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The South Country

[ Cycle routes The Avenue Verte London <> Paris ]
  • 114.4 km

This section takes you from North Downs to South Downs. After negotiating the M 25 and M 23 motorways, and the surprise of cycling right past Gatwick Airport, you'll cross the charming rolling Sussex Wealden countryside before arriving at the dramatic white cliffs around the cross-Channel port of Newhaven.

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The 7 stages of the section « The South Country »

  • Liaison Newhaven / Brighton

    Liaison Newhaven / Brighton [16.3 km]

    This stage, allowing you to reach Brighton, a gem of a seaside resort on the south coast, offers an additional option to the official Avenue Verte itinerary. A remarkable stretch of concrete path known as the Undercliff Walk, created to fight against erosion in the 1930s, takes you along the base of the cliffs east of Brighton, and helps make this one of the most memorable sections of the whole route.

    Difficulty: Intermediate view the detail
  • Newhaven / Polegate

    Newhaven / Polegate [26.9 km]

    From Polegate you join the Cuckmere Valley, with its protected natural habitat and its pretty historic villages. You do need to go along ordinary roads however. You then arrive at Newhaven, which sits at the estuary of the River Ouse. Either side of the port, you can admire beautiful chalk cliffs that you'll find echoed across the Channel in Normandy.

    Difficulty: Intermediate view the detail
  • Polegate / Heathfield

    Polegate / Heathfield [16.4 km]

    You join the celebrated Cuckoo Trail here, taking a recently renovated stretch of track that follows the former Cuckoo railway line. The route leads you through the pretty countryside of the Wealden district, with old villages and farms that are still operating, but which are still surrounded by fields divided by hedgerows. The Cuckoo Trail is much loved by local people.

    Difficulty: Family view the detail
  • Heathfield / Groombridge

    Heathfield / Groombridge [22.9 km]

    On this stage you're no longer travelling along the disused railway line but instead you take pretty country roads through the High Weald to reach Heathfield to the south. This stretch is particularly enchanting, taking you through a string of typical old villages and past delightful viewpoints across the rolling countryside.

    Difficulty: Intermediate view the detail
  • Groombridge / East-Grinstead

    Groombridge / East-Grinstead [16.6 km]

    From East Grinstead, you join the Forest Way to Groombridge, once again using a disused railway line, but this is no ordinary stretch of greenway following such a line; rather, it feels like a long, unspoilt, wooded park you're traversing. You're going along the Way Valley, with its well-protected natural habitat. You may spot foxes, perhaps even a badger, along the route.

    Difficulty: Family view the detail
  • East-Grinstead / Crawley

    East-Grinstead / Crawley [11.8 km]

    After the New Town of Crawley, which has expanded greatly in recent decades, and having crossed the M 23 motorway, you reach a bucolic, wooded stretch following the Worth Way, which runs along the disused railway line that once linked Crawley to Tunbridge Wells.

    Difficulty: Family view the detail
  • Crawley / Redhill

    Crawley / Redhill [19.8 km]

    You're in for a bit of a cultural shock along this stage, taking you down past Gatwick Airport. A cycle path runs right alongside the airport, leaving a memorable impression on those who use it. Neighbouring Crawley was built as an uncompromising New Town after the war. It's a lively place thanks to its proximity to Gatwick.

    Difficulty: Intermediate view the detail