THE JOY OF SUSSEX
‘The A272 has a bit of everything’
There’s a simple satisfaction to be gained from riding a road in its entirety, a sense of accomplishment that comes from having racked up every mile a particular route has to offer. It helps of course if the journey is an interesting one and the A272 can provide such an adventure as it traces a course due west from Five Ashes in East Sussex via the South Downs to Winchester in Hampshire.
The A272 is single carriageway for the most part, a largely rural ribbon of tarmac that weaves through the countryside. With a little bit of everything, it’s the quintessential Sunday ride – a bimble, a blast and a brew... then home in time for tea.
The closest fuel to the start is at Cross In Hand, about a mile south on the A267, but there are plenty more opportunities along the way.
The first few miles are a treelined meander, hopping in and out of national speed limits as the pockets of population allow. There’s plenty to keep you interested and you’ll cross into West Sussex via a section of flowing sweepers before navigating around the south of Haywards Heath by no fewer than eight roundabouts – great fun if you time it right. From there this ride really finds its stride, rushing on between the hedgerows that lead to Billinghurst and the South Downs.
The swooping climb towards Petworth offers the first real change in elevation and emerges to a patchwork landscape of fields and farmland. The village of Halfway Bridge lies pretty much as its name implies, after which the road drops down to run through the picturesque town of Midhurst.
At Petersfield there’s a brief section of dual carriageway by way of a bypass; here the A272 shares its blacktop with the A3 so keep an eye on the signs to stay on track. Don’t miss Loomies Moto Café as you cross the junction with the A32; bikers are guaranteed of a warm welcome and it’s a great place to grab a cuppa and check out what everyone else is riding.
The final section is arguably the best, where the twisting tarmac surfs a sea of undulations before drifting to a conclusion at the Downs’ western edge – much like riding a mighty wave as it dissipates up a sandy beach. There’s an isolated stretch of A272 that runs for a few miles beyond Winchester, so if you really want to tick this one off follow the directions for Salisbury (A30) and you’ll have it covered.
‘Don’t miss Loomies Moto Café as you cross the junction with the A32’