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Brighton Bound

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Level: Red – Challenging

Gravel/CX/MTB | GPX Bike packing Route | Cycle paths & trails | 115km/71miles

If you are ever going to ride from London to the seaside, somehow, Brighton is THE destination. Here’s an off-road version that runs through East Grinstead, across the Ashdown Forest and on the South Downs.

It’s perfectly possible for experienced gravel riders to ride this in a day, however, taken at a leisurely pace, the route makes an easy-going weekend adventure.

Ride Description

Starting at Clapham Junction Station the route makes a bee line for the countryside, crossing Clapham and Tooting Commons before finally leaving the roads at Mitcham.

Riding up the Wandle Valley, past the ponds at Carshalton the ride gradually climbs towards Happy Valley and the ridge of the North Downs, on a fine day it’s possible to see the faint grey outline of the South Downs oh so far away.

It’s pretty much off road all the way to East Grinstead, the routes halfway point and a good place to stop if you’re planning to make a weekend of the ride. It’s possible to ride on the Bluebell Railway from here and pick the route back up again at Horsted Keynes.

Sadly those in charge of Ashdown Forest don’t like cyclists, the place is festooned with nasty little no cycling signs, so alas, you’re constrained to the road through here.

Fear not – you’re shortly back on trails and country lanes as the route meanders through the High Weald, enjoy the easy riding, the challenge of the South Downs is gradually drawing closer.

From Wivelsfield the route’s character changes, you’re on flinty trails now for most of the rest of the ride. It’s a steady climb out of the woods to the ridge of the South Downs. If the weather is fine, it’s big skies landscape across the chalk open lands, it’s hard to believe that you are in the densely populated southeast of England. The route gradually descends to the sea level at Rottingdean, before joining NCR 2 as it runs along the foreshore into Brighton.

Start and End Points 

Start: Clapham Junction

Finish: Brighton Station

Ride Details 


  • Distance: 115km | 71 miles
  • Climb: 1750m | 4730 ft 
  • Percentage off-road: 60%
  • Trail surface: Natural |Gravel |Woodland Single Track | Cycle path
  • Mudometer:  medium with some muddy patches in wet weather
Places to visit

36 miles:          East Grinstead and the Bluebell Railway  

Places to eat 

36 miles:          

Places to stay

Loads of hotels and accommodation in East Grinstead

Is this ride for me? 

Ideal for riders with some off-road experience and reasonable fitness. Fitter, more experienced riders can complete this route in a day.

Is my bike OK for this ride? 

Recommend using a MTB or other Gravel/CX bike.

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