Viewing 18 posts - 1 through 18 (of 18 total)
  • South Downs way over a weekend, how did you get there and back to the start.
  • stoddys
    Free Member

    I’m planning with a few friends to do the South Downs way, west to east over a weekend.
    How have you got to the start, I’m Essex based, and if you drove, how did you get back to the start when you’ve finished?

    Full Member

    Drive to Winchester for about 5am and park there.

    At Eastbourne, cycle back to Truly YHA, then cycle to Shoreham and pick up the train back to W.

    Only really cycled back because it was such glorious weather. I have also just taken the train from Eastbourne back to Winchester.

    Full Member

    Parked at the train station in Winchester. Rode the South Downs Way on the Saturday. Stayed in Eastbourne Saturday night, train back to Winchester on the Sunday. Bikes on the train was no problem.
    Train went via London, but it was hassle free.

    Full Member

    One way car hire from Enterprise. Cost £70 ish for a Quashquai.

    Full Member

    Plenty of free / unrestricted parking in Winchester – e.g. Petersfield Road is right on the route. Train from Eastbourne to Clapham Junction, change and onto Winchester.

    Free Member

    If you are doing the SDW in two days then you don’t need an early start from Winchester and you will likely finish early afternoon in Eastbourne as you have two days of about 50 miles each (though a 50/50 split gives you a tougher Day 2 as the lat 30 miles have a lot of climbing!). I’m on the South Coast near Portsmouth and plan to do the SDW over two days this summer – and we’ll just take a morning train to Winchester on Day 1, and take the train home from Eastbourne on Day 2. You could do the same sort of thing from a base in London.

    As dovebiker says you could also park in Winchester and return there on Day 2 by train from Eastbourne – which takes less than 3 hours. A better option might be to find somewhere to park in Eastbourne and take the train to Winchester so you’ve a much less stressful journey home (apart from the tunnel!).

    Free Member

    When we did it back in the day, we took an early train from London to Winchester rode back along the road from Eastbourne to Brighton and took the train from Brighton back to London. All quite simple.

    Full Member

    Leave car at convenient train station in Essex. Get train to London, ride across town to London Waterloo, then train to Winchester. Return by train from Eastbourne to London, then train out of London back to Essex. Along SDW there are train stations near the route every 25 miles or so if you have to cut it short. You might find it cheaper to buy a £30 Network Card which will give you 1/3 off off-peak travel for yourself and three friends. Check trains at

    Free Member

    train from Eastbourne back to Winchester.

    I catch the train to Brighton then to Sotty, then Winney.

    Free Member

    Stay mid way at Ambereley right on the SDW. ( Or 5 minutes away in car at Arundel )

    Saves having to drive 50 miles to Winchester and then 50 miles back again.

    Day 1.Leave car at Amberley station, get train to Ford and then on Winchester to start. Bang out 50 miles. Finish at mid point with your car, all your kit and ready for next day. If you or your mates dont fancy day 2, you can bail here.

    Day 2. Start right on the SDW at midpoint, no trains to worry about. Ride to Eastbourne. Train back to Brighton and then onto Littlehampton and up to Amberley. Up the A24, M23 and M25 home. Bosh.

    There are places to stay at Amberely, a couple of pubs and you’ve got Arundel and Storrington, both about 4 miles away. Arundel has loads of nice pubs, restaurants and places to stay and it’s 1 stop / 5 mins up the train to Amberely to get on the SDW. South Down bikes in Storrington can sort any mechanicals.

    Full Member

    I did it the sdw in a day last year from North London. Cycled through town , train to Winchester the day before , cheap hotel and off early doors. Train back and rode home before last orders.
    Over two days the train is best option imo, plus it makes it even more of an adventure.

    Full Member

    if its a group of mates, just drive to the end in 2 cars, drop one of them off, drive to the other end, start your ride, then at the end pile in to the one remaining car and drive back to the start to pick the other one up.

    Free Member

    Some great ideas there, thanks all

    Free Member

    Multiple car operation for us – put it all into perspective driving from Eastbourne to Winchester in about 2 hours, then taking two days to cycle back!

    Free Member

    When I did it with 3 others a few years back we got a train on early Sat morn from Kent to Waterloo then down to Winchester. Then we’d arranged to have another mate pick the 4 of us up in Eastbourne on Sunday.

    Full Member

    Live nr Bristol
    Early train to Winchester, 2 changes, amazingly on time, riding by 9
    Overnight half way
    Left Eastbourne 6ish, but that was only because we booked that time, we hung around for a few hours eating chips in Eastbourne before.

    If I did it again I’d just cough up the cash and get the next available train because as it was I did not get back to midnight via London.

    Tbh 2 days is not that hard. For reference I did 120m dragon ride the year before and suffered big time for 11+ hrs on it. SDW was like touring for 2 days; stopped for ages at the cafe at qecp on day 1, and stopped for a pub lunch on day 2.

    If I did it again in 2 days then jn49’s method sounds good, but I think next time will be a 1 day effort with a premier inn or similar in Eastbourne.

    Free Member

    I’ve not stayed there yet as I live close enough to get home, but the South Downs Bunkhouse in Houghton is about halfway on the SDW with walking distance of Amberley and it looks very good. The YHA at Truleigh is another option giving a longer Day 1 but an easy Day 2 which you might appreciate as the last 25 miles has a lot of climbing.

    Free Member

    So looks like the plan is, 4 in each car with our better half’s dropping us off at the start and going to Brighton for the day and joining us at the 1/2 way over night. And picking us up at the end.
    Got a great wife.
    And using the YHA as the middle stop.

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