|Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club|
Dear fellow members and friends
Thanks everyone – and especially Fred, Jim and Roger – for keeping everything going while I've been off lotus-eating. Several things to explain/seek your views about.
Christmas Get-Together (or 'Festive Knees-Up' according to Ed!)
The Next Ride
My original plan for this ride was to link together three routes we have used in the past 18 months, by means of the Hassocks–Clayton footpath (which has not featured on any rides I have been on so far), a delightful wood at the foot of Wolstonbury Hill, and the lane that runs westwards along the foot of the downs from Poynings. (Does it have a name?)
Unfortunately the middle section has had to be revised due to pockets of ankle-deep mud (made permanent by horses) and a dead end at the A23. (NB I see the Ordnance Survey has a new symbol for 'Suicide Opportunity': a green dashed line running at a 45 degree angle across a major trunk road!)
Anyway, we will get to Newtimber somehow (probably via Hurstpierpoint), then to Poynings, and then along that lane along the foot of the downs and round the back way into Upper Beeding, where we will have lunch at a familiar watering-hole, The Bridge. We then take a very familiar route to Shoreham (the Downs Link) but must leave it at Coombes Road due to repair work on the St Botolph's footbridge over the Adur. This will no doubt put ideas of a tea stop at Shoreham Airport into our minds; whether we take it or not, we then go over the Toll Bridge and on to the station. Hardened cyclists and masochists then have the option of cycling all the way back to Brighton (another 6 miles); the rest of us will get the train.
Points of interest: Church-fanciers among us will be spoilt for choice. Newtimber Church is 13th century, and has an interesting memorial in the churchyard. Poynings Church is slightly more recent, but more impressive to my untutored eye. There is also St Peter's at Upper Beeding, but we will probably be all churched out by then! We will also see Saltings Field at Upper Beeding, where salt was extracted from the river water in the middle ages.
Catch the 10.00 train from Brighton to Hassocks, or meet at Hassocks station at 10.10 am. Return trains from Shoreham are at 9 and 39 minutes past the hour. My mobile no.: 07742-963239.
The Last Ride – Joyce's Report
Richard, Roger, Amanda, Suzanne, Fred, Sue, Joyce, Nick, Tessa and Alice
We soon left Burgess Hill for a route (for details refer to Roger's email) which was notable for its diversity and for the fact that it managed to be almost hill-less but nevertheless have lovely downward runs. With a clear blue sky, a gentle breeze and the sun, we sailed through quiet lanes with open vistas of fields, and across tracks. This was what Sue called a 'typical Clarion ride'. What she meant was that there was so much to see and so many of us that there were numerous stops with poor Roger trying to 'herd cats' and having to count us all in. And we now had two photographers, since Nick was also doing his bit as well as Fred...
Blackberry stop at Bob Lane
A pause before the off-road bit
The mysterious water feature
What they were looking at
Our first stop was to investigate the 'alternative' energy centre, which consisted of a sort of weir with electrical wires and a camera – all fed by a large solar photovoltaic system. Still not sure what it was all about other than maybe some monitoring system for water flow.
St Giles church
Gatehouse with fierce dogs
Nick photographs enigmatic building
A look at the dinky little church (St. Giles) , then through wonderful dappled woods to a large lake near Shermanbury, with another stop on route to investigate and photograph what was variously identified as an old stable or cricket club, with a tractor that must date from the 1930s.
View of the lake
Foot and mouth warning
Nick, Amanda and Joyce at lunch
The rest were inside
But Sue and Tessa came out for a little sunbathing
Leaving the Old Railway Tavern
Autumn in Blackstone village
Then on to dear old familiar Downs Link for a short ride to Henfield and , at last, lunch at the Railway Tavern chosen over the more upmarket Plough because we were by that time starving and it was nearest. The Railway Tavern turned out to include a Thai restaurant so some people had Thai dishes – others settled for ploughman's lunches.
Tea and cakes with view of Venice
Pleasantly restored after a longish break we set off, again through quiet lanes to Burgess Hill where we further restored ourselves in the half an hour before the train(s) with tea and cake in a delightful cafe (can't remember the name) in the pedestrian section of Burgess Hill. According to my counter we had done 25 miles. A really lovely ride – thanks Roger.