MTB Ride Level 6


21 miles

Ride Type




1,620 ft

Birling Gap Bash

£95.00 inc. VAT

(3 customer reviews)

This loop delivers a superb mixture of cross-country cycling with a delicious cake stop at the stunning Birling Gap cafe. The gateway to the world-famous Seven Sisters Country Park.

This ride is only available as a custom experience. If you are staying at the Saltmarsh Farmhouse or just want to book this as a bespoke ride, then click here.

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Our series of guided rides on the South Downs would not be complete without our classic and original mountain bike ride that consists of rolling and undulating trails towards panoramic cliff top sea views before endless descents. Starting at the far eastern end of the national park this cracking ride is all about showing-off what the South Downs does best!

This is one of our favourite guided rides on the South Downs and has the perfect recipe for a superb day out. This loop delivers a superb mixture of cross-country cycling with a delicious cake stop at the stunning Birling Gap cafe, all before finishing with the all important post ride pint in the Plough and Harrow in the quintessential village of Litlington.

What to expect

You will need to have a good level of fitness to be able to enjoy this day out. So although this is an intro to mountain biking, it is suited for active people who are looking to try off-road cycling under the expert leadership of a professional guide. The riding is mainly on cross-country double track and open downland. The terrain is not overly technical. but it provides an exciting mixture to inject plenty of fun and a sense of challenge for all levels, especially novice mountain bikers.

If you are still not sure whether this ride is for you, then please do not hesitate to contact us by clicking here.

The area and the trails

Our ride location and route is set within Friston Forest and the ancient downland on the edge of the Seven Sisters Country Park that encompasses the famous Cuckmere Haven, where the River Cuckmere meets the sea.

How to get here

By train – The nearest station is Seaford which provides easy connections from London and across the south east. It’s then only a short 15 minute pedal to our meet location – though there is a hill to get you warmed up!

By road – The coastal A259 runs right past Cuckmere Cycle Company and to the north the A27, via Alfriston, provides further easy links to this rural setting.

Riding with Marmalade

We pride ourselves on creating the perfect vibe that makes everyone feel comfortable and confident to maximise your enjoyment during your ride with us. Combine this super fun and relaxed atmosphere with our expert knowledge and professionalism we will guarantee you the best day out on your bike to discover the trails of the South Downs National Park.

Bike hire

We work closely with our friends at Cuckmere Cycle Co. who can provide a range of modern mountain bikes. These also include eBikes for those wanting that little extra help from the electrical assist. You can book your bikes direct on this page once you have booked your guided ride with here.

  • Duration: 3-5 hours
  • Distance: 21 miles (approx.)
  • Elevation gain: 1,620 ft (approx.)
  • Technical Grade: Advanced Novice
    (any questions, please contact us)
  • Meet time: 8.30 am | 9.00 am on bikes
  • Meet point: Friston Forest car park, East Sussex
  • Group size: 8 (max.)
  • You will be at least an Advanced Novice mountain biker
  • You will be confident in mountain bike handling skills on blue graded trails and proficient with operating your bicycle in the correct manner
  • The trails will include features such as roots, small to long rollable drop-offs and loose rocks. All of which are rollable
  • Certain trails will be steep in places which will require confident bike-handling skills
  • All the trails will have options to ride around features that you do not feel comfortable riding
  • You have your own suitable mountain bike (Hybrid and budget bicycles are not suitable for this ride)
  • The ride does contain many undulating and moderately steep long climbs
  • You have the personal fitness to ride for at least 3-5 hours at a social and comfortable pace
  • You are aged 18 and over unless accompanied by an adult also participating on this ride
  • If this sounds a little beyond your current skill and fitness level, please contact us for other options.

Equipment, kit and clothing

  • Suitable mountain bike in good working order*
  • Helmet*
  • Gloves and glasses
  • Backpack
  • Spare inner tube
  • Puncture repair kit and bicycle pump
  • Clothing & shoes appropriate for cycling and weather conditions on the day
  • Padded cycling shorts for comfort
  • Personal choice of drink and ride snacks

* without these you will not be able to take part in the guided ride Our guides carry an extensive kit to assist with trail-side repairs

(IMPORTANT: your helmet must be within the warranty period from the date of manufacture to take part in any of our guided rides. See the warranties table tab. You will be asked to submit this information via our riders consent form).

What’s not included

  • Bike hire
  • Personal clothing & equipment
  • Overnight accommodation
  • Pre, during or post activity refreshments
  • Transfers to & from location
  • Personal travel or accident Insurance

MTB Helmet Warranties

Booking this ride as a custom experience

The base price is for one person. Add more riders using the ‘Extras’ drop down menu.
If you want a completely bespoke guided ride, then choose the ‘Custom Half or Full Day’ option from the ‘Experiences’ drop down menu.
Still not sure what experience is for you or have a question? Then please send Mark and Sean an email here.

Need to hire a bike? Then after you have booked your guided ride, scroll down or click here to reserve your bike with our friends at Cuckmere Cycle Co.

(All prices include VAT)

Bike hire selection

  1. From the system below choose the date and time to match our guided ride (6 May 2023 & 9 am)
  2. We recommend the 4 hour duration as a minimum
  3. Select normal mountain bike or electric mountain bike
  4. Choose the size of bike, based on your height
  5. Go to checkout and complete the bike hire reservation
  6. Book your place on the guided ride from the ‘Dates‘ drop down menu above

Please Note:
The bike hire system below can sometimes have a delay before it has fully loaded. If it fails to show, then visit Cuckmere Cycle Company direct to reserve your bike. Then return to this page to confirm your place on our guided ride.

(** Marmalade MTB is not responsible for the provision of these bikes. By using the system below you are booking direct with Cuckmere Cycle Company)

3 reviews for Birling Gap Bash

  1. nigelpigden

    A well organised company with Sean at its helm and helpful sorting any issues promptly. I had a wonderful couple of hours cycling Birling Gap with a great bunch of similar minded men & women in my group.
    Unfortunately due to bike malfunction my day was cut short, but with Jim’s expert help and another kind member of our group my bike was given a temporary fix enabling me to hobble back to my car.
    Our guide Jim was experienced, knowledgeable and relaxed always giving options looking after everyone’s needs.
    I’m looking forward to beginning of August with Marmslade to Goodwood Kingley Vale & Purbeck !

  2. dougclemmans

    Really enjoyed the Birling Gap Bash. We had perfect weather with wall to wall sunshine. Friston Forest and the South Downs didn’t disappoint with beautiful flowing single track and views to die for. Rode with a really nice sociable group giving each other encouragement along the way. Jim our guide was great and didn’t push anybody to do anything they didn’t want to do. Will book again.

  3. nick

    Quality day with Jim being on the Birling Gap ride. Completely new to this area of the country, and it was great to get a 30km loop in with a contrast of trail. Fast, long twisty single track and some great cliff top descents. Jim is a top guy and clearly knows how to make the most of a ride out for this group… can’t fault Marmalade at all – already looking at my next trip to book on with them on!

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