15km (9.3 miles)
Exceat car park on the A259 (grid ref TV 519/995, postcode BN25 4AD)
How to get there
Head towards the south coast, just east of Brighton. Friston Forest is between Eastbourne and Seaford, off the A259.
The South Downs form the UK’s newest National Park. There’s a wide range of riding, from rolling chalk tracks along the top to long, shallow descents in the south and steeper, more technical downhills to the north. Friston Forest is all about woodland singletrack, both manmade and natural.
For places to stay, contact Visit Eastbourne (www.visiteastbourne.com, 01323 415415). For food, try Saltmarsh at the start/finish (www.saltmarshfarmhouse.co.uk, 01323 870218) or the Cuckmere Inn by the river (www.vintageinn.co.uk, 01323 892247). Seven Sisters Cycle Co (www.cuckmere-cycle.co.uk, 01323 870310) and Evolution Cycles (www.evocycles.co.uk, 01323 737320) can help with spares.
Maps and useful books
OS Explorer 123: Eastbourne & Beachy Head. Mountain Bike Rides in & Around North & South Downs by Max Darkins (Rough Ride Guide).
Follow the waymarked, red-graded bike trail as it winds its way through the forest for over 5km. Once you reach the Wall of Death section at the furthest/most northern point of the route, keep ahead/left on the main track instead of turning back. When you reach a track crossing, turn right on the bridleway.
Turn left on another wide track, then join another well-defined track by Winchester’s Pond that heads downhill. Look out for a track crossing after 250m and join a section of singletrack known as Flying Daggers that heads through the trees to the left. Rejoin the forest track further down, then bear left to a junction of multiple tracks.
Bear right, effectively keeping ahead on the main track. Head uphill, over a track crossing. Just after a forest track on your left, turn right to rejoin the red route. Follow this trail for 4km, all the way back to the car park, to finish.
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Routes produced in association with Rough Ride Guide