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A green e-bike tour of Sussex’s vineyards

A green e-bike tour of Sussex’s vineyards

From the balcony of the dining room at Ashling Park’s vineyard, I can see the sun setting over the 200-year-old oak trees, and the golden glow of the Chardonnay vines sprawled out in neat lines beneath me.

My main course is being served – South Downs pigeon breast with Chichester-sourced baby veg and a blackberry-red wine sauce, paired perfectly with the red berry notes of Ashling Park’s sparkling rosé. I’m savouring my first mouthfuls when the chef comes over to tell me that everything on the menu (and of course in my glass) is sourced from within a 15-mile radius of where I’m sitting – except the vanilla for the panna cotta.

Compare that with the average restaurant roast dinner – coming in at close to 10,000 food miles in total – and you’ll start to understand why that’s such an impressive claim.

The chef comes over to tell me that almost everything on the menu (and in my glass) is sourced from within a 15-mile radius

It’s a recurring theme of my idyllic weekend away in Sussex, where I’m exploring a wine route on two wheels – a pride in showcasing what’s local, and a dedication to leaving a light footprint on the environment. As one of the sunniest areas of the UK – sharing the same soil found in Champagne and parts of the Loire and Burgundy – the county has become a British hive of vinous activity.

Vines at Henners winery, Sussex


With more than 139 vineyards across both the east and west stretches of the county, it’s the most densely vineyard-speckled wine region in Britain – and, as such, demands for oenotourism have started to soar.

With one eye on giving the customer what they want, and another on the growing demand for green travel, a local tourism board launched an official, self-cycling route for trying its best tipples in 2021 – the Great Sussex Way Wine Cycle Route.

Linking several of the vineyards together, tourists can either bring their own bikes to complete the trail, or hire some from a local rental operator such as Southern eBike Rentals (whose electronically-boosted ebikes take some of the strain once you’ve had a few glasses). Having not owned a bike since the Spice Girls first topped the charts, I opt for the easier, electrically assisted version and am guided through the flint-adorned villages and murmuring wheat fields by Southern Ebikes owner Olly Evans.

The cycle…

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