Wednesday 8 September 2010

Cycling the North Downs, near Reigate, Surrey

Just off Reigate Hill, between the town and the M25 motorway, is a small National Trust car park with a refreshment kiosk and sweeping views overlooking the leafy suburbs of Reigate. Immediately west of the car park, the North Downs Way is categorised as a bridleway for several miles, which means you can cycle it. After threading its way through woodland, the route opens up, providing broad vistas of verdant green English countryside across an open field anchored by a neo-classical monument. You'll also pass an old fort designed to protect London from invaders and plenty of picturesque countryside. After a few miles, mountain bikers will have some fun as the North Downs Way starts to descend and narrow, linking up with several other bridleways in the Buckland Hills. Take the wrong turn and you might find yourself on a hair-raising descent, followed by an arduous climb back up to the ridge. If you keep heading west, you'll eventually hit a B road, which can take you to Box Hill, one of the highest points in the south east. 8/10