B2141, Lavant, UK
This Great Road was initially published in issue 57 of Total 911.
Some say the A272 is the best road over the South Downs. And very nice it is, too. But, as we found out when we drove it for this edition, it’s also overused and, unless you’re out at the crack of dawn, you’ll be sharing the Tarmac with countless dawdlers, and overtaking potential is limited.
Still, travel slightly further south and you will find a little gem of a road. The B2141 links the Hampshire village of South Harting with Lavant, near Chichester, in West Sussex, and is eight miles of short but pure driving pleasure.
It’s best to start out in the west, in South Harting (a pretty little place which boasts a decent pub or two, by the way), because that end of the route begins with a cracking steep ascent up to Harting Down.
This is a superb second-gear hillclimb up a winding, wooded road and great fun to blast up. Just watch out for deer – we know of a Lotus Europa (and, no doubt, the deer) being written off here.
It can also get a little bit slippery with fallen leaves on a wet autumn’s day, which, depending on your point of view, can either add to or hinder your enjoyment.
LATITUDE: 50° 58’ 12.08” N/0° 52’ 57.67” W LENGTH OF DRIVE: 8 miles POINTS OF INTEREST: FOOD & ACCOMMODATION: Goodwood Hotel The Royal Oak Inn
Uppark NT country estate
South Downs Way
Goodwood Motor Circuit
Langrish House Hotel
LATITUDE: 50° 58’ 12.08” N/0° 52’ 57.67” W
LENGTH OF DRIVE: 8 miles
POINTS OF INTEREST:
FOOD & ACCOMMODATION:
The Royal Oak Inn
At the top of this short but satisfying climb, you’re treated to spectacular views over the South Downs and across to the Isle of Wight. The road then winds happily along for a mile or two, and passes the tiny hamlet of Hooksway (which has a splendid old pub, the Royal Oak).
It then bypasses Chilgrove village on a temptingly open stretch of road – be warned, though, the police have a habit of lurking around here.
Once you’ve passed Chilgrove, though, things really get good again. You drop down slowly from the hills, the road flattens and widens out – you wouldn’t think it was classified a B – and stretches out ahead of you; a track-like temptation of long, wide bends with superb visibility and plenty of safe overtaking spots.
There are no side-roads to get in the way, and very little traffic to spoil your fun. The only thing you could complain about is that the surface is a bit bumpy in places but, hey, being knocked off-line mid-bend adds to the excitement. There are also farm entrances along here, so look out for tractors and mud on the road.
At the end, you hit a T-junction on the outskirts of Lavant, the end of the road, as it were. Okay, it’s not been a long run but, you know what? You can simply turn round and do it again – and we can guarantee that you’ll be tempted to. Or you can continue through Lavant and on to nearby Goodwood, with all that has to offer the motoring enthusiast.