County news: Cyclists can take on the South Downs Way for a good cause

Challenging climbs and stunning scenery are guaranteed on a new charity off-road cycling event for Chestnut Tree House, the children's hospice for East and West Sussex and South East Hampshire.

Hit the Downs MTB, takes place on May 7 and offers cyclists the chance to jump on their saddle and take on the South Downs Way on a 20 or 40 mile route while raising unds for Chestnut Tree House.

A popular destination for mountain biking, the South Downs Way is a 100-mile off-road National Trust Trail, running the entire length of the South Downs National Park.

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Kicking off near Worthing, close to Chestnut Tree House, Hit the Downs MTB will test riders with challenging climbs and rapid downhill descents, with two different routes – 20 and 40 miles – enabling cyclists of different experience-levels to take part.

Lucy Bone, events and campaigns fundraiser for Chestnut Tree House said, “We’re really excited to be introducing this new cycling challenge to our 2017 events calendar.

“Hit the Downs MTB allows people to combine their love of cycling with raising money for Chestnut Tree House, helping us to continue to support local children with life-shortening conditions.

“It costs more than £3.5 million each year to provide all our specialist care services for local children, both at the hospice and out in the community across Sussex and South East Hampshire.

“With less than seven per cent of our funding coming from national government, we are almost entirely dependent on the generosity and support of individuals and businesses helping us to the raise funds by taking part in events like this.”