This month’s circuit with Nick Marks takes you on a brief tour of the local bottoms: steep-sided little folds in the Downs offering classic downland scenery with sheep, gorse, rabbits and birds of prey in abundance.

1 Start at The Level, and head out on the Lewes road, over the Vogue Gyratory, and on towards the university.

2 After you pass the Brighton University building at Moulsecoomb, turn right up towards Bevendean. Follow the road as it takes you into Bevendean, then swings off left past Bevendean Primary School.

3 Just after you pass the school, you will see a sign on the left for a Scout hut. Turn left and follow the bridlepath up to the right. This is Hogtrough Bottom, a fairly long climb that takes you immediately out into the countryside and eases out nicely at the top.

4 When you reach the top of the hill and a small enclosure full of cows, go straight on and follow the path down until you reach the Falmer road.

5 Cross over the road, then turn right and head up the track that runs next to the road, with Loose Bottom down below you on your left, until you reach a gate.

6 Go left through the gate and follow the path across the hill until you reach a small wood. Turn right, go up the hill a little, then go through the gate on your left and carry on up the hill to another gate.

7 This time turn right and follow the track until you see a sign for the Castle Hill nature reserve on your left.

Go through the gate and you have a great descent down into Falmer Bottom. Follow the path through another gate and along to the left. If you’re doing this in the early morning you can ride through the dew to cool yourself off – a wonderful experience.

8 When you get to the farm, take the path that leads up to your right past a row of trees. The path curls round to the right, taking you round Standean Bottom and back up the side of the hill. You should be warmed up by now, so step on the gas a little and take this path at a brisk pace all the way back up the valley until you reach a gate.

9 Go through the gate, turn right, and take the path back down to the Falmer road. Cross over and follow the path along the back of Woodingdean until you reach the road that runs next to the racecourse. You can follow the track until it meets Bear Road.

10 Cross over Bear Road, across a small patch of wasteland, then you are on to Elm Grove and can free-wheel it back to The Level.

  • Distance/time: Eight miles/One and a half hours.
  • Difficulty: Easy.
  • Surface: For the most part this ride is on chalky paths or grassland.
  • Your bike: Mainly suitable for mountain bikes, but it would be possible on a hybrid. Just make sure you are careful on the big descent.
  • Thirsty work: Bring your own food and drink for this one as there are no obvious stops along the way for refreshment.
  • So you don’t get lost: OS Explorer map 122.