This month’s ride with Nick Marks takes a short loop out of Brighton on to the Downs – perfect for an early morning or evening ride.

1 Set off from the north-east corner of Preston Park, and head up Surrenden Road, past Varndean College and down into Patcham. When you reach a T-junction turn left, then take the next main road on the right and head towards the green. Turn left at the clock tower and head up towards the football pitches.

2 When you see the pitches in front of you, leave the road and head towards them, taking the path that leads immediately up right. Follow this path as it takes you up and over the A27, then turn left and follow the road until you reach a roundabout with a small lane leading off right. Take this lane along past a motley collection of bungalows until you see a sign saying Woodsmill.

3 Turn left and take the footbridge over the A23. Turn right and follow the path uphill, round to the left, then on again, heading north.

Continue until you reach a gate after a long line of low trees.

4 Turn right and head downhill towards Haresdean. This is a very fast descent so watch for loose flint on the chalky path. You will find yourself back by the A23.

5 Turn left and go over the bridge, then look for the Church Lane sign, and take the path right and uphill into a small hamlet. Ride through and down to the A273, where a footpath will take you alongside the road until you reach the crossing point opposite the golf club. Cross over and continue uphill through the golf course until you reach a point where two paths cross.

6 Turn right and follow the path round the golf course, then left and up to a long line of trees. Turn right and follow the path down, then left along the top edge of a field, and finally down into Lower Standean, where you can find horses, stock cars, a supplier of flint, and an enormous barn full of hay.

7 Once you are past all the farm buildings, just follow the gravelly lane as it takes you back towards Brighton. There are some interesting houses and a rifle range on the way. You’ll be surprised at how suddenly you arrive back where you started, on the narrow road that runs parallel to the A27.

8 Turn right, drop down to the roundabout, and rejoin traffic on the road into Brighton, finishing back at Preston Park.

Distance/time: Ten miles/One-and-a-half hours.

Difficulty: Easy.

Surface: Tarmac, hard-packed earth and gravel.

Your bike: Mountain bikes only.

Thirsty work: The excellent Chalet Cafe in Preston Park is a good start and finish point.

So you don’t get lost: OS map 122