L anes around Barcombe (15 miles, 1 – 2hrs round trip). Difficulty: *****
The lanes around Sussex are perfect for quiet rides and scenic views. By avoiding the worst of the South Downs, this short ride is a good introduction to the fantastic riding around Lewes.
Head out of Lewes on the A275, passing between the road leading up to the Racecourse and Wallands School. Less confident cyclists can start where Nevill Road meets the Offham Road at the bottom of the hill and carefully cycle – giving way to pedestrians – on the path. In Offham, turn right and descend past the church. Once over the railway crossing, follow the road round 90 degree left and right turns and head on towards Barcombe.
After a mile, head right to avoid the climb in front of you and you’ll soon pass a picturesque church on your right. Follow the road for a mile and a half until a T junction with Barcombe Mills Road. Turn left and head into Barcombe Cross, where last minute supplies can be bought at the village shop.
Turn right at the mini-roundabout and head downhill out of the village. The Anchor Inn is signposted from this road and makes for a scenic out-and-back detour, complete with pub and boat hire.
Continue heading north, following the main road through the unsigned village of Spithurst. The hills begin to gain a bit of extra height from here, but the roads are well surfaced and the gradients not too steep.
Follow signs to the Newick Park Hotel. This marks the halfway point of the ride. Soon afterwards, you will see Ridgelands Lane on your left.
Head down here, taking care through a left-hand turn over a narrow bridge at the bottom of the hill. After just over a mile, take another left along Town Litteworth Road and head past a number of farm shops before reaching Deadmantree Hill.
If you don’t want to ride along the busy A275, follow signs at the foot of the hill back towards Barcombe and retrace your steps once you reach the centre of the village.
Otherwise, continue up and over the hill until you reach the Rainbow Inn. From here, join the A275, through Cooksbridge (the train station is an alternative starting point for this ride) and carry on home. The final hill into Lewes is a final test to make sure you know you’ve had your day’s exercise!
Cycle Lewes is a group campaigning for better provision for cycling around Lewes.
These columns will feature local on- and off-road rides and other cycling news. For more information, a map of this ride, or should you wish to contribute, please visit cyclelewes.org.