Route 21 runs south from Greenwich out of London to Eastbourne. This 95-mile route makes for a great short break or a wonderful start to a holiday on the south coast.
The start of Route 21, from Greenwich to Crawley, follows the Waterlink Way through south east London on quiet residential roads. The Waterlink Way follows Route 21 and is an established part of the National Cycle Network. It connects a number of parks and green spaces in south east London while following the Pool and Ravensbourne Rivers. The route is very accessible, with a large number of stations on the route.
After leaving Greater London the route becomes more rugged. The route continues on to Redhill and then Crawley where you can connect with Route 20. The section between Crawley and Eastbourne takes you to East Grinstead along the traffic-free Worth Way and then through Forest Way Country Park.
Forest Way Country Park is located in the heart of the beautiful East Sussex countryside, within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. While in the park you may spot swallows, badger tracks, deer and foxes.
From here you cycle on to Groombridge following a disused railway line with fabulous views of the River Medway. The route then continues on through Eridge and Mayfield before joining the traffic-free Cuckoo Trail at Heathfield.
The Cuckoo Trail is one of the most popular family cycle rides in the South East. Once a railway line, this trail offers a superb, peaceful, traffic-free route. The trail runs through a mixture of broadleaf woodland, open grassland, arable farmland, and pasture with verges that are often thick with seasonal wildflowers like vetch and willowherb. Keep an eye out for wildflowers and an ear out for the laughing call of the green woodpecker and a host of other birds.
On this section of the route there are dramatic sculptures and carved wooden seats which were designed and made by Steve Geliot from oaks felled by the great storm of 1987. Look out for the metal sculptures by local artist Hamish Black too.
You’ll ride through a number of quaint little villages and near Hailsham you'll find Michelham Priory - a historic house and the remains of an Augustinian Priory set in seven acres of beautiful gardens, surrounded by the longest water-filled medieval moat in England.
On your way to Eastbourne, you’ll cycle through the lovely Shinewater Park before arriving at the coastal resort town. On Eastbourne’s seafront are Victorian hotels, the 19th-century Eastbourne Pier and a 1930s bandstand. It’s a lovely base for exploring the south coast.
Route 21 is a great way to explore the south of England but if you want to venture further afield why not cycle to France? Route 21 is part of the Avenue Verte Greenway which links London and Paris via the Newhaven to Dieppe ferry.
We have taken all responsible steps to ensure that these routes are safe and achievable by people with a reasonable level of fitness. However, all outdoor activities involve a degree of risk. To the extent permitted by law, Sustrans accepts no responsibility for any accidents or injury resulting from following these routes. Walking and cycling routes change over time. Weather conditions may also affect path surfaces. Please use your own judgement when using the routes based upon the weather and the ability, experience and confidence levels of those in your group.