South Downs Way conditions

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  • South Downs Way conditions
  • pixelmix
    Member

    A little advanced notice, but how are the conditions on the SDW at the moment? It looks chilly and dry for the last few days and for the next few days, but I’m reading this from a computer screen in Edinburgh.

    Aiming to ride it East to West (allowing for the wind) on Tue or Wed next week. Conditions likely to be dry enough?

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    Sticky on Sunday.

    Not had rain since so may have dried a little, I may head up there tonight so I’ll do an update if I can.

    dantsw13
    Member

    It’s been dry for a few days and due to stay so. It will be dry on the Downs, but still wet in the woods.

    Premier Icon davosaurusrex
    Subscriber

    Up there last night, still big puddles around but not too bad in most parts, wind exposed parts are very dry. Not much in the way of the dreaded South Downs clag, if it doesn’t rain between now and then you’ll be grand

    DrP
    Member

    You doing the whole hog??

    The thing is, on a nice dry day you can sail along.
    But…. At the moment it’s ‘dry’ but a bit claggy on some parts (was up on the Sussex stretch last night).
    Blasting out 20miles in a bit of mud is fine, but mile after muddy mile for 100 of them can be abit ‘much’.

    I was on the Winchester section a few weeks back, and TBH if it was like it was then, when i did my SDW, I’d have packed it in and been in a massive grump! (however, it was lovely when I did it!)

    DrP

    DrP
    Member

    I’m clearly painting a bleaker picture than Dave…… (we were on the same ride!!!)

    DrP

    Premier Icon davosaurusrex
    Subscriber

    How dare you contradict me! Bloody know-all doctors…..

    DrP
    Member

    On reflection, I admit the section we were on wasn’t claggy. But…. Last week we were about 4 miles west (SDW between Amberly and Washington) and that WAS clag. Clag clag clag.

    Clag.

    DrP

    Premier Icon cp
    Subscriber

    convenient timing – was wondering what conditions were like down there as am visiting for the weekend… Had been wondering a few weeks ago about doing the SDW, but going to do that when it is actually dry!

    think I might take the road bike this w/e.

    Premier Icon davosaurusrex
    Subscriber

    To be fair I’ve never done the whole thing so I can well imagine DrP is right about it becoming a grind. However if the rain holds off I think by middle of next week the going should be ok.

    timnwild
    Member

    I can only vouch for the sections around Chanctonbury Ring, but I’ve personally never been colder, muddier or wetter than I was on Sunday’s ride.

    avdave2
    Member

    Brighton to Eastbourne shouldn’t be too bad, generally the eastern end is better in rubbish conditions. I ride on the downs every day to work around Brighton and in comparison to the rest of the winter it’s actually pretty good at the moment. I might even go a longer way home tonight and even get out for a bit over the weekend if it stays this dry.

    rewski
    Member

    I’ll be riding Eastbourne end at the weekend, will report back. Hopefully the wind as dried some of the chalky clag.

    avdave2
    Member

    Or freeze it!

    bartimaeus
    Member

    On Sunday the section around Graffham Down and Cocking was wet with some huge pudddles (as in 20m)… and they have partially resurfaced the track down to the A286 at Manorfarm Down and it is closed with a diversion through a field. OK downhill – but a struggle uphill!

    carloz
    Member

    Trails around Brighton were almost dry last night. There’s been a constant freezing cold wind for days now which seems to have shifted the bottom bracket deep mud.

    jhuwjones
    Member

    I rode the Wiggle route around Amberley on Monday and again this morning and the difference was huge.

    On Monday it was very muddy and hard work. I had to walk one field and even then my bike doubled in weight. This morning I rode that same field and the mud on the SDW had almost dried up. I was amazed by the difference in 48 hours.

    There will be some mud and puddles at the bottom of hills but I think a fair amount of it will be rideable as long as there is no more rain.

    Regards
    H

    Just come back from a ride around Steyning and it has dried out and the ground is good and grippy at the moment

    Premier Icon kimbers
    Subscriber

    am staying near southampton- swanmore this weekend with relatives taking the bike wheres best to ride, head up to the south downs way with the hardtail or take the am bike to QECP?

    cheers

    m0rk
    Member

    Hardtail to QECP, and follow your nose

    pixelmix
    Member

    Wow, lots of replies – thanks folks.

    Sounds do-able if the current weather holds until early next week when I am hoping to ride. I had always intended to ride West to East, but I’m now intending to get a 6am train (well two really) from Winchester to Eastbourne, and finish in the holiday house we are staying in at Winchester.

    The South Downs trains website doesn’t seem to suggest any issues with hopping on the relevant trains with a bike. Can anyone confirm if that is possible at 6.15am on a weekday (without a booking for me or the bike?)

    jmckee
    Member

    @kimbers QECP was a mess last weekend. We’ve not had rain since but I’d still suggest the SDW. If you’ve got transport from swanmore then somewhere like the ranges at longmore will be good because of the sandy soil – drains in no time.

    DrP
    Member

    Train might be an issue if it passes through Brighton between 7-1000….

    Check the operator site.

    Unless you’re taking a brompton. In which case, the train is the least of your concerns…..!

    DrP

    @Kimbers PM me if you like. I am local ish and might be around whe you get a ‘pass’. Cant do Sunday though as doing the family thing. Supposed to be car shopping as well , but can work around that.

    Next week is half term so train will be alot less busy , although a 0800 start in Eastbourne isnt the best really, unless your actually Josh Ibbet ( sub 8hr )

    avdave2
    Member

    I think east to west is better if you can get a day when the prevailing winds are not prevailing. And just now they are not. Starting at Eastbourne means you haven’t got 3 nasty climbs in the last 15 miles. My impression of riding from around Southease to Winchester was that the climbs are longer heading east but not as steep which suited me just fine.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    as noted above, bikes on peak time trains out of Brighton are a no-no.

    Maybe get a train the night before and stay in Eastbourne overnight? I realise you won’t have anything bar your riding kit with you but you could take a pair of trainers and post them to yourself 😉

    You could get an earlier start and make the most of the daylight if you stayed in Eastbourne too.

    Van Halen
    Member

    Brighton station is ok for bikes at any time unless you try to get in through barriers at peak times.

    dantsw13
    Member

    Take your bike – if they kick you off at Brighton, head up to Stanmer park for a blast, then climb up to the SDW and complete from there. If you can get into Eastbourne before Rush Hr, you will miss the local rush hr traffic. Earlier its all busy heading to London, not out. Back carriage is normally quietest too.

    Does anyone have any ideas for rides in the Brighton area?-staying quite close to town but don’t know this part of the downs very well.

    Premier Icon Paceman
    Subscriber

    Does anyone have any ideas for rides in the Brighton area?-staying quite close to town but don’t know this part of the downs very well.

    Check out these guys… http://brightonmtb.org/

    They’re a really friendly bunch and super-knowledgeable on the best local trails.

    If you just want to explore the the Downs are good for getting some miles in with great views, but if you want more technical singletrack head for Stanmer Park Woods, Steyning Woods, or Whiteways.

    Singletrack also have some recommended routes:-

    http://singletrackworld.com/trailguide/uk/south-east/the-south-downs/

    pixelmix
    Member

    Thanks for all the follow up responses. Will call the train company to see if it is do-able.

    I’m planning East to West based on the wind forecast (as also suggested above). 5.20am train from Winchester gets me to Eastbourne after 8am. That fits within the rules for going in and out of Clapham Junction, but I wasn’t aware of the Brighton restrictions. Ugh!

    With the clocks changing this weekend, I’m hoping that I’ll have just about enough daylight. If I can start in Eastbourne at 8.30am, that would give me 11 hours until sunset, and hopefully I could just then use a light for the last section if I’m taking longer.

    Now if only I can get these darned trains to work out. Otherwise I’ll be in serious brownie point debt to my pregnant wife if I ask her for a lift from Winchester to Eastbourne at 6am!

    cyclistm
    Member

    Blimey, good luck. It will be a tough ride at the moment, watch the chalky bits, they are slippy.

    Clong
    Member

    Conditions around Winchester last night were fine, couple of places were very bad where horse’s have been through. As others have said, exposed sections will be dry, wooded sections not so although its improved alot in the last week. The lower areas will be wet i imagine, there was still some snow patches around Harting down last Wednesday, but thats probably gone now.

    The rain fall and subsequent run off has cut new channels in some trials, which has exposed lots of lovely new flint, which is cutting up my tyres a treat.

    Premier Icon tallie
    Subscriber

    Your best bet may be to get the last train to Eastbourne which gets you to the start of the SDW for 0230-0300 IIRC. We did this for logistical reasons and apart from riding into the teeth of a howling Westerly gale it wasn’t too bad…obviously the first couple of hours are night riding and you have to carry lights but it ensures you finish in daylight and has minimal impact on the rest of the family.

    You’ll need to ensure your nav is good though – a gps or gps enabled smartphone with a gpx of the route is a useful nav aid.

    The sections of the SDW I rode yesterday were fine – QECP had some puddles and claggy sections lower down but was fine higher up.

    Cheers Paceman-one of those Singletrack routes is perfect.

    DrP
    Member

    The epic one is a nice route – can add in a bit of ‘cheek’ at steyning. To make it more funnerer….

    DrP

    Premier Icon abatty
    Subscriber

    I preferred going east-west on the South Downs Maxx (albeit it is only Eastbourne to QECP, but at night) than west-east on the BHF SDW Randonnee because I got the tougher climbs over with earlier on my lumbering 140mm Stumpy full-suss. You should have a tail-ish wind to your advantage, but it’ll still be pretty brutal at this time of year – rather you than me!

    birdage
    Member

    Doing the bit between Lewes and Petersfield on Saturday and hoping for a light breeze in my favour. Will let you know if there’s anything worth worrying about!

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    Bit up near Devils Dyke was pretty dry ( not frozen) at lunchtime. That wind is biting though 🙁

    Rode SDW from QE park to near Cocking today in the first part of a loop, and from Harting Down / Beacon Hill to Cocking area was absolutely minging. Really gloopy wet chalk adding about 5lb to my bike and sticking to my tyres. Nice to be out but very hard going.

    robbonzo
    Member

    Not South Downs way but friston forest was pretty much all dry, was great.

    timnwild
    Member

    Yesterday? Dry and frozen and great at lancing and Chanctonbury but by 11am, nasty, wet, claggy – so bad it snapped my fenderbender off.

    Just done a couple of hours around the Friston area and back along the SDW, the chalky bits are all broken up and claggy now – Windover Hill, we had a bit of a frost yesterday that’s made it a mess, couple of days ago it was solid, so my bike and myself ended up covered in wet chalk that then turned solid and stopped my mechs working, wind seems to be changing from a north to an east wind so it should be behind you but it’s still bitter. So, warm clothes and a brush to unclog the bike at the water stops.

    Pauly
    Member

    Rode from Brighton to Alfriston and back along the coast yesterday. Only a couple of bad bits that were competely unrideable. Strong easterly wind didn’t help. Great ride though.

    rewski
    Member

    Eastbourne and Jevington end was pretty dry, some clag in places. Friston was riding really well, some great new improvements to the trail in the middle of the forest, some well placed berms and jumps.

Viewing 45 posts - 1 through 45 (of 51 total)

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