Downslink A283 Crossing

We would like a much safer crossing of the A283 for people on bicycles using the popular Downs Link.


The Downs Link is an extremely popular off-road cycleway that runs mostly off-road and motor-traffic-free from Shoreham-by-Sea to Guildford. However there is a very difficult and dangerous crossing at the A283 just south of Steyning.

A new route for the Downs Link has been proposed, which will take cyclists and equestrians under the road beside the river Adur.

The plan, unfortunately, means a nearly-one-kilometre detour to go under the bridge and back again. A much more useful route would have continued along the western river bank to the bridge, making the route shorter and visibly more direct.

Local Forums: 


Site work on this diversion (the original A283 crossing will remain) and an associated Walks for All footpath surface upgrade (which runs up the west side river bank to The Street in Bramber) began in September 2015. 

North of the A283 the new bridleway follows the route of a network of ‘trackways’ between the individual privately owned plots that the field was divided into some years back - remember all those white pegs?  (The company owing the trackways went bust, so now owned by Crown Estates - who were happy with a bridleway designation.)  So it wiggles around a bit through an open field, but is otherwise OK (3m plus wide, except on the bridge over a drainage ditch) and 'finished', although how long the currently rather soft 'limestone dust' will hold up to horse use remains to be seen....  The ECO-Mix sub-base for the riverbank footpath has been laid, but the whole length along the river bank has not been finished.  One would be well advised to keep off this except with tough footware, as the  ECO-Mix has a noticeable broken glass content...South of the A283, the diversion follows the route of an access track from close to the original Downslink to a drainage pump by the riverbank.  Although just a footpath (now with bridleway status) it did have a decent(ish) surface before works commenced.  Inevitably (working in wet autumn/winter), as this route and the Downslink just south of the A283 down to Botolphs was used for heavy plant access, the whole is now a bit of a muddy mess, as well as the path under the A283 bridge :( 

Informally I've been told that the contractors will not be back on site "until the weather improves" - could take a while then...  Local government representatives have been made well aware of the saga, and if I get to know a) when the original work is due to be completed and b) what remedial works to the Downslink are planed, I'll update here.

Also, if I can work out how to do it, I'll stick some relevant plans and recent photos in the Documents section... 

Just to clarify, the whole of the west bank from Beeding Bridge to the South Downs Way (SDW) bridge is a footpath (2933).  Whilst a cycle route from the SDW bridge along the river bank might have been an option, IMHO that is not the case on the northern side of the A283, as the footpath is exceedingly narrow as it leaves Beeding Bridge and runs between the house and riverbank, not to mention the 2 or 3 steep steps down from the footway.  (This is also the reason why the 'Walks for All' path upgrade turns west just before Beeding Bridge and follows footpath 3516 to link up with The Street in Bramber near St Mary's.)

Bearing in mind that the real driver for this diversion was via the Local Access Forum, who's chair is a horse rider (IIRC), and there's no sensible way to get a horse down there IMO, upgrading the northern bit to a bridleway was a non-starter.  And to be fair, once the surfaces are sorted out it will be useful for those out for leisure, as opposed to those who are trying to get from A to B.  I also suspect that providing a long section of bridleway close to and nearly parallel with the Downs Link would have been a political no-no too....

Of course, in Scotland one would just use the footpaths :lol:

Work on the Walks for All footpath route along the west bank of the Adur has finally re-started!

I have also discovered that the new, wheelchair friendly, surface will run all the way down to the South Downs Way river crossing at Botolphs.  It will be interesting to see how many cyclists (illegally) use this route in preference to the (significantly longer if you use the A283 crossing diversion) Downslink bridleway to the Bramber / A283 roundabout ;)

Message from Tricia Butler (West Sussex Local Access Forum):

"The invitations have gone out to those who have been directly involved in one way or another (securing the land, funding, designing, creating on the ground, supporting) with the routes, and these invitees will be provided with 'thank you' refreshments.  However, any one else is welcome to come along and join in the opening on the route, we are planning to cut a ribbon at around 11am, and personally I think it would be great to see/meet lots of ordinary users of the routes there.   It will also be a chance to explain the thinking behind what has been done and the fact that the line of the Downs Link alternative route has been determined by negotiation/agreement with landowners.  We have received some emails from cyclists stating that they intend using the footpath along the river bank, which I have to say we tried very hard to secure as it is the most direct route, but the landowner was adamant the river bank should remain for walkers/wheelchairs only, and rather than jeopardise the whole project we respected the landowners wishes, with the hope that in the future we may be able to revisit this.  We have our fingers very firmly crossed that others will respect landowners wishes as well.”

Not sure exactly where the 'opening' (by Nick Herbert MP) will take place, but I suspect that just north of the A283 bridge on the (west) riverbank would be the most likely spot, especially as the embankment will give a strategic height advantage for the VIPs ;)

I would only note that MTB riders have been using the west river bank footpath from Bramber to Botolphs for years...