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Mountain Biking on the North Downs

20 routes stretching across The North Downs from Guildford to Dover, includes the Surrey Hills and the Kent Downs.

North Downs Mountain Biking Routes Guide

20 routes stretching across The North Downs from Guildford to Dover, includes the Surrey Hills and the Kent Downs. Includes the Downs Link - a 59km long distance route which joins the North Downs to the South Downs.

Routes graded for difficulty

Each route includes amount of off-road, total ascent, grade, approximate time to complete, pubs and cafes, easy to follow directions and an Ordnance Survey map with the route highlighted.

See below for route details

Book Details:
ISBN: 978-1852847029
Written by Peter Edwards
Published by Cicerone, 2014
208 pages
Book Size is a compact 12cm x 17.5cm

Great Value


RRP £14.95

Fast Despatch

The Mountain Biking Routes

Map showing the approximate recommended starting points for eachsection as indicated in the book.
Click on a marker for route information.

Routes are graded easy, medium, hard.

All sections and routes come with marked up Ordnance Survey mapping and clear text descriptions.

Routes around Guildford

Route 1 Puttenham Common loop

Distance 19km or 26km. Grade Medium. Off Road 80%

This compact route puts together a loop of the best trails available in the area. Excellent sandy trails are the order of the day, not least on Puttenham Common and along the North Downs Way.

Route 2 St Martha's Hill–Abinger loop

Distance 29km. Grade Hard. Off Road 75%

South Downs Mountain Bike Routes Photo1

This little gem of a route certainly packs a lot into its modest distance. Three quarters of the route is off road, much of the rest still a delight on narrow country lanes.

Routes around Dorking   

Route 3 Hackhurst Downs–Polesden Lacey loop

Distance 23km or 28km. Grade Hard. Off Road 75%

Lots of variety, there are lengthy woodland sections and the bridleways and byways alternate between sand, chalk, earth and flint. There are a couple of stiff climbs and some rattling downhills to boot.

Route 4 Gomshall–Westhumble loop

Distance 30km. Grade Hard. Off Road 80%

This route begins with a tough climb up to Netley Heath. Woodland trails take you to Ranmore Common before a rattling descent past Tanner's Hatch Youth Hostel. More ups and downs to Chapelhill Wood and a meander along country lanes to Westhumble. Take your time here as it is then on to the mother of all climbs through Ashcombe Wood. Descend in stages back to the valley and then relatively easy riding back to the start.

Route 5 Leith Hill and Holmbury Hill loop

Distance 23km or 34km. Grade Hard. Off Road 65%

Somethng of a three part ride: a gentle run in on minor roads, lanes and tracks, followed by an off-road roller coaster with a gentle run at the end.

Route 6 Surrey Hills Grand Traverse

Distance 42km or 54km. Grade Very Hard. Off Road 85%

As the title suggests this magnificent and challenging route takes in a sizeable swathe of the Surrey Hiils AONB, stitching together a series of fine bridleways, byways and narrow lanes to make for an exceptional day out on the trails.

Routes around Reigate and Redhill

Route 7 Oxted and Bletchingley loop Route

Distance 24km. Grade Medium. Off Road 60%

Despite the proximity of the M25 and M23 and large conurbations the collection of paths, tracks amd minor roads linked together here take in some fine scenery and are often so quiet that at times you will feel a long way from the south east of England's densely populated urban sprawl.

north downs photo 3

Route 8 Box Hill–Banstead Heath loop

Distance 30km. Grade Hard. Off Road 80%

A tough climb up the escarpment flanking Colley Hill then it is onto the North Downs Way for an entertaining canter along the ridge to Box Hill, with just a few minor ups and downs, allowing plenty of time to recover. A long and exhilerating downhill is followed by a steady climb to Mickelham Downs. More deights follow before the final flying descent back to Reigate.

Route 9 Warlingham–Biggin Hill loop

Distance 38km. Grade Hard. Off Road 55%

Nearly half the ride is on road but these are mostly the narrowest of country lanes, which link together the byways and bridleways accounting for the remainder of the route. There are a few challenging climbs and rattling descents to deal with not least the acsent of Grangers Hill and the preceding downhill along Pitchcroft Lane.

Routes around Maidstone and The Medway Valley

Route 10 Oldbury Hill and Mereworth Woods

Distance 25km. Grade Hard. Off Road 65%

This excellent route takes in some very lovely countryside; from the jungle-crowned heights of Oldury Hill to the forested expanse of Mereworth Woods, the route follows byways, bridleways and narrow country lanes through woodland, orchards, country house estates and picturesque Kentish villages.

Route 11 Meopham–Wrotham loop

Distance 39km. Grade Hard. Off Road 60%

A good challenging route with lots of climbs, several of which will get you wincing, but what goes up must come down!

Route 12 Bearsted, Detling Hill and Blue Bell Hill

Distance 34km or 48km. Grade Hard. Off Road 55%

A real cross country route that puts the miles in along a swathe of the North Downs to the north and east of Maidstone and the Medway Valley. The terrain is generally firm: the challenge comes with the multiple climbs and descents of the North Downs' steep southern escarpment.

South Downs Mountain Bike Routes Photo 3

Routes around Ashford

Route 13 Bilsington and Faggs Wood loop

Distance 26km. Grade Medium. Off Road 60%

This is probably the easiest ride in the book as no big climbs. However the route merits inclusion because of the number of byway tracks it links up and also because Faggs Wood provides plenty of scope for exploration. Avoid after periods of rain as becomes very muddy.

Route 14 Wye Downs loop

Distance 22km. Grade hard. Off Road 70%

A fine route through some very lovely countryside. There are a few tough climbs and tricky descents to keep you on your toes, but in between you can enjoy the peacful atmosphere and expansive views across the Garden of England.

Routes around Canterbury

Route 15 Chartham Downs loop

Distance 20km. Grade Medium. Off Road 60%

A fairly gentle start leads to a rollercoaster of a ride. Tough climbs and fast descents.

Route 16 Chilham and King's Wood loop

Distance 22km. Grade Medium. Off Road 60%

Bookended with considerable climbs and two excellent descents the rest is a fairly level route - a very pleasant cruise through some lovely countryside.

Route 17 Rough Common–Blean Wood loop

Distance 30km or 32km. Grade Medium. Off Road 60%

The woods to Canterbury's northwest are one of the largest wooded areas in Kent. This route takes advantage of this and also heads south to take in a collection of trails and lanes around Chartham Hatch.

Routes around Elham and Tempell Ewell   

Route 18 Elham Valley loop

Distance 23km or 42km. Grade Hard/Very Hard. Off Road 50%

The Elham Valley is a hidden gem tucked away in the East Kent countryside. This route loops around the ridges enclosing the valley to west and east, taking in trails weaving through atmospheric woodlands. The main route is not especially challenging, although there is a fair amount of climbing involved; when combined with the variant route, however, this is a quite a challenge.

north downs photo 5

Route 19 Alkham–Barham Downs loop

Distance 41km. Grade Hard. Off Road 55%

This fine circular route ranges far and wide across the east Kent downs, starting and finishing at Temple Ewell in the southeast with Barham Downs at northeastern limit. Challenging climbs early on, then a more relaxed affair before descending back to Temple Ewell.

Route 20 Temple Ewell loop

Distance 35km. Grade Very Hard. Off Road 60%

This route makes the most of some of the best bridleway and byway tracks to the north west of Dover. Tricky ascents on steep flinty tracks are rewarded with some long rattling descents. The roads used are mostly narrow country lanes through some lovely rolling, wooded countryside.


The Downs Link

Distance 59km or 78km. Grade Hard. Off Road 90%

Directions from Guildford train station to Shoreham-by-Sea station (with an alternative finish at Brighton station).
The Downs Link was established in 1984. It begins at St Martha's Hill on the North Downs Way and wends its sinuous way along wooded downland paths before dropping down to the Low Weald and following the course of dismantled railway lines southeast through Surrey and Sussex to cross the South Downs Way near Steyning.


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