The Next Ride: Sunday 29 May 2016

17 May 2016

Chichester 360°

An anti-clockwise ride around Chichester, starting and ending at the station.

We head east towards a cyclist friendly footbridge over the cyclist unfriendly A27 and then south along a track across the lakes towards North Mundham. Note St Stephen’s Church on our right, which can trace its heritage back to the Domesday Book; the tower was built around 1500 and the rest of what can be seen now is mainly a Victorian restoration.

On through Runcton (smart houses and manicured gardens), then we cross the A259 and join the B2144 which will take us right up to the city walls. Here we experience a huge but very cycle friendly roundabout; we’ll take the 4th exit, just after the church, onto the A286 where we’ll find lunch at the Bell Inn.

There is one design fault with this otherwise perfectly crafted ride: the only serious climb comes just after lunch; it’s the first half mile up College Lane past Chichester University – sorry!

As we leave the city’s northern suburbs we’ll take a short stretch of footpath alongside a pleasant stream and then join Fordwater Road down into Lavant. Peaceful country lanes take us through idyllic countryside, look out at one point for a large solar panel array on the left. At Brandy Hole copse we can pause to read about the origin of its name.

The final section of the ride takes us through a hillside suburb; look out for a fine view of Chichester cathedral just before we join the Centurion Way for our run down to the station.

11 am at Chichester Station (south side).
Getting there: 10.00 train from Brighton; 10:04 or 10:20 from Hove
Distance: 18 miles
Undulations: Short climb just after lunch, otherwise gentle.
Terrain: mainly on-road with some track & footpath
Catering: lunch at The Bell Inn; option for tea at the canal basin at the end of the ride.
Getting home: trains leave Chichester for Hove and Brighton at 23 & 53
My mobile: 0789 985 1172


The Last Ride. Sikka’s Report

17 May 2016

Sunday 15 May 2016 – LEWES  TO  BERWICK

Winterbourne Stream

The Winterbourne Stream in Lewes Railway Land Nature reserve

Jim, Julian, Haider, Sikka and Anne took the train from Brighton and sailed through Lewes and then Glynde and on to Berwick!   We couldn’t get out!    None of us  had ever known a train be too long for the platform in Lewes and we were all stuck in coach number 7!

Fortunately, Jim had the presence of mind, when we were finally released at Berwick, to get us on the next train back – due in 7 minutes.   We raced over the crossing and managed to emerge in Lewes by 10.   Mic had cycled from Brighton, Angela had driven from Saltdean and Sean had arrived from Plumpton Green.  We were reunited.

Jim had planned to deliver a lecture on historic station buildings and give us a guided tour of the Lewes Railway Land Nature Reserve.   However, just as we entered the Reserve, Sean had a puncture.   Jim once more to the rescue replacing the inner tube with one provided by Anne, and cut short the tour.  All completed by 10.30 am – the usual time for a Clarion ride to begin!


L-R: watching the workman: Sikka, Haider, Jim, Sean, Anne, Angela, Julian. Doing the work: Mick

Jim was somewhat put out that a poster advertising 150 years of the Seaford line, ignored the fact that only the Newhaven to Seaford bit of the line was actually laid in 1864!   There were a few more salient facts concerning the history of the Brighton, London, Uckfield and Hastings lines linking to Lewes, and then it was time to move on.


A map from the book “Haywards Heath to Seaford” by Vic Mitchell and Ketih Smith, showing Lewes Station soon after the third and present station was built, in 1889. The second station was a similar shape to the third but was further north, near the building labelled “Sorting Office”, and utilised the tracks still shown towards the top of the map, retained as goods tracks for a while but ultimately becoming Railway Lane. The first station was a terminus, somewhere near the Goods Depot shown at top centre. Note that in those days platform 3 (which was then platform 6) was even shorter than it is now!

We cycled along the track by the river Ouse, and up a footpath to Church Lane. Here Jim led some of the group to peer over the parapet of the old railway bridge and  railway cutting, remnants of the old Uckfield line.

Old railway line

The view from the bridge, looking north

We then cycled up Church Lane to cross the A26 at the pedestrian crossing, turned right and took Mill Lane up and over onto the cycle track leading to Ringmer, thus avoiding the horrendous Earwig Corner crossing into the B2192!

Another delightful detour at the end of this track took us into Gote Lane and round the back of Ringmer on quiet roads, turning left at Springett Avenue and across the B2192.   We enjoyed lovely quiet roads for the rest of the morning, passing Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum where we dutifully admired the statue of a fox.

After crossing the A22, on the road to Framfield we tried to catch a glimpse of Hoogstraten’s house, but the trees were too tall.   More quiet, gentle lanes, including Hollow Lane, and in honour of this memorable name, Jim brought the poem The Hollow Men which Anne read out to us over lunch.

We arrived rather late at The Kings Head in East Hoathly, but were able to order food – reasonably priced and good. Over the meal the EU referendum was discussed as well as the Eurovision song contest; Jim took a photo of King Charles’ death warrant on the wall of the pub, and later, after reviewing world politics,  we descended into an exchange of ‘cheese jokes’.

Death Warrant

The death warrant

After lunch we made our way to Berwick station and had a lovely ride along a good track through Vert Wood, by-passing the village of Ripe and arriving in time to have drinks at the Berwick Inn before catching our train home.

Thank you Jim for a lovely day – and a bit of an adventure at the beginning!


The Hollow Men (by T.S. Eliot)

Mistah Kurtz-he dead
A penny for the Old Guy

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us-if at all-not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.


Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death’s dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind’s singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death’s dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer-

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom


This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death’s other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness

Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.


The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death’s twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.


Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow

Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow

For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.


17 May 2016

16 May 2016                                                             

Dear All       

Sorry about my mistake about Sue’s ride in the last issue. Thanks to Jim, it was spotted pretty quickly and I was able to send out a correction before too much damage was done.

We still have no one volunteering for 12 June so first offer gets the job as usual.

I’m very short of material for this newsletter. Please send me anything you think people would find interesting for the next one. In the meantime here’s something I came across while in the course of some research I’m doing about the British Left and the First World War.

Fortunately, Jim and Sikka have sent me the whole of T S Eliot’s Hollow Men to include – at least I suppose that is the idea – so that will more than make up for rather less  to read here.

I only noticed it after I’d photographed the page it appeared on for quite different reasons.  That’s why it is a bit skewiff and not 100% complete – but readable I think’  It’s from Justice the British Socialist Party weekly early in 1915. Anyone for quadrille classes?



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

17 May 2016

More from the ‘Club Stewpot’ in The Clarion, 27 February 1897, discussing the whereabouts of the Easter Meet.


The Next Ride: Sunday 15 May 2016 – Lewes to Berwick

4 May 2016

Ringmer – Palehouse Common – East Hoathly –
Whitesmith – Vert Wood – Ripe

I love those lanes to the north-east of Ringmer – Norlington Lane, Green Lane, Harveys Lane, Bradford’s Lane – and the lanes around Ripe: Mill Lane, Mark Cross Lane, Langtye Lane. Nice and flat, narrow and quiet, give or take the odd horse.

On previous rides we’ve tended to turn west after the fox statue, and make for Isfield. Maybe that is what Sue has in mind for her ride on June 26th; but we will venture eastwards today, and take in the delights of Palehouse Common and Hollow Lane (which might bring to mind a certain poem by T S Eliot …) before arriving at our lunch stop, the King’s Head in the delightful little Sussex village of East Hoathly which, in true Sussex tradition (think of the Grinsteads and Chiltingtons) is nowhere near West Hoathly.

A semi-traverse of Vert Wood if not too muddy, then into that lovely flat, open countryside to the north of the Downs (Laughton Levels?) and so to Berwick Station.


Start at Lewes Station at 09:30.

Trains: Get the 09:12 Bexhill train from Brighton to Lewes. It will probably be an electric train with plenty of space for bikes, as the maggots are resting today. On arrival in Lewes, remain on Platform 3 for a quick look at the latest railway history poster, and a game of guess-what-they-left-out. Then an optional repeat of my brief history of Lewes Station if anyone wants it.

Length: 25 miles.

Duration: 6 hours including lunch and cat herding.

Getting back: Trains leave Berwick hourly for Brighton at 40 minutes past the hour. If we arrive at the wrong time, the Berwick Inn has a bouncy castle we can play on.

Terrain: Flat – we never go above the 75m contour, and any “climbs” we might encounter are gentle ones. There is a very short section of the B2192, but otherwise quiet lanes and a reasonably hard track through Vert Wood. If not too muddy, we can also go via the Lewes Railway Land Nature Reserve at the start of the ride.

This is a linear ride; anyone arriving by car can park at Lewes Station and get the train back there from Berwick; or park at Berwick and get the train to Lewes.


The Last Ride. Julian’s Report

4 May 2016

Brighton Palace Pier to Seaford via Newhaven. 1 May 2016

Sean and I waited until 10.10, but no one else appeared, and so just the two of us set off. The wind was light but cool and it was sunny with gently changing high altitude long cirrostratus clouds. At first along Madeira Drive we went within constricting barriers being prepared to protect vehicle exhibits. Then after Black Rock the undercliff path was not too congested with the adults, children in prams and on mini-scooters, dogs and a few other cyclists, and we heard and saw a few Fulmars. After the steep climb up out of Saltdean followed by the rapid descent we started on the labyrinthine back streets of Telscombe Cliffs to reach the northern parts of Peacehaven ending on the bus 12 route until turning off through Lower Hoddern Farm. Just beyond Hoddern Farm with its horse activities and a few overflying swallows, we had to get each bike on its side under the locked steel gate, but then gazed at the wonderful views across to Lewes castle, the white chalk cliffs of Cuilfail and to the east the Mount Caburn iron age hill fort, before zooming down into Piddinghoe village. A busy stretch of the road into Newhaven had to be endured until we reached the peacefully located harbour-side Ark pub, where Sean had his Lewes-brewed essential Harveys ale, while I had a pint of lemon and lime. The first ten miles had taken us exactly two hours.

After this short break, we went on the newly resurfaced path round the Ouse Estuary Nature Reserve (as we did on 10 January), we saw a green brimstone butterfly and then reached the concrete way along the top of the shingle beach from Buckle into Seaford and on to the shore cafe just past the Martello Tower. Here Sean had a cup of tea and I ate a gorgeous mincemeat-filled thick pastry slice. We then biked to the Seaford railway station completing a further five miles from Newhaven. The ticket office was closed, the train had no guard to sell us tickets and it stopped at every station on the way back to Brighton. Sean got off at London Road and I changed to the Hove train on which I finally bought my ticket.



4 May 2016

Dear All

Good to see that we now have May and August covered, as well as one of the June rides and one of the July ones – which is most of the Spring and Summer. But we still need volunteers for the rides on June 12 and July 24. If you are new to leading rides do have a look at Roger’s excellent guide.

Julian’s mention of the Martello Tower at Seaford got me thinking about coastal defences in Sussex over the centuries. One characteristic all, or at least most, of them have in common is that they cost an awful lot but never really got to be tested. I suppose, if you leave aside a few pre-historic hill forts the earliest is the magnificent Roman fort – Anderida – at Pevensey, which centuries later saw a Norman castle tucked into a small segment of it. Arundel, Bramber and Lewes castles are a few miles from the coast of course but they guard key strategic points in the rivers most open to be used by invasion fleets. Then we have Henry VIII’s series of forts designed to house batteries of cannons all along the South Coast, the Sussex example being Camber.

The Martello towers – not as Fred would have it Portillo Towers – were built all over the, then, British empire in the nineteenth century. They took their name from Martella in Corsica where an originally Genoese fort designed by Giovan Fratino back in the 1560s impressed British naval officers when it successfully resisted an attack by two of their warships in 1794. Dumouriez, the former French revolutionary general and now military advisor to the British government had a hand in suggesting that a variant of the design was what was needed to guard against a Napoleonic invasion. Rather ironically by the time a number were built around the SE corner of England – Seaford’s being the most westerly one – the battle of Trafalgar had made such an invasion a pretty remote possibility.
It was another Napoleon – Napoleon III – who triggered the next round of building of coastal forts – what are known as Palmerston forts. Both Newhaven and Shoreham forts are examples of these. Louis Napoleon had been elected as President of the Second Republic at the end of 1848. With his term of office coming to an end and the National Assembly refusing to change the constitution to allow him a possible second term – if I remember rightly this needed a 2/3 majority – he made a coup in 1852 and proclaimed the re-establishment of the Empire with himself as Emperor. [Napoleon II was Napoleon I’s son by Marie- Louise who died at the age of 21 in Vienna never having reigned unless one counts two days in 1815 following Waterloo when he was briefly supposed to be emperor – which of course Napoleon III and the Bonapartists did ]

Napoleon III was at first very keen to insist that “the Empire means peace” but when in 1859 he went to war against Austria in northern Italy in what became the first of the conflicts that led to the unification of Italy – sometimes known as the War of Liberation – this set off fears of more general Napoleonic aggression in Britain, and the Palmerston forts – or Palmerston Follies –after the then Liberal PM were the result.

I’m also forwarding the minutes of the national AGM and other info from Ian Clarke. Don’t forget Tessa’s Open House during the Festival weekends.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.