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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.

 Day one

  1. Pack a bag, hop on the train with your bike and head for beautiful Chichester.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. On reaching Mid Lavant head west, first along a small road and then picking up a bridleway over Stoke Clump.
  5. It’s getting steeper now. Find a low gear, pump the legs and and keep those cranks turning as you head up Kingley Vale. 
  6. 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.
  7. Push on to the top of Bow Hill. Pass through the Bronze-Age Devil’s Humps and it’s time to get downhilling.
  8. 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.
  9. Cross the road, follow the lane for a while before joining a bridleway through West Dean Estate.
  10. Follow the flowing singletrack running alongside the fire road as it makes a satisfying descent through the woodland.
  11. Pass the end of the famous Goodwood Racetrack before following a bridleway over the Lavant Down and dropping into East Lavant village.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.

Day two

  1. Today it’s time to head south towards the sea. Hear that sound? It’s the breezy charms of West Wittering calling.
  2. Follow the road southwards, enjoying the easy riding and fresh sea air.
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.