MTB Ride level 7


34 miles

Ride Type




4,100 ft

East Sussex Explorer


(1 customer review)

The South Downs national park just keeps on delivering the best cross-country (XC) riding in the UK. We have carefully crafted this epic day out on its far eastern flanks to combine the very best bridleways and stunning views across 35 miles of prime off-road biking.


South East MTB events do not come more challenging and visually rewarding than our brand new guided mountain bike ride at the far eastern end of the South Downs National Park. Our unrivalled knowledge of the bridleway network that festoons this whole area has created a simply amazing day out. Starting and finishing in the medieval town of Alfriston we explore the cliff side trails down to Birling Gap, the fast-rolling descents of the South Downs Way and the jaw-dropping views from Firle Beacon.

Since the start we have been committed to use this expertise to create an extensive portfolio of South East MTB events, with these guided rides on the South Downs for experienced and regular mountain bikers central to this. Therefore, why not join us in May to discover 55kms of epic cross-country (XC) on our East Sussex Explorer.

South East MTB Events

This area of England is no stranger to hosting cycling sportives or large South East MTB events. From the many charity rides, gravel extravaganzas and vineyard tours, the newest of National Parks has plenty to offer. However, these large gatherings with their fluorescent navigational arrows do not offer the small group friendly vibe and the vast expertise that comes from a local and fully qualified Marmalade leader.

What to expect!

You will need to an active person with regular cycling fitness and big climbs in your legs to be able to enjoy this challenging but super sociable South Downs ride designed for experience riders. However, as mentioned above if you have recently joined us on our other intermediate or advanced rides, then this epic tour of East Sussex will be the perfect next step for you. In true South Downs style the riding is good old-fashion cross-country, with long but rewarding climbs and open epic views. The riding is a mixture of stunning double and single track bridleways to the super fun and flat out South Downs Way. The terrain is not overly technical, however, a couple of the descents do require confident bike handling techniques. The ‘East Sussex Explorer’ provides an exciting mixture to inject plenty of fun and a sense of challenge for regular and experience 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

This eastern part of the South Downs offers an amazing network of bridleway trails that link seamlessly together to explore this stunning and ancient part of the South East. The majority of this ride handles the variety of weather very well but in places is exposed and therefore we would recommend packing an additional layer and your shades, when the sun is out and gleaming off the English Channel and the chalk.

Shredding with Marmalade

We pride ourselves on creating the perfect vibe that makes everyone feel comfortable and confident to maximise your enjoyment during our guided South Downs rides. 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.

MTB bike hire

Visiting family and friends without your bike? Or simply you want to give this ride a go, but do not own a mountain bike? Then we can arrange day hires through our local partners, Chalk Pit Trails and or Hassocks Community Cycle Hire.

  • Duration: We have all day, if we need it!
  • Distance: 34 miles (approx.)
  • Elevation gain: 4,100 ft (approx.)
  • Technical Grade: +Intermediate
    (any questions, please contact us)
  • Meet time: 9.00 am | 9.30 am on bikes
  • Meet point: The Willows, Public Car Park, Alfriston
  • Group size: 5-8 (max.)

What’s included

  • Fully guided by a professional MTB leader
  • This ride is aimed at regular bikers with a good level of fitness and who like cross-country (XC) style mountain biking
  • If you have attended our other rides such as the Birling Gap Bash, Purbeck Days Out or the Devils Punch Bowl then this ride would be perfect for you
  • Or you are a regular cyclist looking for a challenging, rewarding and sociable guided mountain bike ride
  • You are an active person who has the personal fitness to ride for at least 5-7 hours at a social and comfortable pace with regular breaks
  • You will be confident in basic bike handling skills and proficient with operating your bicycle in the correct manner
  • The trails will include features such as roots and small loose rocks, along with small rollable slopes. All of which are rollable or can be ridden around
  • 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)
  • Contact Us if you would like to hire a bike
  • The ride does contain a number of undulating and in places challenging climbs
  • 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/activity Insurance

MTB Helmet Warranties

1 review for East Sussex Explorer

  1. d3overland

    Just ridden the East Sussex Explorer this May Bank Holiday, did not know quite what to expect as it was a last-minute decision after original plans where scrapped due to continuing Covid restrictions. I’ve always looked at maps and trails of the South Downs and thought there is an opportunity of getting extremely lost and so when the post on FB popped up it seemed a no brainer to go on a guided tour! The “undulating” terrain as often referred to by Sean our guide, was in places a bit tough for my old legs but everyone was encouraging, and the pace was never too fast and allowed for some great chances to enjoy the scenery from up on top of the downs. Being able to cover such a large area in one day and a mixture of trails and tracks (and some rain) made for a good mix of riding. If like me you are a bit doubtful about doing a group ride like this and that it will be full of “young people” then do not be, I am 56 this week and I am sure that I was beaten on the age front this weekend. Did I learn anything from the day? Yes, I did, the need to get a bit fitter and to hone technique but above all having a great guide(s) that were non-judgemental made for a “grand day out” So thanks to Sean and Bex from Marmalade and to all the other riders on the day. I will be looking forward to expanding my knowledge of the South East on future trips.

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