|Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club|
Dear fellow members and friends
25 June 2007
Toll Bridge Ride latest
29 mile ride Allen, Ian, Jim, Joyce
I've also had a message from Bob saying that unfortunately he won't be able to take part this year as he's entered for the National 24 hour championships that day in preparation for the Paris-Brest-Paris. Let's have reports for the circular (and any photos to Fred for the website version) for both of these – when you've recovered, of course, Bob!
If you enter for the Toll Bridge Ride by 30 June – the registration fee is £5. It goes up to £9 after that.
To get the details - http://www.cycling-support.co.uk/. Then click 'Rides 'on the menu, then right-click (PC) or ctrl-click (Mac) the link below Tollbridge
Let me know which distance you're entering for so I can report further next time.
The Next Ride
Sunday 8 July 2007
Christ's Hospital – Southwater – Copsale – West Grinstead – Partridge Green – Henfield – Bramber – Shoreham. About 21 miles, almost all off road. Most of it is the route of the old railway line which closed in 1966.
A bit bumpy and stony in places, but then if you're used to the likes of Pevensey Levels and Vert Wood, it's a doddle! Very flat, except for one short section.
Estimated duration: 4½ to 5 hours assuming an hour's lunch break and a half hour tea break. The Partridge pub is a good place for lunch; it has Harvey's, London Pride, and a good range of comestibles. There is no obvious place for an afternoon cuppa; unless anyone knows a suitable place, we could try one of Shoreham's numerous pubs, or alternatively divert to the Airport when we reach the Toll Bridge.
Depart Brighton on the 10.00 or 10.16 train (arriving Three Bridges 10.32 and 10.40 respectively). I suggest the earlier train and we can overspill onto the later one if we get a stroppy guard. Change at Three Bridges. Depart Three Bridges 10.52, arrive Christ's Hospital at 11.08. You will need a single ticket from Brighton to Christ's Hospital. We can get the train from Shoreham to Brighton (9 and 39 mins past each hour), or the energetic ones amongst us can cycle the 6 miles back home.
Points of interest (or otherwise, with an addition or two by Ian by request):
CHRIST'S HOSPITAL SCHOOL: We will see this on our left at the beginning. It originated in the City of London in the time of King Edward VI, and moved to Sussex 100 years ago. One of the few schools where the pupils still wear the famous 'Blue Coats' (poor bastards!) [According to Ian Nairn the railway station, which dates from 1899 'is actually a better building than the Hospital itself' Platforms 4 and 5 are, he says, 'enchantingly set at an angle to the rest.' Ian]
At SOUTHWATER the old platform, which was still there the last time I visited about 10 years ago, has been obliterated by a crass and pointless (since the old bridge is still there) road development. Nothing remains to even indicate that there was once a station here. Ironically, the County Council's own leaflet on the Downs Link still refers to 'the old platform'.
SOUTHWATER COUNTRY PARK: Here, a similar 'change of use' situation has been handled slightly more sensitively: the old clay quarries that served the local brickworks were flooded and converted into boating lakes. There is a visitor centre which may have some historical info (but don't bet on it). At least we can get a cuppa here.
Luckily, the preservation of industrial heritage receives considerably more than lip service at WEST GRINSTEAD station, where both platforms are still intact, and there is even a signal, and an old railway carriage!
PARTRIDGE GREEN: see above
We will cross the River Adur three times. After skirting round 'Beechings', which – you guessed it – is the housing development that replaced HENFIELD Station – we reach the second of these crossings, and just before it we can glimpse (through the trees on our left.) STREATHAM MANOR, which apparently goes back to mediaeval times [It's described in Nairn and Pevsner as 'The original main manor house of Henfield, by itself on a lonely site beside the Adur and the railway. It was already deserted in Elizabeth's time. Later a farmhouse was made out of one wing of the larger composition. Tile-hung in front, close timbered at the back.' That was in the 1960s when the railway was still there! Ian]
After the river we leave the old railway line, for no apparent reason, and the next couple of miles is on stony lanes and residential roads, and includes some gradients. Eventually we come out at BRAMBER CASTLE, which, together with the adjacent church of St Nicholas, was built in 1073; there is considerably more left of the church than of the castle. [Nairn is much vaguer on dates – probably rightly. He says of the castle that the National Trust 'keeps the site overgrown and romantic.' The motte – as distinct from the larger mound on which it stands which is, apparently, natural, is according to the same source 'Pre-Conquest' – though the castle is as Jim says 11th century. Ian] We may spend a few minutes looking at these before the last stretch of Downs Link to Shoreham; this last bit is of course familiar ground to seasoned Clarionettes.
There is no obvious place for an afternoon cuppa; unless anyone knows a suitable place, we could try one of Shoreham's numerous pubs, or alternatively divert to the Airport when we reach the Toll Bridge.
NOTE: The Downs Link is also a bridleway. Clarion Bylaw No. 198B states that it is an offence for any Clarion member to collect horse manure en route and take it home in a plastic bag. (Bylaw No. 198B was passed five minutes ago at an Emergency General Meeting convened by me, and attended by me).
The Last Ride – Suzanne 's Report
24 June 2007
Jim, Roger and Suzanne met at Brighton station for the 9:50 to Littlehampton and we can report that there were a few other, very damp, people around at that time on a Sunday morning.
Jim, Suzanne and Roger
From Littlehampton we cycled north along the river, photographing en route the sewage farm, included especially for Ian's benefit - but he must have got wind of it and so was not able to be with us. After crossing the remains of an ancient canal we took to the quiet and occasionally muddy lanes through the forest to Binstead.
Slindon cricket memorial
Over the A27 again, past Fontwell Race Course and then to the Holly Tree at Walberton. It was packed. 'Are you part of the seven who are coming to eat?' was their polite way of saying: you can't sit at that table. In spite of reservations galore they did finally squeeze us in, on condition that we ate quickly.
Lord Woolton's commemorative windows
After lunch we popped into the well-cared-for parish church of St Mary's to photograph Lord Woolton's commemorative windows. They pay tribute to his work in Liverpool and London so Jim asked the obvious question: why are they in Walberton? After a quick Google I can now reveal that in 1954 he bought Walberton House plus 160 acres and became squire of the manor; in 1956 when he was made an Earl, he was also given the newly-created title of Viscount Walberton. (Recipes for the wartime favourite 'Woolton Pie' available on request.)
Suzanne and Jim at the church gate
Another photo opportunity at the church gate, and then the last few miles back to Littlehampton flew by. At the station we squelched gratefully onto the train for home (well Hove actually).
And that weather: well, we all know that idyllically sunny, summer Sundays were getting a bit boring, so today's grey skies and continuous rain were a refreshing change.