CYCLE LEWES - Easy going, traffic free route to Stanmer Park

The entrance to Stanmer Park from the cycle path.

The entrance to Stanmer Park from the cycle path.

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This week’s route follows the cycle path to Stanmer Park, making it a flat, traffic-free ride for all abilities.

It starts halfway down the Brighton Road from the prison, at the exit of Houndean Rise and Montacute Road.

Make sure you take care in getting here, walking your bike on footpaths when you feel uncomfortable. If you’re coming from Winterbourne, then the bridleway connecting the corner shop to Hope-in-the-Valley provides a safe and attractive alternative.

As you start, look for the sights and smells of blackthorn blossom, swathes of oilseed rape and numerous apple trees as you freewheel towards the Kingston roundabout.

Along the A27, stay to the right to be as far away from the traffic as possible. The gentle incline that starts as you pass the Newmarket Inn continues all the way to Falmer, but a low gear will see even the most unfit cyclists making good progress.

Take extra care as you cross the entrance and exit to the petrol station and then keep an eye out for a tap in the flint wall just before the path diverges from the dual carriageway. This is a free drinking water supply provided by Housedean Campsite and is a welcome opportunity to refill your bottles.

The path now joins a small road for 500 metres. Avoid the potholes and continue on past a row of houses until the road runs out and you can return to riding adjacent to the main road. The last climb to Falmer is the steepest part of the path, but some downhill lies just around the corner.

Pass the Swan Inn and rejoin the path as it crosses the entrance to the University of Sussex before plummeting down towards the bus stop.

Continue straight over a path that passes under the A27. This route is to Falmer station – useful if you don’t want to cycle all the way home. Soon, the path runs alongside another minor road before you come to the entrance of Stanmer Park on your right.

From here you can make the most of the open space and explore by bike or on foot. The park contains Stanmer House, a historic church, an orchard and, if you follow the road all the way to the end, an excellent cafe.

Cycle Lewes is a group campaigning for better provision for cycling in and around Lewes. These columns will feature local on- and off-road rides and other cycling news. For more information or should you wish to contribute, please visit cyclelewes.org