South Downs Way – roughing it question
Tis Mrs NiDs birthday in early September and she wants to go for a long weekend in Brighton (neither of us have ever been) and that got me to thinking – I’ll be at the start of a 5 week leave & the SDW is down that way… I have been doing some research on this fine forum and there seems to be a lot of info resulting from “what posh B&B” but thats not my cup of tea – I’ll be looking to bivvy it (with a tarp). I’ll be setting off from the Eastborne end on account of being in Brighton, looking to take 2 or 3 days and getting the train back from Winchester (praying that I am not riding into a tailwind the entire 100 miles 😕
So, my question (given that I have never visited this corner of our fine country) is will I be OK bivvying, looking at the maps it seems pretty remoteish and can anyone regale me with their own experiences?
Thanks in advance 😀Posted 8 years ago
I’ve wild camped along it a couple of times and not had any problems.Posted 8 years ago
The method we used was find somewhere random to camp. Put up tents. Cycle to nearest pub. Never had any problems. Felt a bit odd just leaving an empty tent in the middle of nowhere at first. But I think I rationalised that it was no more of a risk than leaving one on a camp site.
If you’re camping on farmland, find and ask the farmer. More often than not they’ll find you a spot near a tap and where they know where you are so they don’t run you over in the morning by mistake. Also it’s a bit cheeky not to really!Posted 8 years ago
It’s deffo doable, as shermer says just ask a Farmer for a nits stay in one of his fields explain you are just staying one night on some sort of “bucket list epic adventure” and you should be fine. There are many places along the way to bivvy, some local woods along the trail would be fine to overnight in.Posted 8 years ago
You should do it in 2 days easy. The first time I did it (10 years ago) I took 2 days & nights and took it really easy with a mate and stayed in a couple of Farm House B&B’s, it’s easy done. Now, well now like most we do it in a day.
There is a Youth Hostel on it too, about a 1/3 of a way along from the eastern end.Posted 8 years ago
yeah done it a few times, find a nice secluded spot, pitch late, leave early, don’t leave any rubbish, no probs at all
personally I wouldn’t set a tent/tarp up and leave it, certainly not before dark unless it was a camp sitePosted 8 years ago
Or take a hammock and tarp instead. Plenty of wooded areas along the way, less need to find level/farmed ground.Posted 8 years ago
i’ve done it. pick your spot and you’ll be fine. some sections there aren’t many places other bits plenty. I’ve slept right on the trail at chanctonbury – got woken up by dogwalkers they had no issue.
People had obvisly been there before, crates of lager; burnt the tent and the rubbish (badly) and left it there. don’t do that 😉
PS: bills produce for breakfast in brighton. top notch cafe.Posted 8 years ago
Don’t do it near the long man of wilmington, it’s haunted up there.Posted 8 years ago
There are enough sections along the way providing woody cover so you should be fine pitching up and leaving. Check out the route beforehand and highlight somewhere a bit more remote, i.e away from roads and car parks, if you want to perhaps minimise chance of theft/damage etc.Posted 8 years ago
Stanmer Woods near Brighton isn’t far off the SDW and you could also enjoy one of the many impromptu raves that happen there most summer weekends.Posted 8 years ago
Did it 2 weeks ago, great fun! Camp late, leave early jobs donePosted 8 years ago
Even managed to get a bothy in as well, 5 Star 8)
There is a bothy/camping barn/youth hostel just down from Bignor Hill nr Arundel (possibly the one referred to above) – I thought it was pretty expensive when I checked out prices. You are correct in that most of the SDW is relatively remote and plenty of bits of woodland to nip into. There are the trails at Queen Elizabeth Country Park to spend a little time on. Brighton is great by the way.Posted 8 years ago
Its sounding like a total goer to me! Some great advice, usually pitch late and leave early and no rubbish as a rule. Thanks everyone! Maybe I’ll have worked out how to post photos on here by then & I can show some photos of my exploits.
Tidy, cheersPosted 8 years ago
sorry to go off topic, but has anyone done SDW on a cross bike (and enjoyed it) cheers maccaPosted 8 years ago
I suspect lots of people enjoy riding the SDW in retrospect 😉
It’s eminently doable on a cross bike (people do it on rigid mtb’s all the time) but I’d look to get some bigger, tough tyres on a ‘cross bike to take it on.Posted 8 years ago
sorry to go off topic, but has anyone done SDW on a cross bike (and enjoyed it) cheers macca
I was thinking this recently.
I ride on, over, and around the SDW for my local riding. I did the SDW of a full sus AM bike last year too…
For a blast for a few hours, a CX is grand, But… Even when I’m riding the ‘simpler’ bits (open bridleway stuff) it’s a bit of a shakedown.
Is 100 miles doable? Of course it is. Would it be enjoyable? very unlikely. You’ll hurt, your wrists would ache, and your eyes would be out of the sockets…Am I thinking of giving it (Or part of it) a go? most likely…!
DrPPosted 8 years ago
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