Route Info

The information given here relates to the South Downs Way 'Riders Route', which is somewhat different to the walkers route (which uses footpaths in some places rather than bridleway, particular towards to the ends of the route). Note that (as of May 2009) the route around Warnford is the subject of a lengthy dispute - there is a 'new temporary route' in place in that area, however the 'classic' AKA 'old temporary' route as listed here is considerably faster and remains 100% legal.

On the interactive map above, use the zoom control at left to move in and out, and the pan controls or the mouse to move around on the map. Click "Map", "Satellite" or "Hybrid" to change the views. The route of the South Downs way is displays as a thick red line (NOTE: if the map doesn't appear or doesn't appear correctly, please try using a later web browser, or try clicking the "Map" button if it appears).

GPS route info is available in both .GPX (preferred) and .MMO (Memory Map) formats. At present (2008) many GPS units do not have sufficient memory to accomodate the whole route in one go, so it is available both as a single file and split into a number of shorter sections (n.b. Garmin eTrex users should be able to load all the sections at once).

Note that the full route is less detailed than the combination of the separate routes, so if you're really after the fine detail go for the separate routes.

The route information has been carefully compared against GPS tracklogs from actually riding the route, and as a result may differ from the OS maps (which themselves differ between the 1:25K and 1:50K). As ever, the route info presented here is simply an aid - if in doubt, use your judgement and follow the signs on the trail itself.

  Start and End points
  Lat/Lon. Grid Ref.
King Alfred Statue 51.06123 -1.30912SU 48513 29327
SDW Signboard 50.76151 0.26432TV 59792 98213

GPX MMO Winchester to Petersfield
GPX MMO Petersfield to Cocking
GPX MMO Cocking to Amberley
GPX MMO Cocking to Amberley to Pyecombe (A23)
GPX MMO Pyecombe (A23) to Southease
GPX MMO Southease to Eastbourne

Gates - how many are there? Mike Cotty counted 95 one-way in May 2008. It's an approximate figure as some gates are only in use at certain times of the year, taking it as an average one gate per mile is about right. They aren't evenly spread, however - some long sections are completely gate free, and some sections it's barely worth getting back on the bike between them.

Route profile There are few sections that are level - generally it's always going up or down. All the climbs are rideable but some are pretty stiff. It's worth remembering the rivers are always close to sea level, and the major roads go through handy gaps - so when you cross one, you'll know you've got some climbing ahead! The Eastbourne half has fewer but longer climbs compared to the Winchester half - however the total climbing isn't that different either side.

Public taps for use on 'Alpine' rides. Clicking on the tap location displays its location in Google maps (be aware that Google maps satellite pictures are not exact, so use the description to locate the tap). You can also download a file containing this information for use with GPS.

Tap location Grid ref. Winchester Eastbourne Notes
Cocking SU878166 35 miles65 miles Tap is on stone pillar with steps beside farm building where SDW joins surfaced road to Hill Barn farm 400m east of A286
Amberley TQ024125 47 miles53 miles New tap and trough easily visible on SDW, approx. 500m west of B2139. Frequently sabotaged, but known operational as of end July 2011.
Washington TQ118120 54 miles46 miles Tap is set slightly back from trail on south side of tarmac drive to A24, opposite the houses there. Easy to spot on left when heading west, however when heading east easy to overshoot due to downhill.
Botolphs TQ197093 61 miles39 miles On west side of A283 - tap is on trough under trees where trail turns the corner to the bridge. Tap broken since Oct 2010 (still broken as of August 2011)
Truleigh Hill TQ223106 63 miles37 miles Tap is on wall on left when facing the entrance of the YHA.
Saddlescombe TQ272115 67 miles33 miles Tap is attached to old building on south side of open area in middle of Saddlescombe - quite hard to spot.
Housedean Farm TQ369093 77 miles23 miles Tap is on the wall on north side of A27, where the pavement meets the slip road
Southease Church TQ423053 84 miles16 miles Tap on church wall approx. 50m south of SDW, of west side of small triangular green. Reported operational by James Lee on Oct 13th 2010.
Southease TQ433056 85 miles15 miles Tap is at low-level on trough just outside Kington Cottage 50m west of A26. Note this is slightly off the SDW now it has been rerouted via bridge over A26. Additionally there is a new tap on the farm wall on the SDW itself but this is not currently operational.
Jevington Church TQ561015 96 miles4 miles Tap is on path leading to church entrance, 100m west of Jevington Road.
Tap list last reviewed 28th August 2011

Lists of route lengths/timing for the SDW.

Route distances, timing (based on 10mph average) and water availability

    Place       Distance  Time    Water
 Winchester         0.0   0:00  Shop or garage (n.b. there are toilets in the park by the statue)
 Warnford          12.6   1:15  -
 HMS Mercury       18.3   1:50  -
 QECP              22.2   2:12  Cafe or shop
 Beacon Hill       29.5   2:57  -
 Cocking           35.0   3:30  Public tap
 Littleton(A285)   40.6   4:04  -
 Amberley          47.0   4:42  Public tap (Frequently sabotaged, working 28 May 2009)
 Washington        53.8   5:23  Public tap
 Botolphs          60.9   6:05  Public tap
 Truleigh Hill     62.9   6:17  Public tap (by door of YHA building, also public toilet)
 Saddlescombe      66.9   6:41  Public tap
 Ditchling Beacon  71.8   7:11  Bottled water from Ice Cream van (when there)
 A27               77.0   7:42  Public tap (also 24hr garage 400yds east)
 Southease Church  84.0   8:25  Public tap (reported operational May 2009) outside church on west side of river
 Southease A26     84.6   8:27  Public tap (new tap not working, use tap on trough 100yds east 11-May-2008)
 Alfriston         92.4   9:14  Shop/Post Office/Tearoom
 Jevington         96.4   9:38  Public tap (on path leading to church, west side of road)
 Eastbourne       100.0   10:00 Shop or garage

Additional taps:-
 Jevington - tap in tearoom gardens (private but accessible)
 QECP - Tap at back, also toilets (do not rely on access outside normal hours)
 Between Cocking and Winchester it *may* be possible to use taps/hose pipes in paddocks - be discreet!
 A number of pubs also have outside taps

SDW Route length (from Winchester Town Centre)

       Waypoint     Trip   Total
      Winchester     0.0     0.0
   Warnford (A32)   13.4    13.4
               A3   10.8    24.2
             A286   13.0    37.3
             A285    5.6    42.9
    Amberley Stn.    6.7    49.6
              A24    7.1    56.6
             A283    6.7    63.4
              A23    7.5    70.8
              A27    8.9    79.8
              A26    6.7    86.5
        Alfriston    7.1    93.5
       Eastbourne    7.5   101.0

Ascent calculations (based on NN 2007 ride)

            Miles     Ascent   Avg. Ascent/mile
Win to Pet      21.6    2223    103
Pet to Cok      12.8    1891    148
Cok to Amb      11.6    1584    137
Amb to Pye      20.1    2808    140     
Pye to Soe      14.5    2054    142
SoE to EaB      14.7    2138    145
                95.3    12,700 (n.b. this is *one way*, so twice this for the Double)

Rendezvous positions (where SDW crosses a convenient road)

     Waypoint     Trip   Total  Time    MA        Lat/Lon         Location
     Winchester    0.0     0.0  0:00    MA0     51.0608 -1.3072 Statue
    Exton (A32)   13.4    13.4  1:19    MA13    51.0041 -1.1108 Pub on Road
             A3   10.8    24.2  2:23    MA24    50.9612 -0.9785 QECP Car park
           A286   13.0    37.3  3:41    MA37    50.9434 -0.7593 SDW/Road crossing
           A285    5.6    42.9  4:14    MA43    50.9220 -0.6487 SDW/Road crossing
      Amberley     6.7    49.6  4:54    MA50    50.9006 -0.5403 SDW Minor road/A Road junction
            A24    7.1    56.6  5:36    MA57    50.8949 -0.4092 SDW Car park East of A24 (up minor road)
           A283    6.7    63.4  6:16    MA63    50.8711 -0.2996 Layby alongside A283
            A23    7.5    70.8  7:00    MA71    50.8990 -0.1656 SDW on minor road East side of A23
            A27    8.9    79.8  7:53    MA80    50.8665 -0.0559 North side of A27 on minor road
            A26    6.7    86.5  8:33    MA86    50.8319  0.03411 Farm Entrance west side of A road
      Alfriston    7.1    93.5  9:15    MA93    50.8075  0.1566 Island outside PO
     Eastbourne    7.5   101.0 10:00    MA100   50.7599  0.26191 Paradise Way/Dr signboard