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Downs Link - Shoreham to Guildford

Dazza78Dazza78 Posts: 32
edited May 2010 in MTB rides
Evening all,

After a bit of advice really....

A group of us (about 10) quite like the idea of riding the Downs Link, which I think is in the region of 60 miles (?). Within the group there are a mix of men and women, a mix of abilities (bmx/road/off-road), a mix of fitness and a mix of bike types (HT's, (and these are of a varying standard), hybrid and cyclo-cross).

With the above in mind, do you think this is a viable ride to do in a day? What is the route like? I'm guessing it should be relatively easy with no real steep climbs or downhill sections as the route follows the line of an old railway.

ANy other hints/tips/advice greatly appreciated :)

Posts

  • seanoevilseanoevil Posts: 142
    Im doing this next week, but in reverse and on from Shoreham to Brighton...couple of us on our mountain bikes. Its 37 miles to Shoreham from Guildford apparently...

    Uses the Downs Link - an old railway line as you say. Quite well sign posted etc, should not be too difficult a ride.

    We are hoping to knock it out in about 4-5 hours at most tbh...

    Here is summat I found for it...

    http://www.cranleighrailway.info/acroba ... _guide.pdf
  • anjsanjs Posts: 486
    Downs link runs from Guildford to Soreham. Its 37 miles long in total. Most of it is on old railway line so is very flat and easy going. It can be ridden on just about any bike. The start at St Martha's Hill is hilly and sandy to is hard going. You can miss this out if you start a bit further down at the river Wey. There are a couple of nice pubs along the way. The Bax Castle does good food.
  • bike-a-swanbike-a-swan Posts: 1,235
    not a problem at all- it's pretty flat. Nice countryside though
    Rock Lobster 853, Trek 1200 and a very old, tired and loved Apollo Javelin.
  • Dazza78Dazza78 Posts: 32
    Cheers for your replies folks....not sure where I got 60 odd miles from....maybe I was thinking there and back, or the London to Brightron distance?!! Anyway, nice to hear its only 37 miles...should make it a bit more bearable for the less fit in the group :wink:

    We were planning on a few pub stops along the way for refreshments and lunch :D
  • anjsanjs Posts: 486
    Should be ideal for your requirements
  • anjsanjs Posts: 486
    Should be ideal for your requirements.
  • surreyxcsurreyxc Posts: 293
    This is a very easy route to do, as a an old railway the inclines are very mild, all for one sections which takes you up and over a tunnel. Navigation is straightforward, I would recommend getting to Shoreham and then hugging the coast to Brighton, much better for a beer. At this time of year it will be very dry, if it rains you can get a lot of muddy spray off the hard surfaces, plus some fields turn to bogs.

    This is a great ride for people who are not super fit or confident, as no traffic till shoreham, can ride side by side, nothing technical and gives a great sense of achievement. I did it with my dad who is in his 60s overweight and a basic bike, took about our time with pleasant stops, a few beers. Or you can blast it in under 3hrs, it is that smooth a route!

    One really important thing to note: If you are going with a large group say 6 or more, is be prepared for a rude awakening from your pleasant day when you get to the train station. Very much depends how busy the train is and what guard you have, but getting the bikes on can be a challenge and chance of everyone sitting together is nill. Due to the a'holes who removed the perfectly fine cargo carriages in order to squeeze some more over priced seats in. I have often wondered what happens when the London to Brighton runs.
  • Dazza78Dazza78 Posts: 32
    surreyxc
    You've got a good point about the trains...best give this some thought me thinks :wink:
  • amt27amt27 Posts: 320
    How about throwing in a little hill at the end, Truleigh Hill will take you over to Brighton and great views.
  • bike-a-swanbike-a-swan Posts: 1,235
    amt27 wrote:
    How about throwing in a little hill at the end, Truleigh Hill will take you over to Brighton and great views.

    agreed, you can come off either opposite the YHA at the top through freshcombe farm, which'll take you down to Southwick, or carry on past Devils censored and head down the Sussex border path to end up in Brighton.

    If you're going the other way you could always branch off into the North Downs and finish on some of the singletrack round there
    Rock Lobster 853, Trek 1200 and a very old, tired and loved Apollo Javelin.
  • seanoevilseanoevil Posts: 142
    Chaps, anyone know how to get to Martha's Hill from Guildford train station? We want to start from there tomorrow, but struggling to figure out best way to get there? Or is there an alternativve start place near to Guildford?

    Actually, if there is an alternative place, close to Guildford where we can join the Downs link can anyone let us know.

    Cheers.
  • anjsanjs Posts: 486
    You could be the train from Guildford to Shalford or Chilworth and start from there. You wiopuld miss out the hilly/ sandy start that way.
  • seanoevilseanoevil Posts: 142
    anjs wrote:
    You could be the train from Guildford to Shalford or Chilworth and start from there. You wiopuld miss out the hilly/ sandy start that way.

    Yea, my thinking was to avoid the sandy parts...Is the route signposted from Shalford or Chilworth? Any preference at all?

    Was gonna get train into Guildford and go from there, so can train across to either of these 2 stations I guess...
  • anjsanjs Posts: 486
    Take a map but its sign posted where it crosses roads. I would head 1km west up the a248 from Chilworth
  • surreyxcsurreyxc Posts: 293
    The stretch to St Marthas from the Station is odd as it is a very different ride from the rest of the route. More off road, steeper climbs as not on the old railway. Sand is not a problem as the ascent side is fine, it is only the descent which will have a very small stretch of sand. It is not super technical or steep, but very much depends on the ability of your group and their bikes.

    To get there head out of the station and onto the canal, keep going down and when you get to a really sandy slope cross over the footbridge cycle over the playing fields and cross the road and go up the road with speed bumps, then turn left this is the Chantrys then keep going through this to St Marhtas.


    http://veloroutes.org/r/51924

    If you want an easy way to the Downs Link which is more in keeping with the rest of the route in terms of gradient I would go the way on this link. It actually picks more of the old railway than the official route.

    http://veloroutes.org/r/51922

    My mates are doing this tomorrow they want me to go but they are machines, very fast, so if you see someone not smiling and exhausted that will be me.
  • surreyxcsurreyxc Posts: 293
    even though chilworth is just one stop from guildford it would be quicker to cycle, as the trains are not that frequent. I would personally just go for the detour I mentioned, though the view from St Marthas is pretty good, but getting up to it feels a bit sluggish the detour would see you making quick progress into the route.
  • seanoevilseanoevil Posts: 142
    Cheers for the info guys - surreyxc, that second route is more like we are after for cutting out Martha's. Does that then join on to the official route at the end of your plotted journey there?

    Obviously totally inept here at reading maps etc!
  • surreyxcsurreyxc Posts: 293
    yes it runs onto the downs link, then just keep going forward. Hopefully the route I drew was petty clear, but basically from the station get onto the canal and head towards godalming, keep going until you have to cross over a road at shalford, you then go through a field at the end is the foot bridge, cross over the river, keep going to the end cross over the road thats it, then just keep going.
    Most of it is very straight forward, there is one section which takes you over a tunnel and bit on some quiet roads, but the rest is fine.
    Looks like your going to have good weather enjoy.
  • seanoevilseanoevil Posts: 142
    Many thanks again surreyxc - got it all now. Yup, really looking forward to it, lovely weather as you say hopefully!

    Cheers again.
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