South Downs wahey!
Sample stunning Sussex
This ride begins just off the A3 in Milford, Surrey, where the A286 originates. This is a lithe, meandering road that scythes its way southward through the Downs to make up the majority of this route Ð just follow the signs for Midhurst and Chichester. Fuel is available in the centre of town; fill up here and thereõll be no need to stop again.
After a straight mile or so things start to get a wriggle on, as steeplybanked sides funnel the tarmac beneath a dappled forest canopy. Sunlight pings and glints through the leaves as you roll from left to right, gently climbing from the flanks of ancient roots to crest the first of the Surrey Hills in a sudden burst of daylight. A smooth right-hander pitches bike and rider back under cover amidst myriad lush, verdant greens that rush by.
At Haslemere the A286 peels up and out of town via a steeply rising left turn before disappearing amongst the trees once more. Speed limits and solid lines keep spirited riding in check for this rather narrow and unsighted section, but as the road opens up the restrictions fall away, presenting overtaking opportunities that make short shrift of any traffic ahead.
The encroaching trees briefly recede beyond Fernhurst and released from the leash youõre free to chase the vanishing point through a series of rising S-bends before flashing along a fern-lined straight to tip into a long left-handed hairpin. The road curls back on itself among the trunks of tall evergreens then flicks through 90¡ and descends through a cutting for the run down to Midhurst. This traditional market town was once home to author HG Wells and there are plenty of places to park up and contemplate the shape of things to come over a coffee and sandwich.
Once you get out of town, the pace picks up and with Midhurst in your wake the South Downs are finally revealed. These ancient hills roll majestically from hedgerow to horizon, split by the fast, flowing straights that run on ahead. Just after Singleton Ð you canõt miss it, thereõs an Armco armoured tearoom in the centre of the village Ð take the left turn for Goodwood. This road hugs the hillsides at the southern edge of the Downs, climbing and curving into a double left past the Triangle and on to Kennel Hill, in sight of one of the worldõs most picturesque racecourses.
Push on to Goodwood Aerodrome and in the old control tower youõll find the Aero Club Cafž; with fabulous views of the race circuit and airfield itõs the perfect place to kick back and mark the end of a great ride Ð or perhaps to plan the next?
‘There’s an Armco armoured tearoom in the centre of Singleton village’