cycling!

Seven Sisters by foot

Leaving Alfriston again at about half ten we took a path from behind the church following the river until we turned off left in to Litlington. There are quite a lot of steep steps up to the ridge on either side of West Dean so be warned it’s not buggy friendly! With the sea on our right we probably walked five of the seven sisters before heading off the path at Crow Hook to East Dene where we had lunch at The Tiger Inn. We had soup but the burgers did look amazing! The ŵeather was gorgeous for March so we were able to sit outside overlooking the village green. We picked up an ice-cream from the hikers rest which is also a tea room and then made our way back through West Dene and reversed our route to Alfriston to pick up the car and return back to the park.
A total of 13 miles and three blisters …I should have worn thicker socks with my walking trainers!

The steep steps of West Dean!

The steep steps of West Dean!

Top tips

There are plenty of places you can hire mountain bikes from.
Take a fleece or kagool as it gets quite breezy up on the ridges
If it’s sunny take some sunglasses as you will be walking direct into the sun and also will get some reflection off the sea.
Pack plenty of water and some snacks
The bridal way is suitable for off road Buggy’s
Pick up an ordnance survey explorer map number 123 to plan your route.

Walking and cycling events coming up in the area

Just walk 10 May
Cycling weekly South Downs Spring Sportive 18 May
Wiggle South Downs epic MTB on 22 June
British Heart Foundation cycle on 19 July

 

Are you a keen cyclist or walker? We always love to hear your hints and tips for the perfect hiking break – let us know in the comments below!

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