The Next Ride : Sunday 29 November 2015 – Warbling around West Sussex and Hampshire

16 November 2015

Warblington – Walderton – Stoughton – East Marden – Compton – Idsworth – Finchdean – Rowlands Castle – Warblington

Joint ride with Gosport Clarion

Warblington station is on the outskirts of the Portsmouth conurbation, so striking out northeastwards we soon find ourselves in woods and country lanes. We ride past Racton Monument, a ruined 18th-century folly that is said to be haunted. At Walderton we take a lane that runs along the valley of the river Ems (not the 231-mile waterway that runs northwards alongside the Dutch-German border, but a slightly shorter one taking its name from Emsworth, and flowing out between Hayling and Thorney islands).

After East Marden, with its unusual thatched well, we turn westwards, and soon reach Compton, and our lunch stop at the Coach and Horses pub (at around 12:30).

After lunch we’ll continue westwards until we reach the Waterloo-Portsmouth railway line at Idsworth, where St Hubert’s church (1053) has 14th century wall paintings and may be worth a visit. Riding south alongside the railway, we reach Rowlands Castle where we can have tea at “Tea on the Green”. Then back to Warblington and home.

Distance: 22 miles

Duration: about 5½ hours including stops

Terrain: All hard surfaces, mostly quiet lanes. (The B2146/7 is the quietest, nicest B-road I’ve ever been on, but unfortunately the same can’t be said for the unnumbered Emsworth Common Road. The road-numberers have a bit of updating to do, methinks!)

Undulations: Remarkably few, considering that we are basically in the foothills of the South Downs, albeit the “dip” side. There is one short hill of about 1 in 10 gradient, in a quiet lane, which we can walk up in 10 minutes. From a starting height of 15m, we never go above 115m in a 22 mile ride – so about the same height range/distance range as a return trip on the Cuckoo Trail.

Getting there: Take the 09:30 train from Brighton, arriving at Warblington at 10:44. If driving, please note that there is no car park at Warblington station so you might be better off parking at Havant and cycling to Warblington or getting the train at 10:33. Londoners can get the 8:17 from Victoria and change at Havant. We will be moving off sharply at 10:45 (short day) so don’t be late!

Getting home: The sun sets at 4pm so we will be aiming for the 16:35 to Brighton, or if possible the 15:44 (via Havant). Either of these will connect with a London train.


The Last Ride: Sunday 15 November 2015  – Haywards Heath to Crabtree circular

16 November 2015

Mick, Julian and Sikka took the train from Brighton and found Delia waiting at Haywards Heath station. The forecast was for winds of 40+ miles an hour but with Mick willing to lead us, we took our chance!

As it was, the morning was mainly among trees and sheltered from the worst of the wind – and it turned out to be quite a pleasant, warm and dry morning. A few spots of rain in the afternoon but not enough to put on the waterproofs.

Mick led us by the backstreets of Haywards Heath onto a beautiful pathway through a wood, then on to Cuckfield and the A272 – remarkably quiet on this windy Sunday morning. Had the wind put off drivers as well as cyclists?

Soon turning right into Pickwell Lane, and the beginning of a roller-coaster ride along narrow, often tree-lined lanes with a series of turns following Broxmead Lane and London Road and into Jeremy’s Lane. Then Colwood Lane, and Cross Colwood Lane to join Spronkett’s Lane, Bull Lane and Picts Lane. A bewildering maze of small, quiet roads meandering among tall, brightly leaved trees, and the ground a mass of fallen green, yellow and russet leaves of all shapes and sizes. A spectacular kalidescope of autumn colours – but unfortunately none of us remembered to take any photos!

A short stretch of the A281 brought us to the Crabtree for lunch, arriving an hour early. Julian and myself well stretched by the morning’s ride, the other two seemingly fresh as daisies! The food was gourmet and delicious and three of us indulged in desserts to stock up for the afternoon’s challenge.

Pleasant conversation over lunch terminating with a discussion of the various internal parasites we could harbour in our guts – time to leave!

Some more quiet, picturesque roads and lanes in the afternoon, including a well-surfaced off road track, thence through Warninglid, and a final few miles along smooth, relatively flat, main roads to Haywards Heath station. ( 20.06 miles.)

A beautiful, varied ride, tarmac and well-surfaced off-road, lots of ‘undulations’ and some very long down-hill runs. Thank you Mick for braving the weather forecast!



16 November 2015

Dear All

As always at this time of year attention turns to plans for 2016.  As you’ll see below I’ve scheduled our traditional New Year “Brunch” ride for 2 January – which worked well last year.  But it’s always possible that weather forecasts may dictate a last minute change.

Beyond this I’m working on the notion that with the first Sunday of the year falling on 3 January we wouldn’t want to schedule the first “proper” ride of the year for that date.  We might, after all, if the forecast so suggested, end up with postponing our New Year ride till then.

So, I’m thinking that our first ride – apart from that – should be on 10 January. That is if I’ve worked it out right – please check yourself and let me know if I’ve got it wrong  – wouldn’t be the first time!

One advantage of this date is that on a fortnightly schedule from it we will miss the beginning of BST on 27 March.  However, if we continue it for the rest of 2016 one of our rides will fall on the end of BST on 30 October.  We don’t need to take a decision on this until nearer the time, of course, but it doesn’t hurt to think about it now.  There seem to me two possibilities.

To schedule 30 October, the argument being that it’s much more important to avoid the beginning of BST than the end.  Inconvenient if you turn up an hour early for a ride but much less so than if you are an hour late!

To skip 30 Oct and have the ride on 6 Nov with consequent changes till the end of the year

As I’ve already said no need to make a decision about this until much nearer the time but I will, from the next issue of this newsletter, assume we are going for a 10 January “proper” start unless anyone tells me I’ve got it wrong.

Christmas festivities

Those of us going to the Christmas lunch at the Café Rouge (Brighton Marina) will need to act on Angela’s instructions(below) before too long – though I will repeat this in the next issue – just in case

With regard to choosing what you would like to eat, Café Rouge have asked that this be done at least one week before 16th December and this can be done online through their website. Please make sure that when making the booking, you make it clear that you are with the ‘Clarion Cycling Group’ as this is the name under which the booking has been made.

This link should work

Otherwise on the website go to “Menus” then “Festive Menus” and choose from the “Christmas Party” menu. Any queries to Angela on  01273 304739.


The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s 

16 November 2015

From “Cycle Trifle” in The Clarion, 8 May 1897 Do we still have trouble with dogs, I wonder?


The Next Ride: Sunday 15 November 2015 – Haywards Heath to Crabtree circular

3 November 2015

It has to be admitted that this ride has a few “undulations” and a couple of stretches of busy road, but this is more than compensated for by cycling some of the finest sunken lanes in Sussex, more or less traffic-free and some magnificent views. We leave from Haywards Heath Station (where there is a lift to and from the platform if required).

We make our way via Harlands Road and a path through some woods to Cuckfield High Street from there via the A272 to the wonderful Pickwell Lane, from there we go along Broxmead Lane and London Road to Jeremy’s Lane with its vista to the South Downs, then down Colwood Lane and Cross Colwood Lane until we join Spronkett’s Lane, take a left along Bull Lane and carry on along Picts Lane.

All of these lanes with their expressive names are a delight to cycle on. Then we hit the A281 and ride less than a mile to The Crabtree for lunch. After lunch we ride down Mill Lane, after the first half mile this becomes an unpaved private road, not ideal for a road bike with 23mm tyres but a decent surface. From there we go up Longhouse Lane to Warninglid and a straightforward route back to Haywards Heath.

About 20 miles

There are frequent trains to Haywards Heath and for the return.

We propose to catch the 10.07 which takes just 12 minutes.  Meet at Haywards Heath station at 10.19.

Some idea of numbers for lunch would be useful. My mobile is 07803730401.

As always on winter rides there is the possibility of bad weather so if the forecast is really bad check your email.


The Last Ride: Sunday 1 November 2015 – Shoreham to Littlehampton “Circular?”

3 November 2015

Start at Shoreham Station

David had long wanted to create a safe ride from Shoreham Beach along the coast to Littlehampton avoiding the busy A259, railway crossings, roundabouts and traffic lights, since the days when Linda used to cycle with us.  Now she travels as far as Venice, but did today join the ride at Widewater.  The pre-start photo at Shoreham-by-the-Sea Station south-side thus did not include her.  David’s camera was wielded by a kindly van driver to record Angela, Chris, David, Delia, Julian, Richard and Sikka.  Julian and Sikka had come by train, Angela and Delia had brought their cycles by car, Chris and David had cycled there.  At 10.30 we set off passing St Mary de Haura Church and crossed over the new Adur steel swing-bridge and then west on the Shoreham beach road to Widewater still in the mist with little to see apart from two Little Egrets and a few Swans. 

Flock of Little Egrets
Here are the egrets David saw on the recce

No sign of the usual Little Grebes, or Cormorants hanging out their wings to dry.

cormorants on Widewater Lagoon
But here are some cormorants David saw on the recce

After passing the Lancing Sailing Club and the Green we carefully cycled past the doors of the newly-opened Perch Café on the beach, from which the wafts of cooking spoke of an early lunch: and Chris said his wife had found it a good buy.  The coastal path followed to Worthing Pier and on to the end of the promenade and after passing a newly sown field with gulls resting and a flock of dunlins busily pecking away, we turned briefly inland to the end of Marine Drive into Ferring and a strong-coffee stop at the Bluebird Café.  Then the able men lifted the cycles up onto the beach and soon after over a five-barred gate as well.  We cycled carefully through quiet, private roads of the rich and famous, eventually, as David put it, to be disgorged into Sea Lane and the beach in Rustington.  A short ride along the promenade of the newly-developed harbour in Littlehampton, got us to the Harbour Lights café in the Look and Sea building by 12.50, after about 13 miles.  Delia and Linda sat outside and the other six had a reserved table against a mirror wall.  The meals were scoffed down with coffee, beer and lemonade, which included soup, fish pie, jacket potatoes with tuna and baked salmon.  Just outside a loving mother Swan was caring for her two handsome large cygnets with their perfectly clean feathers.

Coffee at Bluebird Cafe

The return journey was blessed at 2.50 pm with sunlight and a blue sky until we reached the Sea Lane Café where Delia, Linda and Sikka decided to continue on.  It soon got cold and misty and after coffee, hot chocolate and apple crumble and a concerned discussion about the lack of jobs for school leavers, Angela, Chris, David and Julian slogged their way back past Widewater where three Little Grebes were diving, but again not much to see.  Just before the Adur bridge Chris and David said goodbye, leaving Angela and Julian to return to the Shoreham Station where the barrier was down for trains in each direction, and once re-opened Angela went to her car to squeeze in her cycle, and Julian just missed an eight coach train and waited 15 minutes for a four coach train to dismount at Hove Station, finally reaching home at 5.30 pm.

Thank you to David for a ride with no “undulations” along the 26 miles, so welcome after Jim’s last two rides, though there were a range of rigid speed bumps across the private roads.



3 November 2015

Dear All

So, thanks to Anne and Mick we have a ride for 15  November – and Leon and Joyce were looking at one too – perhaps now in the New Year?

If you feel you’d like to lead a ride in 2016 – and we can certainly do with a few new volunteers to give a bit of relief to the “usual suspects” – but are short of ideas, there are several detailed sets of ride directions on Jim’s web page at

You’ll recall that a few issues back I mentioned my frustration of being unable to put myself down for the traditional final ride of the year – the Berwick, Golden Cross, ride featuring lunch at the Yew Tree which has been a feature since 2004. In the very early days we used The Lamb at Ripe as the lunch stop.  But I think a Twineham/Wineham circular based on Hassocks and with lunch at the Royal Oak and a possible tea stop at Washbrooks Farm will do almost as well.

Forwarded by Leon

Dieppe Raid 2016

Next year’s event is on the weekend of 26th June. I am still awaiting information from a ferrygroup regarding the group travel. When I spoke to them this morning, they said that they hope to have the information around mid-December. Once I have this information I will publish the entry form and advise about the ferry bookings. Look out for updates on

Please feel free to pass these details on to anyone who you believe may be interested. The more, the merrier. If you would like to help us spread the word then I would be happy to send you some cards to hand out to other cyclists. Just let me know how many cards you would like me to send and the address they should be sent to.

If you use Facebook then why not consider joining the Dieppe Raid group? You can then optionally receive notifications of any information that may be of interest. Use this link to access the Facebook page

If you came along with us this year then I would be pleased to have any photos you may like me to upload on our website. Drop me an email and I can send you a link to my Dropbox account.

Best wishes

Caroline Street

Also from Leon

Somehow I missed this when going through my emails last month. It was sent to the googlegroup but I think we should give it an airing in this newsletter too.


In search of tranquillity.

Sunday morning shining bright –
two cyclists prepare the silent flight –
The route is planned and food is stashed and to the bikes our load is lashed –
The road is dry and sky is sunny –
we check our pockets for teatime money –
Down to the seafront in haste we travel –
only to meet hoards of motorbike rebels –
Hundreds and thousands block our track –
but we are not for turning back –
On we push and off we get –
till noise and fumes do make us fret –
Then out from the squeeze we ease to find –  the tranquility we seek is within our mind.
Original, by Leon.


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