CYCLIST'S GUIDE TO THE SOUTH DOWNS WAY
'.. your website is definitely the only really useful one that we've come across on any cycle routes ..'
Cycling Active Feb 2011 'the most comprehensive guide' to SDW, 'profiles etc "bikedowns" has it all'.
Referenced to in 'Cicerone Mountain Biking on the South Downs' and also in 'The Good Mountain Biking Guide'.
Hello, my name is Anthony and I live in Petersfield, Hampshire, just over 2 miles from the SDW .
I often ride along the western and middle sections of the South Downs Way, or SDW. I have also twice cycled from Winchester to Devils Dyke (Brighton), 65 miles, in one day to raise money for the British Heart Foundation. From Brighton to Eastbourne is another 35 miles, making a total of 100 miles (actually 97 miles, coastal route (footpath only) from Alfriston via Seven Sisters is 100 miles. Now (July 2009) ridden all SDW except few miles between Pyecombe to Ditchling. And you will have climbed a total of nearly 12,000 feet, 3x Snowdon from sea level ! New Meon valley route added about 2 miles
I thought it would be useful to share my experiences with others, so that they can also enjoy the route. I have tried to note hazards, (eg cut-off fence posts) as well as water tap locations, comments on terrain, surface etc.
NB: if riding or walking SDW, check dates of Oxfam Trailwalk (usually in mid-July) from Butser (Petersfield) to Brighton and British Heart Foundation bike rides (June 26 & July 31 2010) otherwise you will not be alone ! BHF ride starts Winchester from 6.00 to 8.00 am. See http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/Southdowns/events.asp?PageId=10 for more Events on SDW.
I have written this site mainly with cyclists in mind, but I hope that it will also be of use to walkers. There are a few places between Winchester and QEP, Petersfield where the 'walkers' route is different from the 'cyclists'; I will try to note this.
PLEASE email with summary of rides to include, as several queries as to how many miles etc, so would be useful for others.
(As at Feb 2016, over 198,000 hits, 160,000 different visitors !) in summer up to 100 per day, winter about 30 per day.
NOTES ON BROAD CONTENT OF SITE (arranged generally as page order of links at top)
General info: Table of height climbed / descend; OS maps; car parks (link to map of location), pay or free; benches to sit on. This page has a profile and map of location of SDW. Table of meters climbed and descend. I have included a list of car parks. Also where does SDW start? which direction? I will add to as think of things. If using train, check bike restrictions, as I had to change plans recently. Links to pages of trail news eg route closure events, conduct. OS map nrs. Gates. Car parks info (pay/free).
FAQ: eg footpath walkers route as to cycle bridlepath.
SDW Sections: This page shows how I have divided up the SDW , and then link to each 'section'. There are numerous photos, many annotated.
I have divided this guide into sections of the SDW. The sections and notes are arranged for travelling eastwards, i.e. from Winchester to Eastbourne. I have shown these on the page 'section summary'. with link to each SDW section. This has 1 or 2 line description of 'section' with distance. Also where tarmac, grass, bumpiest, steepest parts are. Use this page initially to go to section. I used to have all the pages at top, but site has too many pages to show these on home page. Hope you find ok.
Each section has notes and photos, many annotated.
I have now added simple links at bottom of these pages to 'click' to take you to next page.
There is also a page 'westwards' with photos and a few notes about travelling from Eastbourne to Winchester . This page is getting probably too big, so please excuse multiple screen down; please refer to as some parts easier to see terrain facing the otherway.
Water taps: Maps and some photos, notes on location of water taps. Both on map of whole of SDW and detailed 1:50,000 OS.
Profile: I have now added detailed elevation profiles for whole of SDW from Winchester to Eastbourne. There are 3 pages; first is Winchester to Devils Dyke, with a profile for each of my 'sections'; second is Devils Dyke to Eastbourne in two sections; third page 'Profile All' is the whole SDW in 3 approx. 30 mile parts.
Where to stay: Link to interactive map of places to stay. Also comments from riders on the places that they have stayed at.
Food equipment: I have added a page listing food that I have taken on my rides; also drink, and equipment. I know personal taste etc, but hope some ideas.
Video: July 2011 just started doing some videos of eg descents and other parts; for fun and navigation.
Panorama Photos: page of panorama eg up to 360' and full size photos from rest of my website gathered in one place
SDW Double: Links to websites about double, ie riding both ways in one go !
Visitor rides: A page of comments about rides done from site visitors. Useful to see what / how other people have tackled SDW. 32 reports so far, ranging from one day rides to families with young children over several days. Email me, as not 'forum'.
Links: Links to various pages, general SDW, cycle clubs,
Things of interest: Links to pages, info re things on the Way, eg memorial stones, film James Bond, nature reserve. etc
Aerial photo map: Used Microsoft 'Local live' to trace SDW, with markers. Some places have birds eye view which is very clear. 3D also so can fly along route seeing hills etc. (you need to load 3D software, takes a few minutes, see on local live site).
Distances: Table of times and distances for when I did BHF Randonnee.
Pubs, places to stay: Link to another website with interactive map, contact details etc; I have listed & located some pubs.
Site statistics: A few stats, most popular pages, countries from which visitors have come. Over 80,000 visitors (September 2011) and 40 countries ! please email if you are not from UK as interested to know about your interest in SDW.
Updates: List of updates to route of SDW, or changes noticed. And list of site updates.
Notes re photos: The photographs are sometimes thumbnails, so click to open a larger picture; and then for some photos, 'hover' mouse at bottom right, click on exploding arrow icon to enlarge further, or depending on browser etc, mouse arrow changes to a '+' ( may need to move off picture then back on again).
Comments and Route condition update
Please email if you note any changes to surface etc, as I may not have ridden along some parts for several months.
I will include in 'Updates' page under' route update'.
See 'site stats' page for more details (I am intrigued at so many visits from other countries than UK/GB; please email me ! Is the SDW that famous that it is known world wide !?) So I hope that finding useful; most people come from cycle magazine forums. Please email (at bottom of this page) any suggestions of things to add etc]
If you have found this site useful , please send me a short email (Contact me page). Put subject as 'SDW'.
My Diary: I have added a page (June 2009) with few short notes of my rides, including road, sportives and SDW etc.
NB: Maps in this website produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.
As to photos, I have taken these, so I do not mind if used for PRIVATE PURPOSES ONLY, but please give source and link to this page etc. and appreciate if you send me an email for information. Thanks.
If you want to use for COMMERCIAL PURPOSES, please contact me to agree on fee.
The information on this site is from my own experiences; I do not accept any liability for any injury, damage, inconvenience etc ; as rain may have formed new gullies, puddles, large stones in puddles etc, exposed tree roots, water taps may not work, surfaces changed and any other hazards not mentioned; also cows may be unfriendly, disinterested or uninterested, buzzards swoop low and watch out for bears (2 mentioned in my site !) !. Basically, you need to keep your eyes open, and ride sensibly and enjoy !
The banner at the top of each page was very kindly designed for me by my work colleague & friend Vernon..