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The Downs Link is a waymarked route open to walkers, horseriders and cyclists, linking the North Downs Way at St Martha's Hill, Surrey with the South Downs Way near Steyning, West Sussex via a disused railway line.
To read and print the trail leaflet that West Sussex County Council has produced please click here. For an overview map of the route please click here. For a six stage route guide please click here.
Assuming a constant pace and no stops, typically it will take 4 hours 33 minutes to cycle the distance and along the way 1927 calories will be burnt.
Bird's Eye View
Scott HeyhoeFri 24 Aug 2018, 14:53
I do agree in part with the comments about the first section from St Martha's Church. I race bicycles on- and off-road to a high standard, and that first section is challenging. It can be ridden carefully and safely on a mountain bike if it is dry however. It's also quite a short section, so don't be put off. If all else fails, walk down. After that, the next section is a lovely piece of single track, that is a mixture of sand and soil. Again, in the dry, this is a beautiful ride. In the wet, it can be a bit muddy in places, but nothing too onerous. Once that track crosses the canal at Bramley, it is almost pancake flat and straight all the way to the sea. There are two well-documented diversions from this due to land ownership. First (heading South) is a short climb and lovely sweeping descent through a wood. The second is where you need to pick up the road for a while. Good luck trying to ride back up to St Martha's - I find that difficult but massively rewarding. So, if you're what is sometimes called an "intermediate" rider, then this full route is rideable and rewarding - doable to Shoreham and back in a day. For a less technical ride, pick the trail up where it crosses the canal at Bramley. I'm planning on taking my kids along there on Monday (1 year old on the back of my bike; four others from 11 to 14); probably park up at East Grinstead and ride to Shoreham and back. Hope that helps.
JaneSun 10 Jun 2018, 16:45
I completely agree with John’s comment below. We cycled the first part of the route from St Martha’s Hill and I can say that that part is most definitely not suitable for cycling unless you are super skilled mountain biker and have the right equipment. A long stretch of very sandy track resulted in an accident for me. Walking the bike down one foot wide stony/sandy/roots path is no joy either. I think it is ouright irresponsible to call it a cycling path. Beautiful for walking, this is sure.
Bill HurleyTue 27 Mar 2018, 10:25
I have ridden this path many times.This is an excellent and undemanding route for all level of Cyclists. I encourage all to walk/cycle this lovely route. The above comment is factually incorrect and I suggest all to disregard it. Regards “HAPPY RIDING AND WALKING ON A SHARED RESOURCE”
Paul Jonsson (Woking, Surrey)Sat 14 Oct 2017, 04:22
Many thanks for this very useful resource! It was very handy for my Woking base and so I walked it in April 2017 and recommend it. It's easy to navigate of course as it follows a rail route! Also quite easy walking with gradual gradients as you would expect. The only down-side for walkers is the start point of St Martha's hill is not accessible from public transport so I had to get an (expensive!) taxi there for an early morning start, I hope to do it again in 2018.
John KedgeFri 6 Oct 2017, 17:44
This path is definitely NOT suitable for cyclists. Even Olympic mountain bikers would be challenged. Please remove 'cyclists' from the description. For a cycle path start somewhere on the disused railway line that starts from Guildford.