|Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club|
Reports from Summer 2005
Sunday 11 September
Tessa, Joyce and Neil
Tessa and Neil living dangerously!
Neil and Tessa take lunch
The bridleway to Westmeston opened out into an area surrounded by fields contrasting with the woodland we had just passed through. A field of beans caught our interest, they were brown and withered and rattled in their pods. Were they soya? Or a new breed of mini broad bean? We couldn't decide.
We visited Clayton Church to see the frescoes and tried to have tea at the Jack and Jill pub.
Berwick – Horam – Berwick
Neil, John, Mei, Suzanne, Ian and Roger at Berwick station
Ian led the way along the gently undulating foot (or more like, big toe) of the Downs to join the Cuckoo Trail just south of Hailsham. John, Neil, Fred, Roger, Suzanne and Mei gratefully followed. Look out for possible imminent Bank Holiday congestion charging on local trails. This one was packed with walkers, ramblers, strollers and dog exercisers, not to mention the full range of cyclists from men on mountain bikes to tots in trailers.
Neil, Mei, Roger and Suzanne
Sustrans 'chuggers' accosting passing cyclists on the Cuckoo Trail
The dappled shade of the Cuckoo Trail
The May Garland at Hailsham
At lunch – it was a carvery, but Neil and Fred negotiated a veggie version!
Neil, John, Fred, Ian, Mei and Roger
John parted company with us to cycle (what appeared to the rest of us) the punishing two hours to get back home to Tunbridge Wells. Now we were six and ready for the graceful slide back down the hill to Berwick.
Outside Farley Farm – note blue plaque on the left
The Berwick Inn for tea
This we found in the pub at Berwick Station. No need to look at our watches to check the time of the train. As the barriers started to come down over the level crossing the remaining five Southern Trains-borne cyclists wandered over the road and on to the platform, in perfect time to board the train at the end of a perfect day.
Sunday 14 August
Trains do take some of the strain and are reliable if not cheap, some of the time – most of all today when I was late due to the traffic crawl between Lewes and Glynde where a 'famous five' cyclists were awaiting – namely Ian, Tessa, Angie and first timers Roger and Mei.
Helen, Angie, Mei, Roger and Tessa
We headed uphill south of Glynde to the A27 and eastwards, turning north to Ripe and then on to Golden Cross to cross the A22. The pull and draw of the Six Bells at Chiddingly was hard to resist. We sat outside in a beautiful sunny spot with jazz in the background wafting with the culinary delights from inside.
Ready to go – Mei and Roger at Glynde station
Angie and Helen at Glynde station
On, with waterproofs on and off several times – but eventually more off than on. We pedalled on to East Hoathly – where disappointingly the tea-shop was closed even to browse the crafts on sale there. Back along and across the A22, a sigh of relief on quieter roads again. Reassured that my bike was intact because at least one of the others noticed juddering on their bike we rode to a next stop – the llamas.
They held our attention for a while as they for a while as they paraded their wares/assents – real fashion icons. Then round the corner as we dealt with the hill, our attention was diverted to seem them pronking by the field full.
The lovely downhill was curtailed by having reached our delightful tea stop at Glynde Place and with the slight diversion of the church with flock fabric on the walls. The sun shining and clear skies, sitting outside in the garden the conversation flowed. Eventually we tore ourselves away for the 'arduous' short downhill back to the station. A lovely day had been had by all. Hope more of you will join us next time.
Sunday 31 July
Neil, Joyce and Ian at the station
Under Balcombe Viaduct
Lunch at The Oak
Setting off from The Oak, Ardingly
Stepney at the Bluebell line
Tea at The White Horse, Lindfield
Sunday 17 July
Tessa and Marilyn at Polegate station
The weather was perfect as we set off on the Cuckoo Trail enjoying the dappled shade. We soon took a turning onto a bridleway that led us across the A22 on a bridge parallel to the Cuckoo Trail. We continued through the small roads of Pevensey Levels to Westham and Pevensey Castle where a passer by offered to photograph us with the castle as a backdrop. He left his sunglasses behind but we chased after him to return them.
Neil, Manu, Tessa, Marilyn and Helen at Pevensey Castle (the passer by who took the photo of the whole group didn't press the button hard enough!)
Tessa, Marilyn and Helen at Pevensey Castle
We headed down to the sea at Cooden Beach having voted not to take a detour to Norman's Bay. It was lovely to get a glimpse of the sea and feel the cooling breeze, especially as we were about to meet our first hill!
A brief stop to pump up Helen's tyre turned into a rather longer interlude as it kept deflating yet didn't seem to be a puncture and so baffled everyone.
Once sorted we carried on, rather hungry by now, for 5 miles to the Red Lion at Hooe, contending with more hills on the way. The menu was varied and delicious and Ian pointed out that the licence had been in the same family since 1912. We obviously looked hungry as we were offered an extra plate of chips for free. We fell on it even though we had eaten and Ian was quizzed as to the location and distance of the tea stop.
The biggest hill came after lunch, only 3 of us managed it without dismounting. To Wartling down an ungraded road sprouting tufts of grass in the middle. A wider busier road led us south almost to Pevensey roundabout. Although flat it was hard going as we were riding into a headwind.
Back along the levels where beyond the reeds I spotted butterflies and horses. Marilyn pointed out a dumped washing machine which shattered my reverie. We passed through Rickney and back on to the Cuckoo Trail. We nearly missed the turning for the Old Loom Mill where we were just in time to order tea and cakes from a rather fraught staff. It had obviously been a long hot Sunday. A couple of miles back to the station where we went our separate ways after a delightful day out.
Sunday 3 July
As well as regulars Joyce, Fred and myself, one of our newest members, Mark, came on this ride.
Joyce, Mark and Ian entering the 'licensed bridle way'
I contrived to run over something jarring near Earwig Corner as we left Lewes and had some temporary problems with my carrier which had lost both its bolts and acquired the nasty habit of responding to the weight of my pannier by describing an arc which ended with hitting the ground behind the back wheel. We managed to lash it up in the end.
The first stretch of 'track' on what was once the old Lewes-Uckfield railway line was ride-able, but the stretch from Anchor Lane to Isfield was partially walked.
Into the woods
In the middle we made a small diversion to the Anchor Inn. It was only just opening and having stared dutifully at the Renoir-esque river scene with its moored punts we decided not to stay for coffee or a beer and continued on our way, stopping instead for lunch at the Laughing Fish at Isfield - where we encountered the Brighton CTC who – characteristically – had ridden about five time further than us in about the same time. (But we'd probably walked more and 'stopped and started' more.)
The Laughing Fish, Isfield
Saddle tank at the Lavender Line
Fred checked out the Lavender Line next door to the pub – which made his day – and after a leisurely lunch we sped on – well trundled on – to Piltdown.
Piltdown Pond– but no sight of the Piltdown Man!
The road between Piltdown pond and Offham is, in my opinion, one of the best country lanes in our area, in part because it crosses no main roads for such a long stretch and Barcombe Cross is the only place of any size at all that you pass through. We had a stop there for tea at the Royal Oak.
Mark treated us to tea at the Royal Oak
The Royal Oak, with corrugated iron 'prefab' extension
We've used the track that comes out near Offham Church a couple of times – but as an 'escape' from Lewes.
This time we used it to return; a bit hair-raising in places due to the downhill gradient, but we took it gently and with only one small diversion caused by my over-confidence that I knew the route (when I clearly didn't!) arrived back at Lewes in good time.
The London-Brighton BHF Ride 2005
The Last Ride
'Seen Richard?' Joyce and I asked each other when we met up at the start in Ricardos car park. Neither of us had, and whereas we were sure he had intended to participate, we all know that things can arise at the last minute. Having ascertained as far as possible that he hadn't already left, Joyce left a note for him with her mobile number. If he rang we would wait for him at some convenient point along the route.
Joyce and Ian at the first refreshment stop at Steyning
So, we set off along the Coombes road and through Steyning with a brief stop at the organisers' refreshment point. Then a few hundred yards up the Ashurst road, Joyce spotted someone waiting on a bike a little ahead. 'I think it's Richard!' she said. And it was – sporting the number 101 compared to our 40 and 58; if he started that long after us how could he possibly be ahead?
After we had met up with Richard at the second refreshment stop (at
In fact he'd cycled from home and had problems finding the start. He was so late that Les Robinson gave him a lift to near where we encountered him. [Honour was more than satisfied in that the ride to and from the start was much longer than the few miles skipped between Shoreham and Steyning.] The route was pleasant and the weather ideal – dry and fairly warm but with a welcome light breeze. We stopped for a (free) cup of tea at Shipley Community Centre, and a little further down the road to have a quick look at Hilaire Belloc's windmill.
Soon we were on the outskirts of Wiston and about to follow the route arrows along Spithandle Lane to Horsebridge Common when I spotted a bunch of cars parked on both sides of the road about a hundred yards further on. 'Must be the Wiston Tea Rooms', I thought. And so it turned out to be. Neither Joyce nor Richard had been there before – and the number of tables and beasts of both the feathered and four-legged varieties had increased since I was last there a good few years back. So we had a pleasant stop.
The really lovely tea place at Wiston where we had an unauthorised stop
Ducks at the Wiston tea place
Only thing was that that the ride organisers' sweep van checking on slowcoaches such as us had naturally not come down off the route to check on the tearooms. All the direction arrows had vanished for the rest of our return trip – not that that was a problem. We struggled up the steep hill at Annington with me making a mental note that on rides this way in future we'll take the stretch of the Coastal Link down to Botolphs and avoid this one. We arrived at the finish just before 3. We were not apparently the very last to finish. We were told that a couple of 'young folk' had insisted on completing the longest (38 mile to our 32) ride by climbing the Bostal ('good luck to them'. we thought!).
Collecting our medals at the end
And so the ride ended with us resplendent with our very impressive medals complete with yellow ribbon to hang them round our necks. The latest on the Toll Bridge seems to be that though plans for the initial work were finalised some time ago the proceedings are currently being held up by delays on the part of English Heritage.
Sunday 5 June – Annie's Report
Ian, Jim, Annie and Fred at Berwick station
Four of us, Joyce, Jim, Fred and myself, met Ian at Berwick station and we made our way to Michelham Priory; there was a flower show and a wedding on but we weren't properly dressed so we looked at Mr & Mrs Swan and their cygnets and learnt that the river Cuckmere was re-routed to make the moat.
Cygnets in the moat
We then made our way to Wilmington, stopping off at a viewing point on the way to look at the Long Man, it seemed to have an important appendage missing but then we realised that we were confusing it with the Cerne Abbas Giant.
Joyce, Ian and The Long Man
At this point Jim also realised that his helmet was missing (but the two things are not related). We stopped for a very edible lunch at the Sussex Ox (approx 8 and a half miles of cycling).
We then cycled through Alfriston and stopped to look at the village green and the church, the Clergy House next to the church is notable because it was the first National Trust property ever purchased (in 1896).
Joyce, Jim, Ian and Annie in Alfriston
A short cut thought the oil-seed rape fields
Stiles are no obstacle to the Clarion!
We then headed for Berwick, Joyce realised that her newly purchased saddle cover was missing, so we went into the church to pray to St Anthony* and look at the paintings by members of the Bloomsbury Group (Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and Quentin Bell).
Annie inside Berwick church
We decided that there wasn't time to stop for tea in Selmeston so we cycled back via the old coach road and across the main road to Berwick station. Jim was reunited with his helmet, but Joyce is still waiting for St Anthony to answer her prayers. This was the first Clarion ride I had been on and I found the pace leisurely and the day very enjoyable.
*the patron saint of lost things
Sunday 22 May – ride from Chichester. Sheila's report. Photos by Fred.
Richard, Sheila, Sharen, Joyce and Ian
At the end of the path there was a heated discussion about whether to take the picturesque longer route even though we were we not meant to cycle along a small section of it, or take the shorter route along a busier road. We decided for the picturesque but took the wrong road and had to come back. Eventually we took the correct road and turned of the main road and cycled down lovely narrow roads with hedges full of cow parsley. We cycled through North Mundham and Fisher before a small discussion with two young men who told us what we already knew, that we shouldn't really have been cycling along this track.
The Crab and Lobster
We eventually arrived at Sidlesham on the edge of Pagham Harbour and stopped for lunch at The Crab and Lobster. We ate well in the garden there. It is certainly a pub worth remembering. Ian meanwhile sat on a seat at the edge of Pagham Harbour and communed.
St Nicholas church, Ichenor
After lunch we cycled west through Earnley and Bracklesham and through suburban East and West Wittering. We then wended our way north towards the ferry at West Ichenor.
On the Itchy Bosom Ferry
The ferryman managed to get all six of us and six bikes (and his dog) on a very small ferryboat. The tide was about as far out as it could possibly be so the journey had to be very short (no deck quoites for us).
The world's most expensive ferry (£1.50 each + 50p per bike)
We pushed the bikes over seaweed and were soon cycling round the harbour at Bosham. There we took a democratic decision to stop for tea and toasted teacakes.
Into Bosham at low tide
Mariners Coffee Shop, Bosham
We set off again and soon came upon a well marked cycle route that took us right back to Chichester Station. By the end we had cycled about 25 very pleasant miles. Many thanks to all for their company.