Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  


Dear fellow members and friends

7 September 2006
Last Sunday's ride (see Anne's report below) proved that the Worth Way cycle route is within our range for future outings. It'd be perhaps be good to try and attempt something around the still unnavigated (by us) section of the route (the other side of East Grinstead going out towards Groombridge) though rail connections may prove a problem in that neck of the woods. One to consider for another day.
Easter Meet 2007 - Ride to Hereford
Though I am no further forward in terms of fitness or finalising a route (might need to assistance here Bob!) the plan remains to ride up to Hereford over the 2 or 3 days prior to the Easter Meet. We can hopefully bolster our mileage by meeting up with other Clarion comrades at a pre-arranged point for the ride into Hereford - the greater our total milegage, the greater the chances of securing the Workers Sports Association Trophy:

Clarion Constitution rule 8.3
The Section whose members have aggregated the highest mileage cycled to the Annual Meet shall be awarded the British Workers Sports Association Trophy, provided that all members nominated in the claim have paid the Meet Levy and signed the Register.

Firmer arrangements for the ride can be sorted out early in the new year but in the meatime you can whet your appetite and motivate yourself to join us by admiring the trophy at:
Ian will be back for the next ride details of which follow.

Sunday 17 September
Shoreham – Steyning – Wiston – Buncton – and back
c 20 miles

I thought it might be good to do a ride to take in a lunch stop at the Wiston Post Office Tearooms where many of us took a break during the Shoreham Tollbridge ride while it's still likely to be warm enough to sit outside and enjoy the collection of animals there. And this time we can take our time there without being hurried on!
The route is largely a truncated version of the Tollbridge route. ('New to Clarion' stretch in italics as last time). We'll cross the Toll Bridge and take the Coombes road as far as Botolphs and then avoid the hills at Annington by taking a stretch of the Coastal Link. Through Steyning and towards Ashurst tuning west along Spithandle Lane to Wiston and our lunch stop. Then we'll continue on for just about half a mile and have a look at Buncton Church before almost unavoidably* - doing a couple of miles along the busy A283 back to Steyning from where we'll retrace our steps with the possibility of a tea stop at Shoreham Airport (perhaps at Terminal Two for a change?)

Catch the 10.50 from Brighton station or meet at Shoreham station at 11.05. Return trains are at 9 and 39minutes past the hour. [Or make it a longer ride by cycling to and/or from Shoreham too]

Points of interest. Apart from the hens, ducks, geese, pigs and goats – including if the website is to be believed, the goats, Martha & Honey, Henry the infamous "Ashington pig" who was found wandering in the nearby village of Ashington and his friend George at Wiston tearooms and the view of Chanctonbury Ring still recovering from the 'hurricane' of 1987 the main interest is Buncton Church. This is (part of) how Ian Nairn described it in the Pevsner guide. 'Delightful approach down a wooded ravine and up again. Unrestored Norman nave and chancel with C19 represented only by a bellcote.' We'll also pass, of course going and returning the small medieval churches at Coombes and Botolphs.

* There are two possibilities of avoiding this c 2 miles of busy road.

1) we could retrace our steps (wheels?) back along Spithandle Lane etc.

2) we could use the footpath which becomes a brideway at the back of Wiston House on the lower slopes of the Downs but this, though just about do-able, involves getting over 4 or 5 stiles. In years gone by one could avoid much of the main road (and all of the stiles) by cutting through the Wiston House grounds but now with hi-tech security fences etc this is no longer possible. Hence, putting up with a bit of main road seems to me the best option but we can decide on the day. [Ian]
The Last Ride - Anne's Report
Clarion Ride, 3 September
Low on numbers; High on speed (thrills and views)

No sign of other Clarion clubbers at Brighton station for the 10.46 as Mick and Anne boarded warily, but Neil's friendly wave greeted us at Three Bridges, where he had been waiting for half an hour. As 3 seemed to be total magic number, Neil asked us if we still wanted to proceed. I had been looking forward to the ride and Mick was keen for some sport on the hills. I was wary of taking Neil away from Cara and 18 month old Erin, but he seemed to need some training for the marathon(s!) up to the Clarion Hereford Meet in 2007 with Bob Harber, so we set off through the edge of urban sproil (spoil+sprawl) and out to Worth Way. I think Mick had set his heart on the earliest train back then for some R and R on the sofa, in front of TV!
Mick and I had thought that we had cycled The Worth Way before, but it turned out to be a new section for us and very pretty too, with several ponds and varied trees, plus quite slippery mud; few people enjoying the peace and fresh green lushness of the Sussex Weald, though back in suburbia we had signed an importuning lady's petition, which was objecting to more building and concretisation and later noticed a planning application on the trail, where the 6 miles traffic-free section we were on , would be threatened by overspill road building. Terrain was flat but varied, with some open, High Weald views and some more enclosed and dense patches with oak, birch, cow parsley and bracken, all flashing past. The air was sweet and refreshing, with no sign of sunshine.

Looking back to Ardingly reservoir

Looking back to Ardingly reservoir
The next section was on undulating roads around the Gravetye Manor estate. There wasn't much traffic and what there was was helpful, as my Clarion cap flew off on a delicious downhill treat and I came to a stop a.s.a.p., cursing, as Neil and Mick whizzed way ahead of me. However, a following car had stopped and retrieved the cap, thus relieving me of the task of cycling back uphill. Neil wanted to explore the off-road options afforded by Gravetye Manor and its woods and gardens, all enclosed for the private, expensive pleasures of the haute bourgeoisie. Mick was all for pressing on along the prescribed route, rather than risking wasting time in the woods, so on to East Hoathly and lunch it was, though I’m hoping for a birthday bike ride with luxury lunch at gourmet Gravetye sometime, though not soon!
Neil looked inside The Cat pub, but it was both expensive and busy, so on to The Intrepid Fox as planned. Good views from the patio,which is being improved and might become a garden; not at all busy, interesting menu and obliging chef. Neil had a frugal bowl of hand-cut chips, Mick had hot ham terrine and I had tasty salmon ciabata, with beer pronounced good by both boys. Fellow diner was pressed to photograph Clarion crew with disputed North or South Downs views in background.

Lunch at The intrepid Fox

Lunch at The intrepid Fox
We flew down Hammingden Lane, as promised in the blurb, with extensive views both sides and no traffic. We decided to go for the hilly opton via Ardingly Reservoir and sped off. Whizzed downhill, almost missing the gorgeous reservoirs on either side – no signs of drought now and no time for photographs as fearing the oncoming uphill sections, we hoped to schuss up with help from momentum. Having coped triumphantly with the previous undulations, the serious hills which now faced us, defeated me and I used the camera as an excuse to stop pedalling. At the top of second and final hill, I photographed the pack leaders, with the woods, reservoirs and Weald from our vantage point. Both had kept in the saddle and streaked ahead. We still had 20 minutes before the 3.23 train, so flashing past the closed tea-room at Balcombe, arrived at the station with 10 minutes to spare.

The top of a rather large hill!

The top of a rather large hill!
As well as Neil's prospect of exploring the extensive Gravetye Manor estates to enable more off-road, I was overtaken by 2 cyclists emerging from the Bluebell railway staion at Kingscote; that looked enticing and worth a follow-up, but as it was uphill at that point , they outpaced me before I could grill them. Had, stupidly, left all useful maps at home, but the area is beautiful and train transport worked well.. Thank you very much, Neil, for a super day and we heartily recommend this run and hope for a re-run so that more Clarion clubbers can enjoy it as well. Had the best night's sleep for months and awoke to gorgeous autumn sunshine, but yesterday's cloudy weather suited us for our fine ride.


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