Downs and Weald and return

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Posts: 1
Joined: 22 Jul 2018, 5:02pm

Downs and Weald and return

Postby Elahe » 22 Jul 2018, 5:20pm

I am planning to cycle from London to Hastings and back to London during the last weeks of August. And I've read that "From Crawley, the route splits: National Route 20 takes you straight down to Brighton from where you join National Route 2 heading along the coast to Eastbourne, while National Route 21 takes you east to East Groombridge on the traffic-free Worth Way and Forest Way.
From here the route turns southwards, joining the Cuckoo Trail at Heathfield on a virtually unbroken traffic-free route to Eastbourne. From Eastbourne, the route follows the coast to Hastings on National Route 2."
It's my first time in the UK and I don't quite know what type of weather and landscape and ride is expecting me. So I was wondering if you can help me decide
1. Is it a good idea to cycle my way back from Hastings to London? Is it too hilly or boring or few cycling routes?
2. Which road do you suggest I take at the split in Crrawley?
3. What is the best route to do?


Posts: 282
Joined: 29 Apr 2008, 10:56am
Location: West Sussex

Re: Downs and Weald and return

Postby matt_twam_asi » 22 Jul 2018, 9:23pm

1) Either route will give you some nice villages to cycle through and moderate terrain. As a general rule of thumb East Sussex is a smidge hillier than West Sussex, especially the Weald area.

2 & 3) I'd avoid Crawley altogether unless you want to use it for cheap accommodation. It's a post-war town which very little of interest for tourists. Redhill & Horley aren't much better. Stick to the countryside.

I'd pick route 21 over route 20 unless you want to visit Brighton (and it is definitely worth visiting). NCN21 uses mainly well surfaced off-road paths along the route of a few old railway lines that were axed by Dr Beeching. NCN20 is cobbled together and roughly follows the A23, although most parts are okay. Don't bother with the section through Tilgate Forest though - find an on road route to Handcross and continue south from there.

Suggested route for NCN21:
Suggested route for NCN20: