Sunday 9 March 2014

Cycle ride Herne Hill to Woldingham, south London

Fresh tarmac and beautiful countryside within the M25
A 25-mile round trip by back roads through some fine rolling countryside, this ride from Herne Hill to the outskirts of Woldingham is a popular Sunday route for London cyclists. In the first mile, you pass by genteel Dulwich Village and the grandeur of Dulwich College before climbing steeply up to Crystal Palace. You then speed down Anerley Hill, passing Crystal Palace Stadium on your left and then ride five  miles in a straight-ish line, through bland suburbia, until you reach West Wickham. When you get to the junction with the A2022, you go straight over, following Layhams Road into the countryside, up past the police dog training centre and on to Skid Hill Lane, which eventually turns south west into Hesiers Road. Complete with new tarmac, this pleasurable stretch overlooks a picturesque bowl-shaped valley which seems a million miles from the London sprawl just to the north.  You've been climbing steadily since West Wickham, taking you up to an altitude of about 250 metres at Beach Farm where the route hits the Limpsfield Road. This is a good place to turn round unless you want to stop for refreshments in Woldingham. The return leg is largely downhill and is much quicker, but the upper reaches of Anerley Hill make for a nasty sting in the tail. 7/10