The Midhurst Mountain Bike Route starts from the North Street free Public Car Park
11miles all-weather route, Explorer map 133 Haslemere
START POINT: North Street Free Public Car Park. Alternatively, any of the pubs or hotels if you are staying for lunch. There are also a few spaces behind the factory building at the end of the Wharf which is accessed from the main road at South Pond.
Turn left after leaving the Free Car Park into North Street, the main thoroughfare in Midhurst. Again turn left after one hundred yards into Knockhundred Row, pass the Library where, if you wish, you can tie up your bikes to the iron railings on your return so you can enjoy lunch, tea or morning coffee at the Coffee Pot. Continue through Church Hill and the square, passing the Spread Eagle Hotel on your right.
Turn sharp left into the Wharf opposite the pond and travel to the end of this short road, passing KerryType.
Turn right over the stone bridge opposite the Cowdray Cottage with its bright yellow woodwork and proceed to circle left along the bridleway - called St John's Way - with trees on your left - if you stop you can see the polo field, the Cowdray Ruins and the river adjoining the meadow - and go on through a gate until you reach a farm called Kennel Dairy.
Pass though the farm, down the farm road until you hit the Selham Road on a bend. To the left is the entrance to Cowdray House. Continue straight on down the road. It is usually quiet except for the occasional speeding car on its way to the stables at Todham. On polo days in summer there is a lot of 'horsey' traffic so make a mental note to start out by mid-morning.
You reach the hamlet of South Ambersham after about a mile.
Continue to Selham passing the polo field (an ex WW2 airfield), and then turn left at the T junction where there are some houses opposite, travelling north.
Take care when you approach the hump-backed bridge over the River Rother as it is completely blind. When you hit the main Midhurst-Petworth Road at HalfWay Bridge cross over - the road is very fast and busy here - and circle left behind the pub down a slip road. If you are staying for lunch at the pub they will not mind you taking a short cut across their forecourt and down the left hand side of their building.
Take the bridleway going north through the farmyard behind the pub.
When you hit the lane in Lodsworth near the church turn left uphill passing old houses on both sides. After a hundred yards you come to the main Lodsworth- Haslemere Road which bisects the village in a north-south direction. Travel up the street in a northerly direction until you see the Hollist Arms. Bear left past the pub, not straight on, until you reach a road going right after a short distance. Turn right. The lane splits with one fork turning down to the right. Continue straight on until you reach the wood.
Turn left up the bridleway which starts to go gently uphill. Keep going through Vining Copse. The road is metalled all the way. When you break out into the open the bridleway strikes up the hill. Do not be tempted to bear left along the footpath to Vinings Farm. Your waymark is the bunker shaped reservoir behind the hedge on the left just before Grevatts. Past Grevatts bear left along the bridleway - a footpath continues to Bexley Hill past the mast .
The views towards Midhurst are breathtaking and the air intoxicatingly fresh if blowing from the west. You are in the middle of the 15,000 acre Cowdray Estate. Pass through the wood at Vining Rough, keep going through the stands of chesnut and fir of Fenced Common until you come to a gate onto the lane from Easebourne to Bexley.
Go straight across for half a mile down another lane which keeps to the ridge. Three Cornered Common is now on your right with its stand of mature firs: chesnuts line the road to the left.You are looking for a RUPP ( Road Used as a Public Path ) with its blank signpost on the left on a gentle rise. The gate is usually left open. Turn left onto the track which starts out grassy with the odd wet spot in winter but shortly as it descends becomes hard and quite rocky. It is biking at its best
For a while you pass through open woodland then farmland emerges to your left until there is a splitting of the ways. Keep up to the left along the RUPP, not downhill along what look likes the major track. Within 50 yards you come to Wick Lane going left to right. Turn left past the reservoir onto a metalled track which after a zig-zag meets the Easebourne- Bexley lane in Easebourne.
Turn right downhill past the White Horse and the post office to the T junction with the Midhurst-Petworth Road. You are now at the centre of the Cowdray Estate. . The estate houses are distinguished by their characteristic yellow window frames and doors.
Water Meadows with Causeway to Cowdray Castle Ruins
You have a choice of route back to Midhurst which is about a mile away: down the busy main road to the right or, if you prefer to walk, down the public footpath along the estate road to the Ruins. [The Cowdray Estate are generally happy to give permission for bike parties to use this track if they have prior warning and it's not on a polo day). If you decide on the latter cross over the main road and turn left, then right, down the estate road which starts out tarmaced but shortly becomes a metalled track. You have a perfect approach to the Ruins with the meadow running up to the car park to your right. Turn right at the Ruins and traverse the Causeway Track if you want to go to the Angel or the car park but go straight on for the Wharf and the Spread Eagle.
In summer the meadow has its resident herd of cattle which makes for a memorable rural 'snapshot' to add to your other memories of what should have been a marvellous day out through the Cowdray Estate.
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' The Midhurst Mountain Bike Route " is sponsored by Violet Designs, Midhurst, West Sussex Tel: 01730 810059. We just try harder to give exceptional service and prices.