Published: August 23rd 2010May 28th 2010
The South Downs Way 28th-31st May, 2010
The South Downs Way is a long distance trail (160km) in southern England running between Winchester and Eastbourne. It is accessible to walkers, horse riders and cyclists. Much of the trail crosses the chalk hills that the Downs is well known for.
London to Winchester
Friday evening, bank holiday weekend and Rupesh and I took the train from Waterloo to Winchester which wasn't much more than an hour. After finding Panoramic Views B & B we walked in to town and had a really lovely dinner a The Old Vine. Winchester is a beautiful old town and well worth exploring a little more.
Winchester to Buriton
Stats: 46km, Av. speed 8.8km/h, 5.25 hours of cycling
In true English style the rain started just after breakfast as we were getting ready to leave. It was at this time that Rupesh confessed that he did not pack his waterproof jacket nor his waterproof pants! He told me he was trying to pack light! Needless to say Rupesh got somewhat wet and muddy on Day 1. After a couple of hours we hit the village of Exton where thankfully
The Shoe Pub let us in the door. After a couple of hot drinks it was very hard to leave.
It was a challenging day and some sections were unrideable through the mud. Rupesh fell over while wheeling his bike accross a flat, muddy section - he and the bike going down together. He and the bike were caked in mud. I came off my bike when going downhill but was thankfully going very slow at the time.
We came accross a very wet baby rabbit in a field who also didn't seem too happy about the rain. This was a much more difficult ride than I expected it to be. I realised very quickly that the off road tracks around Hampstead Heath and Epping Forrest in London don't really cut it as training!
At about 6pm we made it to Nursted Farm which is just outside the village of Buriton. We had a huge room in this big old farmhouse. The farmer running the B & B who would have been in his 70's had lived on the farm his whole life. We had an amazing dinner at The Five Bells Pub in Buriton Village. There
were some very serious discussions about continuing with the ride.
Buriton to Truleigh Hill
Stats: 64km, Av. speed 9.6km/h, 6 hours & 40 mins of cycling
The rain had gone and my power of persuasion ensured we kept on cycling! We were able to pick up a little more speed but there really was lots of ups and downs. We appreciated the green rolling hills a lot more today and the chalk hills. The coast came in to view and the tracks were surprisingly quite dry.
When we made it to Truleigh Hill Youth Hostel also known as Tottington Barn we were very happy. The hostel was perched on a hill with distant views of the coast. The hostel provided meals and we sat down to an amazing 3 course meal where our beds were only a flight of steps away!
Truleigh Hill to Eastbourne
Stats: 59km, Av. speed 8.9km/h, 6.5 hours of cycling
Another fine day with no more rain to be seen. We continued to get closer to the coast. We stopped in the cute little village of Jevington where there also happened to be great ice-cream.
was a relatively large city compared to Winchester where we began. It was almost 7pm when we rode in to Eastbourne so we headed almost straight for the train station and got a train back to London.
It was an amazing ride but a lot more challenging than I ever expected it to be. It was certainly a true off-road, mountain biking experience which neither of us were probably completely prepared for.
There are more photos below