Saddle and surf weekender
Can’t decide whether you fancy a proper ride in the hills or enjoying time by the sea? This plan gives you the best of both.
- Pack a bag, hop on the train with your bike and head for beautiful Chichester.
- Thanks to your savvy planning you’re already booked into the self-catering Lake Birds Lodge. Say hello to host Heather (she’s really nice), drop off your stuff and it’s time to head off.
- Ride back to the centre of Chichester. From here head west from the cathedral before picking up Centurion Way, a cyclepath that follows a disused railway line northwards. Enjoy the nice flat start (while it lasts).
- On reaching Mid Lavant head west, first along a small road and then picking up a bridleway over Stoke Clump.
- It’s getting steeper now. Find a low gear, pump the legs and and keep those cranks turning as you head up Kingley Vale.
- Give your calves some respite and feast your eyes on those glorious views. It’s also well worth seeking out a grove of ancient trees, among the very oldest living things in Britain.
- Push on to the top of Bow Hill. Pass through the Bronze-Age Devil’s Humps and it’s time to get downhilling.
- Build up speed on the first steep descent and try to keep it going through those tight corners as you carve a path that eventually drops you out onto a road at the bottom.
- Cross the road, follow the lane for a while before joining a bridleway through West Dean Estate.
- Follow the flowing singletrack running alongside the fire road as it makes a satisfying descent through the woodland.
- Pass the end of the famous Goodwood Racetrack before following a bridleway over the Lavant Down and dropping into East Lavant village.
- You’ll want to stop at the Earl of March for refreshment. If the sun’s shining grab a pint and get in the beer garden to enjoy views over the Downs. And if you’re hungry the Haddock & Chips from the bar menu comes strongly recommended.
- With a full belly, follow Lavant Road into Chichester before making your way back to your lodge for stargazing, nature spotting or just some well-deserved rest.
- Today it’s time to head south towards the sea. Hear that sound? It’s the breezy charms of West Wittering calling.
- Follow the road southwards, enjoying the easy riding and fresh sea air.
- Carry on down to East Head in West Wittering. First take in the dunes and views, then head down to the picture-postcard beach huts on West Wittering beach.
- Weather nice? If you fancy a surf, paddleboard, windsurf or kayak you can hire equipment (and wetsuits) from 2XS at West Wittering or at Shore Watersports back in East Wittering.
- After a day of coastal fun it’s time to head back. Don’t retrace the main route, instead detour off onto peaceful Selsey Road and head northwards.
- There’s just time to stop off at The Blacksmith’s Pub. It’s a great place for a pint – and they sell Caroline’s Dairy ice cream. Every flavour by this local company is delicious, but the award-winning Stem Ginger, Lime and Chilli is really not to be missed.
- Just past The Blacksmith’s pick up Chichester Canal Towpath. Follow this for a bit until it meets the B2145, that’ll take you right past the lodge entrance to pick up your stuff.
- Head to the station, get on the train and head home, leaving plenty of time to shower off the sand, put your clothes in the wash and iron a shirt ready for Monday morning. Weekend? It worked out.