‘The Way’: South Downs National Park end-to-end sportive
The mighty South Downs Way has long been the domain of trail walkers and mountain bikers, but things are about to change.
Our South Downs National Park Sportive – ‘The Way’, is a 113 mile road challenge event through the entire length of the South Downs National Park (SDNP), England’s newest national park, covering 1600km/sq of breathtaking views and hidden gems.
We’ve designed a route that criss-crosses and hugs the iconic chalk ridgeway, as you soak up the stunning backdrop of Hampshire and Sussex and head towards a ‘Riviera’ finish in Eastbourne.
Starting in the historic cathedral city of Winchester, the gateway to the South Downs, ‘The Way’ winds through villages and hamlets and offers a host of new and testing climbs. The first ramp of the day approaches at 11.5miles towards Beacon Hill Nature Reserve swiftly followed at 17.5miles by a proper leg-opener on to the ridge of Old Winchester Hill National Nature Reserve. With glorious views over the Meon Valley, we rapidly descend towards Queen Elizabeth Country Park followed by a 4-mile steady climb into the downland village of South Harting. Make sure you look up… and take in the stunning scenery as we hug the Downs on our way to our first refuelling station in Cocking.
Shortly after we approach the middle of the South Downs National Park – Graffham, Sutton and Bignor beckon. Be sure to look out for the Roman Villa on your left! Then lift the pace as we head towards the lowest point in Amberley and cross the River Arun. Then it’s just 4 miles to Storrington on a fast and straight open road: head down, TT-style. We stay north along the SDNP boundary crossing the A24 and avoiding the busy A-roads, waving goodbye to Steyning and on towards the foot of Ditchling Beacon. With the ridge off to our right, we head south towards the coast and up again into Lewes. Approx 10 miles of rolling descent follows into Seaford for a first glance of white cliffs and waves. Seven Sisters Country Park delivers the penultimate testing climb, finishing off around the chalk headland of Beachy Head and into Eastbourne.
As well as a great day in the saddle that this event offers, we are asking riders taking part to raise sponsorship for our charity partner; Harrison’s Fund, fighting Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Their goal is to get as much money as possible into the hands of the world’s best researchers, who are working hard to find a cure for DMD.