Riverside tearoom in West Sussex village proves perfect place to start an adventure

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If you are looking for adventure in the stunning scenery of the South Downs National Park, or to just sit and enjoy the views, Riverside South Downs is perfectly placed on the banks of the River Arun.

Easily accessible by train or car, the family-owned business in Houghton offers a warm welcome. Relax by the river and enjoy fabulous food and drink, or get active and explore the surroundings by hiring a mountain bike, e-bike or self-drive boat.

Owner Terry Chapman has recently put together a new package of pub cycling routes, ranging from an easy eight-mile trip to a more challenging 20-mile ride.

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He said: "With the South Downs National Park stretching out in all directions, you can explore miles of spectacular countryside by bike. We use a smart phone mapping app, so directions are clear and simple, incorporating a pub stop for drinks, or lunch.

Outdoor pursuits manager Chris Sales with the self-drive boats available for hireOutdoor pursuits manager Chris Sales with the self-drive boats available for hire
Outdoor pursuits manager Chris Sales with the self-drive boats available for hire

"We have just started doing these pub routes, linking up with other local businesses. We have launched with four destinations, The George at Burpham, The Frankland Arms at Washington, The World's End and The Fox at Patching, and we will add more as we go.

"Often, we have found people arrive having hired bikes but they haven't planned a route and don't know where to go. We got the impression that people preferred it if we provided a goal and a destination.

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"The whole idea of adventure is that you are out there on your own, cycling across the countryside on a network of bridleways, and this gives you the opportunity to do that with support. We are trying to encourage more people to be self-sufficient and more adventurous. We know that when people come back, they have had a fantastic time."

Outdoor pursuits manager Chris Sales with the mountain bikes and e-bikes on offerOutdoor pursuits manager Chris Sales with the mountain bikes and e-bikes on offer
Outdoor pursuits manager Chris Sales with the mountain bikes and e-bikes on offer

There are e-bikes and mountain bikes available to hire, enough for a group of up to 25 adults, or individually.

Riverside South Downs also offers self-drive boat hire for groups of two to eight adults. The boats travel at walking pace, so you can enjoy the stunning Sussex scenery.

Terry said: "Some people come and they are a little stressed but when they come back, they are all relaxed and calm because the scenery is so beautiful. I think you have got to go a long way to beat this."

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The business is based beside Houghton Bridge, an ideal stopping point for walkers, too. Breakfast is served until 12pm and lunch from 12pm to 4pm. Booking is advised. Visit www.riversidesouthdowns.com for more information.

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