Holmbury Hill Ride
Starting Point: Walking Bottom Car Park, GU5 9QW
Length: 8 Km
Holmbury Hill is one of the great sandstone spurs jutting out over the Weald with fabulous views to the South Downs. From the crest – the centre of an Iron Age fort – you can sometimes see the sea in the Shoreham Gap. Look north and you will see the North Downs and London skyscrapers as well. The hill has a number of wide fire roads, some originally racehorse gallops. The tracks are sandstone but the edges are soft, and the going is excellent particularly for winter riding. The area is a centre of mountain biking so watch out for bikes on their network of narrow hilly cycle tracks. Avoid Walking Bottom car park at weekends if possible as it gets very crowded.
- Start at Walking Bottom car park in Peaslake. Turn right onto the road and go into the centre of the village, passing the Hurtwood Inn on your left.
- Pass the War Memorial on your left, cross Ewhurst Road and go up Radnor Road.
- Ride up the hill for about 300yds until you come to a concrete drive on your left signed Spurfold.
- Go up the drive, and then go past the barrier onto the heath. Keep straight on, bearing left.
- When you reach the crossing with the fire road (a very wide straight track) turn right up it and follow it up the hill.
- Shortly afterwards take the wide track on your left. Go straight on down and up a hill.
- At the five-way junction take the second exit (left) and follow this lovely undulating path through the pine forest.
- Keep straight on this long track ignoring a wide cross- roads until you come to a T junction at an oak forest.Turn right down a steep, stony path.
- At the bottom of the valley the track takes you between two ponds before looping up the hill the other side.
- At the top bear right on to the fire road, an old gallops.
- Keep straight on this great wide path for nearly a mile! Ignore all the crossroads and continue climbing the hill until you come to a hill top junction of six paths with a seat. Take the third exit on the left.
- This path winds through the double ditches of the Iron Age Hill fort, bearing slightly left. An information sign is just visible as you approach the top. Watch out for dog walkers and mountain bikes as this is a very busy beauty spot. A steep narrow gully brings you out at the view point.
- Congratulations! You have now conquered Holmbury Hill! Take a breather and admire the stunning views. It’s also a perfect spot for a picnic as it is the mid point of your ride. There is a toposcope to help you interpret the panorama. On a clear day looking south you can see the sea shining in the Shoreham Gap, Gatwick Airport, the South Downs, Leith Hill, Pitch Hill, Hascombe Hill and Blackdown overlooking the Weald. Look north and above the trees you can see London sky scrapers and Canary Wharf.
- With the donation cairn to your left, head north. The very popular mountain bike trail Yoghurt Pots leads off this path on the right so keep an eye out.
- The gently sloping path becomes open and grassy and a track merges from the left. 50 yards further down, make a hairpin turn to your left at the wide crossroads.
- Keep going, ignoring a big crossroads until you come down a slope towards a major junction, with an overgrown reedy pond on the left.
- (If you go straight past the pond, you emerge on Holmbury Hill car park 1, off Radnor Road.)
- To continue the circuit back to Walking Bottom car park, bear right before you hit the pond, and head past the Millennium Pinetum sign.
- This track takes you all the way to the reservoir.
- Follow the path round to the right, hugging the wire fence.
- This widens into a fire road with pines on the left and open heather moorland to the right. Carry on this path ignoring the first small crossroads. Go straight down the hill until you can’t see the distant pines on the horizon any more. At this point you come to an angled crossing, with oak and birch on the left and pines on the right.
- Turn left off the main track up the slope.
- This track takes you back through the barrier to the Spurfold Drive off Radnor Road. The drive is very slippery when dry (ok when wet!) so keep to the extreme right. (If you kept straight on the
fire road down the hill instead of turning left you would come eventually to Mackies Hill, which joins the main road to Peaslake 400yds from the village centre.) From Spurfold turn right onto Radnor Road and ride down into Peaslake Village. Cross the road, keeping the Peaslake sign on your right. Go past the Hurtwood Inn on your right and keep on until you come back to Walking Bottom car park on your left.