This month’s bike ride with Nick Marks takes you up over the Downs at Streat Hill, then deep into the Low Weald through some of the county’s most picturesque woodland. It is everything cross-country riding should be, and at this time of year the scenery is breathtaking.

1 Start at The Level and ride out along Lewes Road, over the Vogue Gyratory and on towards the Sussex University campus. Ride past the campus entrance and up the slip road that comes off the A27. This will take you to a roundabout.

2 At the roundabout, turn left, then immediately right into Falmer Village.

Follow the road between the houses, then turn right at the T-junction, heading north.

Follow this road uphill, then down past a wood until you reach St Mary’s Farm.

3 Ride past all the farm buildings and you will see a path climbing up the hill to your right. It’s a fairly long drag up, but the scenery makes up for it. At this time of year the Downs still feel barren; the empty woods echo desolately, and you’ll ride past huge hillside fields, sparsely dotted with silent cows.

4 When you reach the junction with the South Downs way, turn left, cross over the farm access road, go up through the gate, and ride uphill for about 200 metres until you see a path going off right.

Follow this path down the side of the hill. It’s a spectacular descent across one of the steepest Downland bowls I have seen. Ride it as fast as you can; just keep left and you will end up at a gate which takes you down to a road.

5 Cross over the road and take the bridle path directly opposite, then shift up a few gears and get ready for a brisk run through beautiful woodland. There is no need to consult the map; just keep heading north on the main path. This is idyllic cross- country riding, and you even get to ride through a very shallow stream about three miles up the path.

6 When you reach the road, follow it north, past some rickety stables with geese in the yard, then turn left at the next T-junction. As you ride along, look for the sign on your right marked: “Bridle path to Wivelsfield”.

7 Take this path, north again, through open woodland and try to find a dry route through the areas churned up by horses. You’ll end up on a lane, where you turn left and ride through a country park until you reach a main road.

8 Turn left, and continue along the road until you see a sign pointing right towards World’s End. Take this turn and follow the road for a mile or so until you end up at Wivelsfield station. Then simply jump on the train back to Brighton. A single ticket costs £4.50.

  • Distance/time: 14 miles/two hours at a moderate pace.
  • Difficulty: Medium.
  • Surface: Everything from tarmac to deep mud.
  • Your bike: Mainly for mountain bikes. Possible on a hybrid, but be careful on the big descent.
  • Thirsty work: Bring your own food and drink for this one, to enjoy at one of the many picnic spots along the way.
  • So you don’t get lost: OS Explorer map 122.