Havant to Wiggonholt through the South Downs National Park

Havant to Wiggonholt through the South Downs National Park

Portsmouth CTC

Portsmouth CTC is a member group, it's a friendly club for anyone in Southeast Hampshire or Southwest Sussex who likes cycling. This is one of their favourite regular rides. 

This route is a regular feature in our ride calendar. It’s 64 miles from Havant, through the South Downs National Park to the RSPB reserve at Pullborough Brooks and back. It was winner of our Honfleur trophy awarded for the most enjoyable ride of  2016/17.

The route is the one taken by the ‘faster’ group to the elevenses stop in West Dean.There are several more direct and less hilly routes. One possibility is to branch right before Lordington to Adsdean and Funtingdon; follow the return route through West Stoke and East Lavant then use the Centurion Way to West Dean.

The route starts in Havant following mostly cycle lane along the A259 passing through a cycle tunnel under the A27 before heading out through Emsworth and Westbourne to the countryside. We follow a shallow incline along the valley to Walderton where we turn right towards Stoughton and some more demanding hills through East Marden before a long, fast descent on a good road to Chilgrove. We turn off at the White Horse to tackle some more hillage before descending into West Dean and the West Dean Gardens Café. The café is popular with cyclists and walkers and can accommodate large groups. If you prefer something more intimate, go straight across at the junction with the A286 to West Dean Stores.

To get to Wiggonholt we start out again on the A286 but quickly leave it for a quiet road that runs parallel with the South Downs and past a number of typical South Downs pubs (offering South Downs prices) through Charlton and East Dean. We then do a stretch up Duncton Hill on the A285 (busy, but wide) to be rewarded by a very fast descent on the other side on smooth tarmac. Be ready on the brakes, though because we turn right on a bend before the bottom and it’s not unknown for riders to overshoot! From there it’s a lovely ride through West Sussex villages and countryside on quiet roads all the way to Wiggonholt and the RSPB reserve at Pullborough Brooks.

Here there is a café and places to picnic. The RSPB puts out bird feeders so you can do some bird spotting while you eat. Friendly staff will be happy to talk to you about suitable books and equipment.

We continue through villages and countryside to – arguably – the biggest hill of the day. A long grind up the busy road between Amberley and the junction with the A29. It’s not a difficult hill, but a long one – ultimately rewarding when you manage to reach the top without pushing. We then head to Slindon (base for our annual sleepover helping out the local National Trust) and on to the Aldingbourne Country Centre for tea. The centre supports people with learning disabilities and it’s no hardship to support them by using their café.

With the big hills done, it’s then a leisurely ride back to Havant with the inviting prospect of a final stop for a pint at the bike-friendly Woodmancote pub.

Download GPX file of route 
Level of ride 
Type of bike 
Road bike