Cycling from Guildford

Cycling routes throughout the South East, accessible from Guildford in a day


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If you live in the Guildford area, and like day rides, then this web site is for you. It describes rides which use a combination of car and train to reach the starting point and return home, so that you can go quite far afield. Choose a ride either from the 'tube-style' map below, or the list which follows it. The sequence of rides labelled by letters (A, B, C etc) form a ride around the SE Coast, the rest are numbered in a fairly arbitrary way. Each Route Page gives a detailed map and route description, plus links to GPS downloads and photogalleries. Enjoy!
You use the information on this web site entirely at your own risk!
Whilst I believe all the routes on this website use valid rights of way, the user is responsible for verifying the existence of such rights of way.

Click the route number to go to the route page

Choose a ride from the list:

Route 1: Cycle Guildford to London via the Wey and Thames towpaths
Follow the Wey Navigation towpath to Weybridge, then the Thames towpath to Ham. Here, the route cuts the long bend in the Thames, making a pleasant shortcut through Richmond Park to Putney. Here, cross the Thames and make your way through Chelsea to Kensington Gardens, whence follow the 'green route' through London's parks, past Buckingham Palace to Waterloo Station, for your train back to Guildford.
Route 2: Cycle Greenwich to Guildford via NCN21 & the N Downs
Take the train to Greenwich via Waterloo East, then follow NCN5 through the diverse suburbs of SE London such as Lewisham and Catford. Play hide and seek with the Croydon Tramway before emerging via leafier suburbs over the Downs to Redhill. Then via Box Hill and Ranmore Common to join the North Downs trackway back to Guildford at Newlands Corner.
Route 3: Cycle Guildford to Brighton via the Downs Link
A must for any self respecting Guildford cyclist, and surely one of the nicest railway trails in the country, crossing varied scenery to the sea at Shoreham. Then follow the cycle paths along the sea front to Brighton station, to return home via Gatwick.
Route 4: Cycle Guildford to the sea at Littlehampton
The nearest sea to Guildford. Branch off the Downs Link near Cranleigh and cut across on mainly quiet roads and a short stretch of bridleway. Stop for tea at Houghton Bridge, then on a high track over the Downs before the final slog past Ford Open Prison to the coast.
Route 5A: Cycle Guildford to Portsmouth over the South Downs and Hayling Island
A bit of an epic. Downs link to Bramley, then via Gospel Green to reach the 'foothills' of the South Downs. Cross the Downs near Harting. Considerable ups and downs then take you to Havant. Here you join the Hayling Billy trail (disused railway) and follow the eastern edge of Langstone Harbour, cross the harbour mouth to Eastney, then follow the sea front to Portsmouth Harbour Station.
Route 5B: Cycle Guildford to Portsmouth via Farnham and Liss
An alternative to Route 5A, with more off-road, namely the Christmas Pie Trail, Alice Holt Forest, the disused Military Railway across the Longmoor training ranges, and the Sussex Border Path over the South Downs. The finish is the same as Route 5A, ie the Hayling Billy trail (disused railway) along the eastern edge of Langstone Harbour, cross the harbour mouth by ferry to Eastney, then follow the sea front to Portsmouth Harbour Station.
Route 6: Cycle Guildford to Reading via the Basingstoke Canal
This route uses the quiet Christmas Pie Trail, then the Blackwater Valley path to link up with the Basingstoke canal towpath. This takes you to …well, Basingstoke, then it's cross country past Silchester Roman Town to Reading, from which there is a regular train service back to Guildford.
Route 7: Cycle Reading to Guildford via the Thames Valley and Wey Navigation towpath
If Route 6 didn't satisfy your craving to visit Reading, try this one as well. Train to Reading, then take the Thames valley Cycle Route, including some unexpectedly nice cross country, to Shepperton, where you cross the Thames on the ferry to pick up the Wey Navigation.
Route 8A: Cycle Reading to Oxford via the Thames Valley Cycle Route
Train to Reading again for this ride along the Thames Valley, over the Chilterns to the Dreaming Spires.On both this and Route 8B, it is worth deviating to take in the views from the Wittenham Clumps.
Route 8B: Cycle Reading to Oxford via off road tracks
An alternative to Route 8A, this time following tracks close to the Thames through attractive riverside villages and the towns of Goring and Wallingford to reach Dorchester, with its historic Abbey. Then follow the course of a Roman Road to the outskirts of Oxford, and the Thames path into the city.
Route 9: Cycle Reading to Bristol by the Kennet and Avon Cycleway
Take the train to Reading, then follow the peaceful K&A towpath. An on-road diversion on NCN4 via Pewsey to Devizes provides some variety. There is much of interest when the K&A is rejoined (eg the flight of locks at Devizes, and beautiful Bradford on Avon) before the cycleway ends in Bath. Just when the canal route runs out, wouldn't you know a disused railway comes to your rescue, providing a veritable cyclists 'motorway' into Bristol.
Route 10A: Cycle South Downs Way A: Winchester to Petersfield
I divide this epic trail into four bite sized chunks, called 10A, 10B, 10C and, now lets think....10D. Part A is the most westerly stretch and includes Butser Hill.
Route 10B: Cycle South Downs Way B: Petersfield to Amberley
Part B of the SDW starts from Petersfield and climbs to the car park on the Downs above Buriton. Pack some sandwiches, and make sure you get to the finish in time for tea in the Houghton Bridge Tea Room. Get the train back to Guildford from Amberley Station via Havant.
Route 10C: Cycle South Downs Way C: Amberley to Ditchling Beacon
Part C of the SDW includes Chanctonbury Ring, the Devil's Dyke (good for a pub stop) and Jack and Jill windmills. From Ditchling Beacon, descend to Hassocks for the train back to Amberley.
Route 10D: Cycle South Downs Way D: Ditchling Beacon to Beachy Head
Part D of the SDW is the best, in my opinion, with open downland. It's also the longest. A high road above the Ouse Valley and Firle Beacon give panoramic views all round. Alfriston for lunch, Jevington for tea before the final push to Beachy Head. Get the train back from Eastbourne to your car parked at Falmer.
Route 11: Cycle Gatwick to Eastbourne via NCN21 & the Cuckoo Trail
Cross the High Weald on NCN21, before joining the Cuckoo Trail to Eastbourne (along a pleasant disused railway).
Route 12: Cycle the Ridgeway: Swindon to Goring
Head West on the train to Swindon, then climb to the Ridgeway at Barbury Castle. This ride along the ancient trackway takes in 4 hill forts, a bronze age burial chamber and the iconic White Horse of Uffington.Ends at the Thameside town of Goring.
Route 14: Cycle the North Downs: Rochester to Guildford
This tough ride attempts to follow the North Downs using the Pilgrim's Way and/or North Downs Way where possible (which isn't often). There is some pleasant countryside, several great view points, the London 2012 zig-zags at Box Hill and a dose of motorway madness - you cross the M2, M20, M25 (twice) and M23.
Route A: Cycle London to Rochester via the Thames towpath
Take the train to Waterloo and set off along NCN4 to Greenwich, then pick up the NCN1, which passes through Woolwich, across Dartford Marshes eventually reaching Gravesend. Then cut across country to historic Rochester. Return on the train via Waterloo East.
Route B: Cycle Herne Bay to Rochester
Along the Oyster Bay Trail to Whitstable, then across the Swale Marshes via the attractive town of Faversham, finishing on the Saxon Shore Way beside the Medway estuary.
Route C: Cycle North East Kent Coast via the Viking Trail: Cycle Herne Bay to Dover
A seaside ride right round the faded glories of the North Kent resorts Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate. Then onward through historic Sandwich, and along the coast through Deal, before a stretching climb over the St Margaret's Downs, rewarded by a fast decent into Dover. Views of France on a clear day. Start by driving to Bekesbourne station, and get the train back to there form Dover.
Route D: South Kent and East Sussex Coast: Cycle Dover to Rye
Continuing the coastal circuit, this stretch follows NCN2 as far as Dymchurch. Samphire Hoe at Dover and the Battle of Britain memorial at Capel-le-Ferne are interesting diversions. Then the sea wall provides excellent cycling to Littlestone. At low tide it's possible to cycle along the enormous sandy beach. From Dungeness, ride across the desolate shingle plain to rejoin the sea wall near Camber Sands, to finish at historic Rye. Park at Ashford rail station.
Route E: East Sussex Coast: Cycle Eastbourne to Rye
Starting in 1066 country, visit Pevensey Castle, the art deco De La Ware pavilion in Bexhill and the old Hastings fishing quarter, before crossing the Pett Levels to arrive in Rye via the equally ancient town of Winchelsea.
Route F: Cycle Brighton to Eastbourne
Start with the option of clifftop or undercliff paths. Cross the Greenwich meridian at Peacehaven. Visit the tide mill at Bishopstone. View the inevitable marina at Newhaven. The finale is the climb to Beachy Head.Combining my route to Brighton using the Downs Link, with the stretch of this route from Brighton to Newhaven ferry port provides the ideal jumping off point for Donald Hirsch’s route to Paris from Dieppe.
Route G: Cycle Brighton to Chichester on the beach
From Brighton to Ferring, west of Worthing, there is a good, mainly traffic-free, cycle path along the sea front. West of Ferring, at low tide, an extensive and unexpectedly sandy beach is revealed which provides reasonable riding to Pagham. Be warned that inevitably your bike will get a good pasting with sand and salt and will need a good clean: don’t blame me for any ill effects! From Pagham, the route includes the towpath of the old Chichester ship canal.
Route H: Cycle Selsey to the Witterings & Salterns Way
This ride is accomplished as a circular via Chichester from the nature reserve visitor centre at Sidlesham. It includes the cycle paths recently opened as part of the Medmerry project to protect the low lying land between Selsey and the Witterings, the delightful Salterns Way cycle route skirting Chichester Harbour, and regional cycle route 88 from Chichester back to the start via the Chichester canal.
Route I: Cycle Six Ferries ride around the Solent
The challenge is to make a circuit of the Solent in one day, using six ferries. There is a nautical theme, embracing historic and moderrn warships in Portsmouth Harbour, yachts on the Hamble, liners on Southampton Water, the old shipbuilding town of Bucklers Hard and the yachties paradise, Cowes. The ride includes some pleasant backroads on the Isle of Wight.
Route J: Ferry Good: Cycle Southampton to Portsmouth
Cross the Itchen on a bridge, the Hamble on a small (alarmingly pink) boat and Portsmouth Harbour mouth on the Gosport Ferry.
Route K: New Forest: Cycle Southampton to Bournemouth
Cross Southampton Water on the Hythe ferry, then follow NCR2 through the peaceful New Forest. Cross Christchurch Harbour mouth on the ferry from Mudeford to Hengistbury Head then finish along Bournemouth promenade (September to June only).
Route L: Purbeck Challenge: Cycle Bournemouth to Weymouth
Take Bournemouth seafront promenade to the Sandbanks ferry. Traverse the Purbeck Hills via Corfe Castle and the Lulworth Range roads, before joining the coastal track above the Jurassic Coast to Ringstead Bay and climbing to the dramatic White Horse escarpment behind Weymouth. Finish along the promenade beside Weymouth Bay.
Route N1: A Wapping great ride: Cycle London to Purfleet
Who says we don't go North of the Thames? Byways of Wapping, Canary Wharf, a Cycle Superhighway, and the RSPB Reserve at Rainham Marshes.
Route N2: The Only Way to Essex: Cycle Purfleet to Southend
This unusual ride explores London's 'tradesman's entrance', using a little known path along the North bank of the Thames Estuary passing under the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge. The 'Two Forts Way' beyond the busy port of Tilbury joins two forts, funnily enough: Tudor Tilbury Fort and Victorian Coalhouse Fort. A path beside the Benfleet Creek provides a quiet approach to bustling Southend-On-Sea. NB requires manhandling your bike over various obstacles.
Pennine Cycleway (North): Cycle The Northern Pennines: Leeds to Berwick-upon-Tweed
An excursion oop North. Take the train to Leeds, and cycle along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal to join the Pennine Cycleway at Gargrave. Then proceed up hill and down dale through some of England's most rugged scenery, and visit two World Heritage Sites on the way (Saltaire and Hadrian's Wall).
Dieppe to Paris by the Donald Hirsch Route
Take the ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe for a three day excursion to Paris.
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