East Sussex Explorer
From £58.00 inc. VAT
Location: South Downs
Duration: 5-6 hours
Style: Cross-country (XC)
Electric mountain bike
34 mi | 55 km
4,100 ft | 1,250 m
East Sussex Explorer
From £58.00 inc. VAT
Improved for 2024
We have carefully crafted this epic day out on the eastern flanks of the South Downs National Park. It combines the very best bridleways and stunning views into 35 miles of prime off-road biking.
For 2024, we’ve made this route even better, now taking in a visit to the enormous Long Man of Wilmington – one of England’s only two hill figures.
Whether as a custom private experience or as part of a Marmalade open group ride, this classic cross-country route combines the best of East Sussex’s countryside with expert support and assistance from an experienced local guide.
If you need to hire a bike, check availability first using the bike hire selector below.
The eastern side of the South Downs National Park offers so much. Marmalade’s unrivalled knowledge of the bridleway network that festoons this whole area has created a simply amazing day out. We start and finish in the beautiful village of Alfriston, before exploring 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.
What to expect
If you’re an active person with regular cycling fitness and a taste for big climbs, you’ll enjoy this challenging but super-sociable South Downs ride designed for experience riders. However, if you have recently joined us on our other intermediate or advanced rides, then this epic tour of East Sussex could also be the perfect next step for you.
In true South Downs style the riding is good old-fashioned cross-country, with long but rewarding climbs and open epic views. The riding is a mixture of stunning doubletrack and singletrack bridleways, including parts of the classic South Downs Way. The terrain is not overly technical, but a couple of the descents do require confident bike-handling techniques. The Marmalade East Sussex Explorer provides an exciting mixture with plenty of fun and a sense of challenge for regular and experienced mountain bikers.
If you are still not sure whether this ride is for you, then please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.
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.
Riding with Marmalade
We pride ourselves on creating the perfect vibe that makes everyone feel comfortable and confident. Combine a super fun and relaxed atmosphere with Marmalade’s expert knowledge and professionalism we will guarantee you the best day out discovering the trails of the South Downs.
This route is a traditional mountain bike ride. There will be fun bumpy descents, rooty forest trails and wide-open double tracks. So a hardtail, gravel or short travel full suspension mountain bike would be perfect. Big travel bikes are welcome – just be prepared for some extra effort.
This ride can be enjoyed on a conventional, electric mountain bike or gravel bike, whether you bring your own or hire from our friends at Cuckmere Cycle Co. If this ride is right for your level of experience and fitness, then use your choice of machine. Marmalade rides have a friendly welcoming atmosphere, and e-bike riders who find themselves first up the hill are always patient and understanding of those relying on human-power alone.
Ensure your bike of choice is maintained and ready to ride, and please pack a spare mech hanger with your usual trail pack spares.
- Duration: 5-6 hours
- Distance: 34 mi | 55 km
- Ascent: 4,100 ft | 1,250 m
- Level: +Intermediate
(If you have any questions about your level, just contact us)
- Meet time: 9.00am │ 9.30am on bikes
- Meet point: Seven Sisters visitor centre top car park
How to get here
By train – The nearest station is Seaford, with 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 noticeable hill to get you warmed up! Check for rail engineering work at weekends, as bus replacement services are generally unable to carry bikes.
By road – The coastal A259 runs right past Cuckmere Cycle Company and to the north, the A27, connects Alfriston to major routes
By bus – If you’re hiring a bike from Cuckmere Cycle Company, and not bringing your own, arriving by bus may be another option. Check times for Brighton & Hove’s 12, 12A and 12X ‘Coaster’ routes.
What do I need?
Equipment, kit and clothing
- Suitable mountain bike in good working order (bikes can be hired in advance)
- Helmet (in good condition, with no damage)
- Clothing and shoes appropriate for cycling and weather conditions on the day
- Personal choice of drink and ride snacks
- Glasses, sunglasses or eyeshields
- Spare inner tube
- Puncture repair kit and bicycle pump
- Padded cycling shorts for comfort
What’s not included
- Bike hire – this can be booked via the ‘Bike Hire‘ section
- Personal clothing & equipment
- Overnight accommodation
- Pre, during or post activity refreshments
- Personal travel or accident Insurance
Is this for me?
- To take part in our East Sussex Explorer, you’ll need to be an active person who has the personal fitness to ride for at least 4 hours at a social and comfortable pace, with breaks
- You will be confident in mountain bike handling skills and proficient with operating your bicycle in the correct manner
- The trails do include features such as roots and loose rocks, along with small rollable steps – all of which can be easily ridden or avoided
- This ride does contain undulating trails – and in places, climbs that may be challenging
- This ride requires a suitable mountain bike (hybrid and budget bicycles are not suitable)
- See the ‘Bike Hire‘ section below if you need to hire a bike
- Riders should be aged 18 and over
- If this ride sounds a little beyond your current skill and fitness level, please contact us and we’ll help you look at other options
Private experience (extra information)
Booking the East Sussex Explorer as a private ride
To enjoy our East Sussex Explorer as a private experience with you and your friends, the base price of £240 is for one to four people. Add more riders for a group of five to eight 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 Sean an email or call him on +44 (0)7840 724611.
Need to hire a bike? Then after you have booked your private ride, scroll down or click here to reserve your bike(s).
Meet point: Once you have booked, we can decide on the best location to start your ride. This will depend on whether you are staying nearby and whether or not you require bike hire. If required we can bring the bikes to you.
If you want to discuss this before you book then please send Sean an email or call on +44 (0)7840 724611.
(All prices include VAT)
Bike hire (extra information)
How to book your bike:
- From the system below select the dates to match the ride you have booked with us
- Select the full day option
- Select normal mountain bike or electric mountain bike
- Choose the size of bike, based on your height
- Go to checkout and complete the bike hire reservation for each rider
These fantastic bikes, and this booking system, are provided by our friends at Cuckmere Cycle Co.. If you have any questions or problems around booking your bike, just contact the Cuckmere team and they’ll help.
Choose your option
Choose your option