Nigel Greenwood joins us to tell us about his new website The Living Coast by Bike...

I love travelling. Our bookshelves at home are full of Rough Guides, Lonely Planets and travel writers. Places we’ve been to around the world, stories of other peoples adventures. One of the books is written by me - stories of my wife and I backpacking around South America , my attempt to be the next Bill Bryson. It didnt turn out to be a best seller, but I enjoyed writing it and brings back many fond memories when I flick through the pages.

But travelling isn’t all about going to the furthest flung parts of the world. Some of the best travelling is here to be done on our very doorstep. We live on a hill just outside Lewes with two bedroom windows, one facing towards the Ashdown Forest, the other to the South Downs National Park and The Living Coast. We live on the edge of a UNESCO Biosphere, it’s a special place. A place that people travel to, and an area we know well. It’s one of the reasons we set up our So Sussex organisation - to travel and to meet people who are travelling, right on our own door step.

And for me, travelling in this part of the world means cycling. Jumping on a bike and spending the day meandering around small country lanes, climbing the bridleways and chalk tracks up onto the South Downs. Immersing myself in the smells , sights and sounds of The Living Coast is just as stimulating, thought provoking and surprising as any of the wonderful places I have visited around the world.

When we set up So Sussex we wanted to find ways for people to explore this lovely part of the world, be more active outside and to learn more about the landscape and countryside of the region. It was our way of travelling without leaving home, something we have become even more appreciative of in the last year. And our latest project - creating www.thelivingcoastbybike.co.uk is basically an opportunity to get people out on bikes exploring The Living Coast. What’s not to like about that.

When I get on my bike and start pedalling I’m not normally sure where I’m going to end up, but I do definitely have favourite routes depending on my mood, the weather and time of year. In creating ‘thelivingcoastbybike’ we’ve tried to capture these rides and their essence so anyone can have their own Living Coast travelling experience. 

Looking out of the window today its a glorious sunny April day with very little wind and to be honest it would be a pleasure to be on any of the ten rides we have created. The ground will be firm, the views stunning and on the top of the downs the call of the skylarks will be crystal clear.

But if I had to chose a ride today , I think it would have to be ‘Over and Under’ , a ride that brings together everything that is magical about this part of the world, drawing together the freedom of being up on the top of the hills before being drawn to the coast with the sea glittering as if it were the meditterranean and the increasing bustle of activity and people in Brighton as life begins to return to normal. Perhaps a stop for a coffee at the soon to be complete Sea Lanes project before heading back home - no doubt to more emails than I care to think about.  

You can find out more about cycling in the Living Coast at www.thelivingcoastbybike.co.uk and if you would like to learn more about So Sussex please visit www.sosussex.co.uk

Nigel

  • The Living Coast by Bike website is a collaboration between The Living Coast and So Sussex and was funded by Interreg (ERDF) as part of the BioCultural Heritage Tourism Project 

Photo of logos for the BCHT project

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