North Downs Way - new GPX route

Riding the North Downs Way is a ride of two halves. Photo: Sam Jones / Cycling UK

North Downs Way - new GPX route

Cycling UK's Riders' Route for the North Downs Way is a largely off-road route which will take you over 150 miles from Farnham in Surrey to Dover in Kent.

Cycling UK led a group of journalists from MBUK, Singletrack and Cycling Weekly on the inaugural trail blazing ride of this route on 28 September 2018, taking part in the celebrations of the North Downs Way 40th anniversary.

The national cycling charity hopes that in time this will eventually be the new cycleable route for the North Downs Way, and we have been working closely with the North Downs Way National Trails to help make this happen. The route you can download below is under constant development as we open up new access opportunities, but what we have below is the legal rideable route which will let you cycle from Farnham to Dover, roughly 150 miles, of which less than 34 miles is on road, and much of that quiet little used lanes. This Riders' Route makes NDW the latest national trail to be made fully cycleable, since the Pennine Bridleway was officially launched in 2012, and means that three out of the 15 (or 16 if including the English coastal path) can be ridden by either bike or horse.

The route takes you through the Surrey and Kent counties, and provides a wide variety of riding that would suit hard tail mountain bikes and gravel bikes. The Surrey half, with its steep climbs and descents, holloways and narrow wooded tracks is probably best suited for a mountain bike, while the less tumultuous landscape, quiet lanes and gravel tracks of Kent have great potential for a blast on your gravel bike. 

The 150 miles can be ridden in one go as a bikepacking adventure, or alternatively Cycling UK has broken the journey down in to three roughly 50 mile stages. Each section has a railway station at both the beginning and end that is serviced with direct trains to London.

Cycling UK's suggested route itinerary over three days going west to east is as following, and each stage can be downloaded below:

  • Farnham to Oxted
  • Oxted to Hollingbourne (two routes: MTB and gravel alternative)
  • Hollingbourne to Dover

The Oxted to Hollingbourne MTB route has now been updated to avoid a short stretch of footpath close to Bayley's Hill. 

Ride reports

GPX route and download 
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Comments

The GPX files seem to go round each leg twice, jumping back to the start halfway through.

Sam Jones's picture

Hi Rick,

Thanks for flagging that - we've popped up some new ones now so hopefully you won't have a problem any more.

All the best,

Sam

We're looking at doing the second half of this on Saturday - mid-winter! Would you say knobblies are needed or would 47c 650b slicks do the job in the main part?

I have just done this over two days. Farnham to Underriver day 1 and then Underriver to Dover day 2. I followed the MTB routes. CUK have done a great job and the route is very good indeed. The sections on the Pilgrims Way are particularly good. There are quite a few tricky navigational sections in forests but that just adds to the adventure!  I did it on a hardtail MTB and was glad to have the suspension and wider tyres. My upper body would have been hammered if on a gravel bike. When we can finally (and legally) ride on some of the wider 'footpath' sections of NDW it will be a special route indeed.