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The North and South Downs Mountain Biking

North Downs and South Downs Mountain Biking

This is the full second edition of the best selling guide to the best mountain biking in the area. All route information has been throughly checked to give the most up to date guidebook of the area.


Get out of the towns and cities and discover the dense network of trails that cross the countryside of the South East.

Roll into the woodland singletrack of the North Downs or head out on to the big, rolling chalk hills that make up the South Downs National Park.

This guide offers the best mountain biking in Surrey, Sussex and Kent, 24 routes between 16 and 35km in length, suitable for all levels of mountain bikers.

All route information has been thoroughly checked for this new edition, to give the most up-to-date and comprehensive guidebook to the area.

Each route features clear and easy to use Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 maps, easy-to-follow directions, details of distance, timings and difficulty gradings, pubs, cafes, and local knowledge, and stunning photography.

Also included are top ten descents, climbs, an introduction to the fantastic Surrey Hills and a detailed appendix.

See below for route details

Book Details:
Written by Nick Cotton
174 Pages
Book Size is a compact 12cm x 17.5cm
Published July 2013

Great Value


RRP £15.95

Fast Despatch

The Mountain Biking Routes

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

In detail:


North Downs MTB Route Photo1

Thread your way through secret passages of sand, chalk and flint beneath canopies of trees. Emerge blinking at a main road and dive back into the network of trails that magically link together, offering you a radically different view of Surrey and Kent.

Route 1. Puttenham Common, West of Guildford

Route Grade: easy. Distance 19km

This ride explores the sandy tracks to the west of Guildford, starting with a bridleway playground on Puttenham Common, which you may find it difficult to tear yourself away from as there are bucketfuls of top grade tracks.

Route 2. Shalford, Albury & Abinger

Route Grade: medium . Distance 27km

One minute you are in Guildford's suburbs the next you have escaped into a secret world of woodland tracks.

Route 3. Shere & Polesden Lacey

Route Grade: medium. Distance 28km

From Shere up to a forested plateau. A descent towards Polesden Lacey, back up the ridge to Westcott and then easy tracks home.

Route 4. Abinger and Leith Hill

Route Grade: medium . Distance 24km

North Downs MTB Route Photo2

Leith Hill is the highest point in South East England and as it is criss crossed with byways and bridleways it is a big draw for mountain bikers. This ride involves some tough climbing and good descents.

Route 5. Reigate Hill, Stane Street, Box Hill

Route Grade: medium . Distance 30km

A ride with all the right ingredients. A good cafe in the (free) car park and a mixture of well maintained, well signposted broad and narrow tracks up and down through wooded countryside.

Route 6. Godstone & Oxted

Route Grade: medium . Distance 24km

Fine woodland tracks, challenging climbs and fun descents.

Route 7. Ightham & Mereworth Woods

Route Grade: medium. Distance 25km

A bike route with the most remarkable section of long bridleway through the sweet chestnut coppices of Mereworth Woods.

Route 8. Wrotham & the North Downs Way

Route Grade: medium. Distance 35km

North Downs MTB Route Photo3

A route that consists of many sections of bridleways, byways and lanes bolted together to maximize off road content. It may feel a bit bitty first time around but do it a second and third time and it will all fall more naturally in place. A top feature of the route is the quality of the North Downs Way here. From Spring to Autumn you will feel like you are gliding through a green tunnel under a canopy of vegetation.

Route 9. Chilham & King's Wood

Route Grade: easy. Distance 23km

This bike route, starting at Chilham sticks to broad forest roads in King's Wood. Chilham is a picture postcard village complete with castle, square, old timbered buildings and a good pub and tearoom.

Route 10. Shalmsford Street & Chartham Downs

Route Grade: easy. Distance 21km

A fine little route with a predominantly wooded (Denge Wood & Eggringe Wood) feel to it. Within striking distance of Canterbury.


South Downs MTB Route Photo1

Big skies, big views of the English Channel and Sussex Weald, granny ring climbs and swooping chalk and flint descents. Rides along the South Downs offer a sense of space that you don't expect to find in the crowded South East.

Route 11. New Alresford

Route Grade: easy . Distance 32km

This bike route is a quiet celebration of the English countryside, a gentle unfolding with no sharp edge.

Route 12. Butser Hill & East Meon

Route Grade: medium. Distance 20km

No chance of a warm up as it's up Buster Hill, the highest point on the South Downs Way. A steep descent and onto East Meon. A long off road climb through stunning woodland, a steep challenge up to a plateau and a final grassy whoooosh back.

Route 13. East from Queen Elizabeth Country Park

Route Grade: medium . Distance 24km

A steep grassy climb up to to the South Downs Way and time for some great views. Up and down through woodland & farmland and back to the start.

Route 14. Goodwood & Hooksway

Route Grade: medium . Distance 31km

A South Downs classic that gives a real flavour of the variety of mountain biking in the area.

Route 15. Eartham Wood, Duncton Down & Bignor Hill

RouteGrade: medium. Distance 21km

South Downs MTB Route Photo2

Less than one kilometre of this mountain bike route is on tarmac making it one of the 'purest' off road rides in the guide.

Route 16. Slindon & Bignor Hill

Route Grade: medium. Distance 20km

From the top of Bignor Hill you join Stane Street, an old Roman road that used to link London with Chichester. This is followed by several kilometres through pasture and woodland. And there is a jewel of descent down to Slindon.

Route 17. Storrington & Kithurst Hill

Route Grade: hard. Distance 28km

Good quality singletrack that includes a testing climb and steep descent. Another wow factor is the steep descent into and climb out of the dry valley south of Amberley Mount - it is like entering a secret kingdom!

Route 18. Findon, Cissbury Ring & Sullington Hill

Route Grade: medium. Distance 26km

A lovely mountain bike route with 400 metres of climbs and descents. Takes in the fantastic location of Chanctonbury Ring.

Route 19. Findon, the Adur Valley & Chanctonbury Ring

Route Grade: medium. Distance 26km

Highlights include the Cissbury Ring & the ridge from Steep Down south east to Lancing. But head and shoulders above them is the ridge that leads to the atmospheric stand of trees on Chanctonbury Ring.


Route 20. Clayton Windmills & Wolstonbury Hill

Route Grade: medium. Distance 20km

A route that gives the possibility of three short diversions; Jack & Jill Windmills; a gawp at Devil's Dyke - and maybe fit in refreshments at the pub; and the Chattri war memorial.

Route 21. Ditchling Beacon & Stanmer Down

Route Grade: medium. Distance 22km

South Downs MTB Route Photo3

Ditchling Beacon is a popular mountain biking area with the superb spine of the South Downs Way running east and west from one of the highest points along the whole trail.

Route 22. West of Lewes

Route Grade: hard . Distance 35km

A long route with a lot of climbing, good quality tracks and some fast descents. One of the most extraordinary descent in the guide follows the old bullock track near Woodlingdean - a steady drop that seems to go on forever.

Route 23. Firle Beacon & a Taste of Toytown

Route Grade: medium. Distance 16km

This bike route starts and finishes with a downhill; so there is a big hill in the middle of it! One to do on a clear day to get the stunning views across the English Channel.

Route 24. Alfriston, Friston Forest & Jevington

Route Grade: medium . Distance 21km

Fast open tracks, a mixture of climbs and descents on a variety of surfaces, and the finale of one of the best open descents on the South Downs.

1 Top Ten Mountain Bike Playgrounds
2 Top Ten Climbs
3 Top Ten Downhills
4 Surrey Hills Singletrack


North Downs MTB Sample 1

North Downs MTB Sample 2


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