Cycling around White Cliffs Country

Whether you're an experience long-distance cyclist or just fancy a gentle bike ride, there are many cycle routes and paths criss-crossing this beautiful area. Explore on two wheels happy in the knowledge that your mode of transport is good for the planet and good for you!

White Cliffs Country has an intriguing link to cycling history - a precursor to the bicycle was a four-wheeled contraption called a velocipede, manufactured in the UK in the mid-1800s by Willard Sawyer at his workshops in Dover and Deal. He became known as 'the first truly professional maker of man-powered vehicles'. Read all about this fascinating history on the Dover Museum website.

Back to today, you'll find a great selection of cycle routes along our spectacular coastline and weaving through picturesque countryside and villages. Exploring the area on two wheels is an excellent to see the sites and get a real feel for this amazing place. 

Routes include National Cycle Network Route 1 (Dover to Deal - Deal to Sandwich), which passes the three magnificent coastal castles of Dover, Walmer and Deal, and the incredible Roman fort at Richborough. This section of Route 1 includes a challenging steep climb up to the top of the world-famous White Cliffs of Dover, then downhill to Deal, but you can bypass this section by travelling by train to Deal! It's mostly traffic-free from Deal to Sandwich, following the Ancient Highway, an old Roman road, past three championship links golf courses and the beautiful nature reserves at Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory, taking you into the centre of Sandwich. 

The section from Kingsdown to Deal is known as Kent Coastal Castles Ride.

Two men cycling, one with his arm on the other, along the coast path with Downs Sailing Club in the background
There's a flat cycle path along the seafront from Kingsdown to Deal, ideal for all ages and abilities.

Other cycle routes in the area:

The Skylark Trail takes you through the countryside to the cliffs from Walmer Station to Guston and Dover, following blue signposts. Don’t miss the lovely old church in the pretty village of Ringwould. There are great views of open countryside, old woods and hedgerows along the way. Listen out for skylarks!

The Chalk and Channel Way (Route 2) follows the 7 miles (11km) between Dover and Folkestone to take in the rugged views from the famous White Cliffs. Be prepared for steep climbs before being able to rest your legs as the route drops to sea level as you get to Folkestone. Make sure you read the interesting interpretation panels along the way explaining the heritage and wildlife of the area.

The Sandwich Way follows an imaginative route through beautiful rolling countryside between Whitfield and Sandwich. It is an area of bridleways for off-roaders, past ancient churches, hedgerows and yew trees, and villages with ‘hall house’ buildings dating from medieval times.

Two cyclists heading away from the camera along a street in Sandwich with medieval buildings on either side.
The Sandwich Way ends in the beautiful medieval streets of Sandwich.

Cathedral to Coast (Route 16 & 17) is a 50-mile (80-km) route from Dover through stunning countryside and small hamlets to the cathedral city of Canterbury. The route is largely traffic-free between Dover and Whitfield before joining a network of quiet lanes towards Canterbury. Route 17 (anti-clockwise) heads towards Folkestone via West Hougham. 

The Cantii Way is a 145-mile (234-km) route beginning and ending in the village of Wye, near Ashford. It is designed to be ridden over three to four days in one go, but with regular train stations along its length it could also be split over several weekends. Following part of the North Downs Way Riders’ Route, it takes riders deep into Kent’s rich history, vibrant modern culture and natural beauty. Using a combination of quiet ways, country lanes, byways and bridleways the route is designed to be manageable by anyone of reasonable fitness on most types of bike.

A man in a white t-shirt standing beside his bike with a glass of beer in hand.
There are plenty of places to stop and refuel along our cycle routes.

Cycle Friendly Deal, an initiative funded by the Government's Coastal Community Fund and Deal Town Council, has developed new routes, provided free events and training, installed more cycle parking and created a new Cycling & Walking Map for the town. Deal is perfect for cyclists as it is mostly flat, ideal for young families and older riders.

Bring your own bikes or hire them while you're here and take advantage of our quiet country lanes, designated cycle paths and coastal tracks. You can even take your bike to Betteshanger Park near Deal where you can cycle safely off-road on a 3-km tarmac track and 10km of exciting mountain bike trails through woodland.

Find out more information about cycling in the area on the Explore Kent and Kent Downs National Landscape websites. 

Download our Walking & Cycling with Maps guide or pick up a copy at one of the Visitor Information Centres in the area. 

Happy exploring!