The Downs Link a traffic-free route from Guildford to the seaside

Ride level Beginner cyclist
Distance 37 mi / 60 km
Type of bicycle Any
Traffic free
Circular route

Victoria Hazael is the Website Editor at Cycling UK, she loves cycling to the beach with her children, this is her favourite traffic-free route. 

The Downs Link is an old railway path that goes from Guildford to Shoreham by Sea. The route can be easily broken up in to sections for smaller children who would like to ride to the seaside in 7-10 mile bite sized chunks. 

It's relatively flat but there are some steeper sections - after Baynards Station (disused, obviously) there's a bit of a climb and a steep descent around a disused tunnel, and there's a little bit more climbing on a stony track once you get to the South Downs just before Bamber.  Ideally ride it north to south as it's a gradual descent towards the coast from the North Downs.

The surface is mostly pretty good but it can get a bit muddy in the winter. 

Do not attempt the first section of the route with very small children, as the descent from St Martha's is steep, instead make your way from Guildford town centre along the River Wey Navigation path and join the Down's Link via Broadford Bridge Road. There's also a short road link just before Christ's Hospital School on the outskirts of Horsham as this section of track has not been converted to cycle path for some reason.

The path is the perfect family route, it is easily ridden with a baby in a child seat, children in a trailer or using a tag-a-long or tandem. 

There's not many places to stop for refreshments on the route itself but the Milk Churn at Rudgwick is just off it (look for the signs) and Stan's Bike Shack near Partridge Green actually on it is the ideal place for a reviving coffee or hot chocolate and snack. It's not far from there until you see the South Downs proper in the distance and the scenery changes from tree-lined track to more open vistas. 

Although it is very close to the end of the route, The Hummingbird Restaurant in the art deco building at Brighton Airport is a great place to eat with kids and watch the planes and helicopters.