CHANTONBURY TRIP 1

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This is where it all begins....
The beginning is quite easy to find, its just above and to the east of the Rectory park, just off the A27 and up First Avenue (top speed 39.9mph I hasten to add) its the only left hand turn, and you will recognise the above picture. The Green Dots represent approximate photograph points on the map.
The terrain is partly mud, sticky in the winter, superb in the summer though! Watch out for the wet, hard chalk, its a killer! You'll see what I mean ... I have the scars to prove it!

 

The first part is a wide track for car access to the car park, its deeply rutted but its fairly grippy, I've never come off there, the medium gradient gets you warmed up a bit. When it opens out into the car park, you can see quite alot looking to the left, of the golf course, and on the horizon you can see Cissbury Ring. If you carry on through the gate you will encounter chalk on the right, mud on the left (I always stick to the left!), followed by a 4way crossroad. Left takes you to the golf course, going right up the hill takes you to a different route (Cissbury Loop 2) to Charmandean Lane, but straight on (no gradient) takes you through some very pretty woodland. Don't go too near the left though, theres a large hole (like, about 20feet sheer drop) on the left, partially covered by bushes. If its raining or wet, this part is very slippery (As the cameraman soon discovered!!). A little further and you will pass a discreet pathway on the left, you will come out of there later (on the map, its the split). The scenery is equally beautiful as the rock face on the right fades into woodland, and after passing an archway of overhanging trees you emerge into more open space (around the 2 dots after the split, on the map).


With short bushes and barbed wire fencing either side, you approach a steep and particularly interesting part. If its wet, you might not be able to cycle up it, because it is really hard, slimy chalk, with monsterous ruts, Its easy to wheelspin and lose your momentum, and not have the grip or space to get going again without falling into a 12inch rut. Once you get past the steepest bit, it evens out a little, with a series of hard chalk-surfaced sideways slope which can make the bike suddenly wash out from under you. Before a large tree (its quite distinguishable) there is an uphill path coming from the right, which comes off Cissbury Loop 2. You may have noticed that the Cissbury Ring Hill Fort has got alot closer, You just have to carry on ahead along the triple-rutted path, the centre or right is generally the best, and at the end you come across a gate. Straight ahead takes you to the top of Cissbury Ring, Chantonbury Ring route, Nepcote route and also a path that goes off to the east.
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Instead of turning left for Cissbury Loop 1, you keep on going in a northerly direction and you come across another gate, with a rock chained to it to automatically close it. If you pass through the gate you will see the path curving round to the left along the base of the hillfort, along the way there is a bump across the path that you can jump quite nicely, although its chalk all the way down, and in Experiences you can read about an experience I had there with a mate (No dodgy comments please!). Towards the bottom the path breaks away from the foot of the hill and curves round to the right, with grassy alternate routes along to a 4-way crossroad after a final gate. Turning left takes you down a tarmac road (inclusive of potholes) and is probably the steepest road in the local area, I have reached 42.1 Mph down there. Turning right takes you along an eastern route, but we aren't going that way, its forwards for us! You pass through a car park which usually has the burnt remains of stolen cars, the route from here is quite easy, although I take a wrong turn first time! The terrain along the path after the car park is quite easy going, not too steep and kindly crafted by not-too-menacing ruts. A pleasing view along the way until you come to a 3-way junction, a sharp left or a slight right, we take the right bend. Following that a little further brings us to another junction, and you will may have noticed that the terrain gets gravelly, this goes on till the end. At the junction, there is a bend to the left or a bend to the right, and again we take the right one. If you are unlucky you may catch a waft of manure, but it's not too bad, don't worry! This goes in roughly a straight line and the slight uphill gets a little steeper, but only a little. At the top of the hill you encounter a sharp drop which gives you some excitement and momentum and you speed round the next left hand corner, and then an uphill again, thats where the momentum comes in handy! Wavy bumps on the floor compress and de-compress the suspension forks like a pneumatic drill in slow motion. After the short, but reasonably sloped incline you will encounter a cattle grid. Do not worry - you are not a cow! Or a sheep! (Or a llama either) so you will be fine riding over it. There is quite a nice view here as well, if you look behind you, you can see where we have been, the intricate patterns of trees, paths, hills and general beauty of the South Downs. If you look along the path you will notice a steady and fairly steep downhill... excellent! If you start riding again after the cattle grid you go down a short dip and then back up another equally short hill, this is Chantonbury! A gap between the trees to your right (before the path curves to the left) enables you to see a pretty amazing sight, especially if its a clear day. If you get closer to the edge of a hill, the floor dissapears away from you very quickly (when walking, I haven't ridden down ... yet). IF you look across now, you can see for miles.... I estimated about 30 miles because you can see the hills on the horizon around Crawley and Horsham. I must go there sometime... Anyway if you get back to the path and keep going along it, you pass some trees to the right, with some fencing in there for some reason, but after that theres another long range view where you can see really far as well, but I suggest you look where you're going, because sometimes you come across 'bombholes', not where a bomb has been, but theres a crater anyway, they liven up the fun ride even more! One last cattle grid, and you begin "The Downhill" - very fast, very adrenaline inducing, large flint gravel covers your way, and you would probably be cut to shreds if you came off at speed! So don't! I think my average speed is 25mph, thats with some pressure on the rear brake, it so badly burns the pads! At one point fairly early on there is a rut that is quite a nasty one, at a dangerous angle, you have to hit it at the right angle or blattage might be imminent! If you aren't going too fast, you should be ok! A little further down a path veers to the left, but within a few seconds it joins back up so the choice is yours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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