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Sussex: steepest or longest climbs?

Marion78Marion78 Posts: 12
edited October 2010 in Road beginners
I have been a roadie since I got my first Trek about 6 years ago, but I recently moved away from Scotland because of work. So my list of routes is next to none. I'm living in Hastings and I'm looking to find a few routes that have some big climbs, relative when you consider Sussex, and East Sussex. I have only been down here a few weeks and haven't had much time to go on rides, but thought maybe some of you here might know some good steep or long climbs, or preferably both? Is there anything near Brighton worth checking out?

regards
Marion
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  • Takis61Takis61 Posts: 239
    Ditchling Beacon is a nice climb, also the Ashdown Forest.
    Check out the Sportives section, there is a ride around Burgess Hill area on August 30th, I did it in March & it is tough.
    "Just" attempting the 65 miler as there are some really steep sections.
    My knees hurt !
  • pottsstevepottssteve Posts: 4,043
    The Falmer Rd from Rottingdean to Falmer train station is quite steep - it rises about 150m in the first 4km. Trouble is, I don't think you can go any further than the Uni at the top as you're on the motorway then, though I may be wrong. If you cycle from Hastings along the coast there are a couple of sharp climbs around Eastbourne.

    Steve
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  • Essex ManEssex Man Posts: 283
    I found cycling up to Beachy Head plenty hilly enough for me recently! But then I am used to Essex's bumps.
  • bobtbuilderbobtbuilder Posts: 1,537
    Hi Marion,

    Welcome to Sussex!

    Ditchling Beacon is OK. It's hard because the gradient is constantly changing. On the negative side, it's usually really busy with traffic. You have better options though. Try:

    Firle Bostal (beacon) - seach in Google Maps. A nice long drag, with the steepest section at the end. It's a dead end road, so there is minimal traffic.

    Bopeep Lane - it's only about 3 miles from Firle Bostal along the A27, so you can do this in the same ride. This is another dead end road, even less used than Firle. Shorter and much steeper (20% IIRC).

    On the other side of Brighton you have Bostal Road in Steyning, which is a very nasty climb.

    You haven't said how far you plan to ride, or whether you want to take a train to reach them, but there are lots of short & steep climbs around Heathfield, Crowborough & especially Mayfield.

    If you took a train / rode to Haywards Heath (there is a regular service), there are some great climbs within 5-10 miles: Cob Lane from West Hoathly to Ardingly (22%), Balcombe Lane / West Hill between Ardingly & Balcombe, the infamous "Wall" of Kidds Hill at Coleman's Hatch.

    All of these names will come up on Google maps.

    As a suggestion, check out the Burgess Hill Rumble thread in the Sportives forum, as this event on 30 August uses many of these climbs and plenty more.

    Hope this helps.
  • WoodchipWoodchip Posts: 205
    Welcome to the best county in the country. :D

    I'd like to add High 'n' Over which is steep and runs for about a mile. It's on the road from Alfriston to Seaford. Also Streat Bostal is another steep one (dead end again) but you could do Plumpton Bostal in the same ride. If you fancied being slightly nuts you could get the train to Lewes, take on Plumpton and Streat then carry on and take on Ditchling in the same ride.

    I'm just about to head out to take on High 'n' Over the other way (first time I've ever descended it on a road bike, so if you don't hear from me for a few days you know I got it wrong).

    With a bit more thought I could come up with several more.

    Oh, as you're in Hastings have you gone up the hill past the football ground yet (Elphinstone Road?)? That's a bit of a drag.
    I have nothing more to say on the matter.
  • markos1963markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    I seem to remember quite a lot of steep climbs in the Robertsbridge/Bodium area. Also the climb out of Eastbourne on the A259 is pretty long with the follow up into and out of East Dean.
  • WoodchipWoodchip Posts: 205
    Good news. I'm alive. Maxxed out at 50MPH going down it. What a hoot that was!!!!!! Shame it's followed up by West Hill which is a lot steeper on a bike than a car.
    I have nothing more to say on the matter.
  • About 2 miles west of Ditchling Beacon is Streat Hill Bostal. I think it's a bridle path. Steeper and shorter than Ditchling Beacon. It used to have a good surface (in 60's) but it may not be so good now.

    The next one along is Plumpton Bostal - also a Bridle Path, I think. Again not sure of surface. Watch out for tractors though especially during harvest.
  • Joe86Joe86 Posts: 180
    Woodchip wrote:
    Good news. I'm alive. Maxxed out at 50MPH going down it. What a hoot that was!!!!!! Shame it's followed up by West Hill which is a lot steeper on a bike than a car.

    I haven't got my bike yet, but I hope to pretty soon. I'm from Eastbourne, but I lived in Seaford for all my childhood and I remember 'High n Over'. I wouldn't like to try something that for a long time lol. What is the gradient on that one?

    I plan to go on straight and neutral ground for a while, and then try my luck at Beachy Head which is only a few miles from where I live. But I too will take note of these other locations, in case I ever go on a long ride in the future.
  • WoodchipWoodchip Posts: 205
    Joe86 wrote:
    I haven't got my bike yet, but I hope to pretty soon. I'm from Eastbourne, but I lived in Seaford for all my childhood and I remember 'High n Over'. I wouldn't like to try something that for a long time lol. What is the gradient on that one?
    My GPS reads -13% at it's steepest to -6% then back to -13% before a quick change to +17% as you come out the dip going up West Hill.
    I have nothing more to say on the matter.
  • Joe86Joe86 Posts: 180
    Thought I would bump this thread as I have been doing a few of these climbs in the past few days. Went to High N Over yesterday, and it was quite a difficult one. Initially flat at the bottom for quite a bit, and kicks up toward the end.

    But today I tried the hardest climb I have found in the Eastbourne/Seaford area; Butts Lane at Butts Brow. 11-14% average gradient (depending on site used), and kicks up to about 20% at its steepest, and about 1 km in length. It is basically about 1km from my home, so I can't believe I never knew of this climb before. Mind you, it is in almost what looks to be a drive to someone's house, so it is quite deceptive, and you wouldn't know there was going to be a road like that. It is quite a narrow one, and I felt quite uneasy on the descent, but I'm gonna add this one into my route.
  • markos1963markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    Joe86 wrote:
    Thought I would bump this thread as I have been doing a few of these climbs in the past few days. Went to High N Over yesterday, and it was quite a difficult one. Initially flat at the bottom for quite a bit, and kicks up toward the end.

    But today I tried the hardest climb I have found in the Eastbourne/Seaford area; Butts Lane at Butts Brow. 11-14% average gradient (depending on site used), and kicks up to about 20% at its steepest, and about 1 km in length. It is basically about 1km from my home, so I can't believe I never knew of this climb before. Mind you, it is in almost what looks to be a drive to someone's house, so it is quite deceptive, and you wouldn't know there was going to be a road like that. It is quite a narrow one, and I felt quite uneasy on the descent, but I'm gonna add this one into my route.

    Blimey I had forgotten about Butts Lane. I used to cycle up that as a boy on my Raleigh Esquire 3 speed! In the winter we used to ride up there and park at the top then go sledging off the Brow
  • MattC59MattC59 Posts: 5,408
    Have a look at the A259 just west of Seaford. You climb from the Seven Sisters Country Park. The first 250m is 20%, then you've got a drawn out climb (not too steep, but drawn out) until you get to Friston.

    Once you get to Friston, you can turn right and head through East Dean, this takes yuo up towards Beachy head, and whilst not brutally steep, is steep enough and long enough to make you work hard :D
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  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    Hi marion

    I live in Hastings myself and ride quite a bit around here and there are plenty of good hills. I don't know how far afield you care to go, or what kinds of challenges you are looking for, but close to town there is Elphinstone Road, as an earlier post mentioned, and Chick Hill out near Fairlight (not long, but about 20%). And one of the little back lanes coming up to the Ridge from Westfield (I can't recall the name of it off the top of my head) is surprisingly tough. Old London Road, from Hastings Old Town, up to Ore and on to Fairlight is quite a decent climb, and if you go on out to Rye and return via Peashmarsh, Bodiam, Robertsbridge and Brightling, you'll get a decent workout too.

    The ride from here out to Rudyard Kipling's old shack, Batemans, near Burwash, is fairly hilly - no famously great, named, stand-out hills, but overall a decent roller coaster of 25 miles or so, round trip. If you keep going, the area around Mayfield has some decent grades.

    Further afield, High and Over is good, out by Alfriston, and the ride up Beachy Head is one I do every Sunday, riding first over to Pevensey and then making a loop Polegate, Friston, Beachy Head, Eastbourne and back to Hastings.

    I hope this helps.
  • Joe86Joe86 Posts: 180
    MattC59 wrote:
    Have a look at the A259 just west of Seaford. You climb from the Seven Sisters Country Park. The first 250m is 20%, then you've got a drawn out climb (not too steep, but drawn out) until you get to Friston.

    Once you get to Friston, you can turn right and head through East Dean, this takes yuo up towards Beachy head, and whilst not brutally steep, is steep enough and long enough to make you work hard :D

    This is actually a really nice climb, the one out of Seaford. Eastbourne to Seaford has a lot of nice climbs, and route possibilities either through Alfriston way, or A259 way. I did this one today, and since they resurfaced the road it is so smooth and nice to ride on. About 9-10% average gradient I think. I don't know what it is about the climb, but I find it easier than a lot of the 7-8% average gradient climbs in Eastbourne (of similar length). I guess because it is a gradual climb, and the ones I usually go on are ramping up and down, and my speed is all over the place.

    It is a shame that the road from Alfriston to Eastbourne is such a terrible road surface (A27), and so many potholes that you can't avoid. The road isn't that wide, so it doesn't give you room to maneuver that much if cars are bombing past. Anyway, I find roads like that give me a headache with all the noise and overtaking :oops:

    The climb out of Eastbourne A259 from Old Town is quite a hard one,
  • mudslingermudslinger Posts: 237
    About 2 miles west of Ditchling Beacon is Streat Hill Bostal. I think it's a bridle path. Steeper and shorter than Ditchling Beacon. It used to have a good surface (in 60's) but it may not be so good now.

    My 15 mile commute into Brighton involves either of these depending if I'm on the road bike or MTB. Due to the traffic going up the Beacon I usually take Steat Bostal which is a tarmacced bridleway. Condition is pretty good though I'd be careful descending on a road bike as it is a bit patchy in places. It is about 0.75 miles long & about 19% in places. A shorter but tougher climb than the Beacon.

    I live not far from Cobb Lane which is short & brutal.
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  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,164
    Within Hastings there are some sharp climbs up from the seafront in the old town (Croft Road), around Warrior Square.
    On the route to Rye there is Barley lane up to Fairight Road and Battery Hill.
    If you cross the railway at Winchelsea there is a lovely short climb up to the B2089
  • Lady VenomLady Venom Posts: 213
    Devils censored area and anywhere around the Southdowns....!
  • On the other side of Brighton you have Bostal Road in Steyning, which is a very nasty climb.

    A very nasty climb indeed
  • Sonny73Sonny73 Posts: 2,604
    On top of those already mentioned Firle Beacon (Firle Bostal), great climb and nasty and Bopeep's ok too. The only thing is you have to navigate or cross the A27.
  • PostieJohnPostieJohn Posts: 1,105
    Once again welcome to God's own county, shame you chose the lesser half!.

    From memory the 'Burgess Hill 'rumble' (check out sportive section) has a not bad one called The Wall, but a really nasty one, which name escapes me.

    The better half has plenty:-
    Steyning
    Bury Hill
    Duncton
    Goodwood
    Harting
    Singleton.

    To name but a few.
  • bartimaeusbartimaeus Posts: 1,812
    Don't know about East Sussex, but Bignor Hill was the steepest on-road climb I tried in West Sussex... steeper than Duncton and Harting. The road doesn't actuallly go anywhere once it gets to the top, though!
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  • Bartimaeus wrote:
    Don't know about East Sussex, but Bignor Hill was the steepest on-road climb I tried in West Sussex... steeper than Duncton and Harting. The road doesn't actuallly go anywhere once it gets to the top, though!


    I've ridden up it loads of times from the South offroad but not tried it from the North side of the escarpment, it seemed bad enough driving up it in a car. When I get more miles under my belt on the road bike I'll give it a shot, trouble is it's a compact.
  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    There certainly is a Bright-West Sussex bias here - of all the posts on this thread only a couple concern hills anywhere near the Hastings area. I live here and while I've no doubt that the hills described over that way are grand and challenging, they are a long ways off if you're riding over there first. I had the idea the original poster was looking for something in the Hastings area...
  • Hoopdriver wrote:
    There certainly is a Bright-West Sussex bias here - of all the posts on this thread only a couple concern hills anywhere near the Hastings area. I live here and while I've no doubt that the hills described over that way are grand and challenging, they are a long ways off if you're riding over there first. I had the idea the original poster was looking for something in the Hastings area...

    Quite, but after 15 months or so I guess she's probably found out what's going on in her area and this thread has become more of a social gathering.
  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    True, but as someone who lives over this way - or even for anyone interested in cycling routes around Sussex for that matter - it would be nice to hear about something other than the very predictable Ditchling Beacon et al. It just seems kind of dull...
  • the infamous "Wall" of Kidds Hill at Coleman's Hatch.
    Is it just me, or is it incorrectly infamous and really quite badly named? It's not that bad at all. There are far, far, FAR worse...
    Ace part of the world. My inlaws live in Crawley Down so as long as I've got the bike with me, I can certainly cope with trips to see them ;)
  • With regard to Kidds Hill, despite living less than 5 miles away I had never heard of it till reading this thread. So having an afternoon free today I had to give it a go! Well I made it to the top without stopping on 72" fixed wheel. I wouldn't like to say whether it's infamous or not but I'm glad I don't have to do it every day. Got some well appreciated encouragement from a roadie zooming down hill with the loudest freewheel I've ever heard.

    Alan
  • PostieJohnPostieJohn Posts: 1,105
    PostieJohn wrote:
    From memory the 'Burgess Hill 'rumble' (check out sportive section) has a not bad one called The Wall, but a really nasty one, which name escapes me.
    Cobb Lane. That's the censored
    Somewhere on the southern side of Burgess Hill, not too far from Kidds Hill.
  • Cob Lane is short but very very steep. It's on the road from West Hoathly into Ardingly. There is another tough one not far away on the road from Ardingly to Balcombe.
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