The Next Ride

6 August 2018

Sunday 19 August 2018

Hove Park to Shoreham via Small Dole

Starting at Hove Park Cafe this route makes a three quarter loop round the downs via Dyke Golf Club, Saddlescomb, Poynings, Fulking, Woods Mill, SmallDole, Upper Beeding, Bramber and back to Shoreham Station.

From the Dyke onwards the route is mostly wooded with shade, the first part of the route is uphill but spread over 4 miles so nothing difficult.

Leaving the cafe after an opportunity for an early morning coffee and loo stop we pass Hove Engineerium and ride gently upwards through Hangleton to the Dyke railway trail and beyond.

At the end of the trail we rejoin the road and from the peak at the golf club take the exhilarating run down to Saddlescome and the delightful Wild Flour Cafe for our tea stop.

From Saddlescombe its down hill again and we go left through Poynings and then Fulking and onto the lovely wooded Clappers Lane which takes us 2.5 miles north towards Woodmancote.

Before reaching the A281 we turn left and take a lane brings us out onto the A2037 at Woods Mill with the chance of a quick look around and a loo stop.

A mile further on is our lunch stop at The Fox in Small Dole.

Leaving the Fox we travel a mile further south on the A2037 before making a right turn at Upper Horton Farm and going off road down the aptly named Smugglers Lane round the north of Upper Beeding rejoining the road in Bramber at the crossing over the Adur.

It is then a short distance to Bramber Castle where we join the Downslink towards Shoreham. We leave the Downslink at The Amsterdam Pub and take a back road to Shoreham Station

Length: 20 Miles approx to Shoreham Station. Duration about 7 hours.

Starting Point: Hove Park Cafe , BN3 7BF at 10am. ( 0.5 ml north of Hove station in the bottom half of Hove Park between Goldstone Crescent and Park View Road and Just NW of tennis courts)

There are no parking restrictions around Hove Park on a Sunday

End Point: Shoreham Station (North Side). Return trains every 20-30 mins or ride back via the seafront.



The Last Ride. Jim ‘s Report

6 August 2018

Oldland Mill: 5 August 2018

Brighton station was in chaos; there were barriers everywhere, and Nick, Sikka and I only just made it onto the train ahead of a crowd of homegoing Pride revellers. At Hassocks we met our ride leader, Helen, who had travelled by road along with Angela C. Then Martin arrived, having cycled from Brighton.

August 5, 2018: Hassocks circular

L-R: Sikka, Helen, Jim, Angela, Martin, Nick

Helen’s ride leadership strategy oscillated between “leading from the front” and “leading from the back”. The latter was a bold innovation, but didn’t work too well when she wanted to vary the route, as everyone had shot past the turning by the time she caught up. Undaunted, she tried another variation in Streat Lane, searching for a bridleway that promised to take us past Elmgrove Farm, under the railway, and deliver us straight to the coffee stop at the Plough. However it was not to be found, and eventually Helen enlisted the help of the farmer, who told us that the bridleway was on the other side of a fence, which made things a bit tricky, so we went back to the road. Earlier, at Streat Church, we had discovered an extremely rare thing … a phone box with a phone in it, and no sign of any books!

August 5, 2018: Hassocks circular

At the Plough, Helen held a vote on whether we should ditch the Plumpton leg of the ride and go straight to the lunch stop. In a report of an earlier incarnation of this ride, in May 2015, I had described the route as “a bit like three triangles joined together, or a figure of 8 with an extra loop”, and even uploaded a sketch of such a figure, which has sadly now disappeared due to some unknown glitch in Flickr, so you will just have to imagine it. The vote was about whether to leave out the easternmost triangle, formed by the Plough, Plumpton Lane, Novington Lane and a concrete farm track through North Barnes Farm; in view of the heat, the time spent searching for the bridleway, and the approaching lunch booking, it was not surprising that the vote was a unanimous “yes”; this shortened the ride to 17 miles. As a reward for voting the right way, Helen allowed us to get a drink from the bar. Then off we sped to the Cock at Wivelsfield Green, where we found a “secret garden” that allowed us to sit outside without getting roasted.

After lunch we made for Ditchling via Hundred Acre Lane, at the south end of which we saw a man riding a penny farthing bicycle! When asked “is that hard?” he replied “No, easy!” He was followed by a man on an old black conventional bicycle which, he shouted as he sped past, had been made in 1902. Nick tried to get a photograph but they didn’t stop. He had had better luck with his camera earlier, when a Speckled Wood butterfly obligingly settled on his bike at Streat Place.

August 5, 2018: Hassocks circular

And so to Oldland Mill. We normally expect mud on the path going up to it, but today the mud was baked hard and the ride was a bit like a switchback. Nick and I went in to see the works, and I bought a bag of flour, made in a recent milling run which was stopped in order to carry out regular maintenance of the sweeps.

August 5, 2018: Hassocks circular

We spoke to the volunteer at the gate, who told us that the Trust can arrange private tours for groups on days when the mill is not normally open. This might be a solution to the problem of having to arrange a ride for the first Sunday of the month – when the mill is open to the public – despite it also being Pride weekend, when we really shouldn’t be venturing out on trains.

Thanks to Helen for another lovely Oldland ride. If I get round to it, I’ll convert some of the flour into scones for the next ride!


August 5, 2018: Hassocks circular


6 August 2018

6 August 2018

Dear All

I’ve still had no response to my query about whether people not taking part in Jim’s Bath-Bristol expedition want to have a local ride on 2 September – always assuming anyone wants to offer one.   I’ll wait to see if anyone does – otherwise the September rides will be on 16th and 30th.   Any offers for any of them?

If you’re not too familiar with the cafe in Hove Park – the starting point for the next ride – check out the blog where you will find a little map Graham that has supplied.

Jim tells me there are people who actually want to join us – and pay their subs(!) There is now just one way we do this – which is a lot easier than in the past. The link needed is the membership mojo at

BHF London to Brighton ride

I’ve recently received this message from Alan of London Clarion and their Bike Ride Team

In 2019 London Clarion have decided to enter a team for the British Heart Foundation London to Brighton ride. We already have a few signed up. I have just emailed Bob the details I wondered if you could let your other members know and tell them they would be more than welcome to join us. We will end up getting at least a dozen.

You can join their team via this link the registration link.

Alternatively, if the link does not work, your can search for the team name on the sign up form.

Best wishes

The London to Brighton Bike Ride Team

That sounds like a great idea – at least for the fitter and more energetic!

The Latest on Julian and Leon

I’ve spoken to both of them on the phone in the last few days. Julian is waiting for a brain scan this week and has, he feels, been able to make little progress since the last time I reported – but he remains hopeful. Leon is also coping and feels optimistic about the way his treatment is progressing. We are thinking of them both.


Clarion History – 7: The Clarion and Labour Leader

6 August 2018

The foundation of the Clarion at the very end of 1891 coincided with – and indeed was part of – an upsurge in radicalism centred on working-class struggles – like the long-running strike at Manningham Mills in Bradford. By 1893, as we have seen it had led to the election in 1892 – for as it turned out only until 1895 – of Keir Hardie as an ‘Independent Labour’ MP and then of the formation of the Independent Labour Party (ILP).

At this time the only other explicitly socialist paper operating nationally was Justice – like the Clarion a weekly paper. Justice was edited by Harry Quelch, one of those remarkable late Victorian autodidacts who somehow overcame a more or less non-existent formal education to acquire all the skills   necessary to edit a very literate paper. It is said that he taught himself both French and German in order to be able to put the rest of the international socialist movement right at international conferences.   Justice was the paper of the Social-Democratic Federation (SDF) and had been hard at work spreading the word for the previous decade. Relations between Justice and the Clarion, and between the SDF’s leading figure Henry Hyndman and Blatchford, were pretty good.   You may recall from the second of these little pieces on Clarion history Blatchford saying that ‘I got the idea of collective ownership from H.M. Hyndman’   But the two papers were very different publications.

While Justice was very much the organ if the SDF and largely concerned with its campaigns and internal debates, the Clarion sought – and obtained – a much wider role as a socialist paper independent of any party. Yet in 1893 it had often seemed to speak for the new ILP. That was to change the following year, 1894, when Keir Hardie started his own paper – Labour Leader. Although the Leader was as much an independent paper speaking for Hardie as the Clarion was for Blatchford from the start it was seen as the official organ of the ILP. Such is the power of parliamentary politics in this country. It would eventually – in the early 20th century – be taken over by the ILP when the party bought it from Hardie.

There is little if any doubt that Blatchford and Co resented Hardie’s new paper whose very existence they tended to see as a criticism of the adequacy of the Clarion. That said, they didn’t think much of Hardie’s paper which they regarded as pretty boring and pedestrian. Whatever the rights and wrongs of all this the papers became rival mouthpieces for those involved in disputes within the ILP. As we shall see in later episodes time after time the Clarion would take up the cause of ‘dissident’ groupings in the ILP. If Hardie and Labour Leader were the ILP ‘establishment’, the Clarion was, among many other things, the bolt-hole of its rebels.

Partly this was a matter of the very different personalities of Blatchford and Hardie. To Blatchford and many around the Clarion, Hardie was too earnest and self-important. To those on Hardie’s side Blatchford was too frivolous and lacked the patience to pursue a sustained campaign. I think there was a large element of truth on both sides.

But there was also a philosophical or ideological difference. As his latter career would demonstrate – more than any other single individual he was responsible for the creation of the Labour Party – Hardie was firmly focussed on practical politics – especially winning or at least trying to win elections, Blatchford was not against this but it had a much lower priority in his scheme of things. For him the key task was ‘making socialists’ – something he was supremely good at as I showed in the last episode about Merrie England. For Blatchford the practicalities of the election of MPs and local councillors could be more or less left to happen spontaneously.   Spending too much time on such things was both diverting from the real task of converting public opinion and had the tendency to be mundanely boring .


Next Time – the very beginning of the Clarion Cycling Club




The Next Ride: Sunday 5 August 2018

25 July 2018

PLEASE NOTE: If you are thinking of travelling from London Road or Preston Park stations, they will both be closed all day Sunday because of Pride.

Hassocks to Wivelsfield Green and return. Circular taking in quiet country lanes and a working windmill.

Meet at Hassocks railway station for a 10.30 prompt start.

Mostly flat and easy pleasant riding with mixed scenery and woodland. one or two short off-road tracks which could be muddy. Optional hilly detour to Oldland Mill by road approx 2 miles.

Ride via Westmeston, Plumpton Green, Wivelsfield Green for lunch 1pm, the Cock Inn. for menu.

Return via Hundred Acre Lane. tea stop at Oldland mill, open 2-5pm on that day.

Return to Hassocks Station.


Brighton to Hassocks: 09:57 (arr 10:05) or 10 08 (arr 10 18)

Hassocks to Brighton: 16 04 (arr 16 15) or 16 21 (arr 16 31)


The Last Ride: 22 July 2018

25 July 2018

Berwick to Polegate: Levels, Langos and Levitation

Woodland path

Angela and Wendy’s ride attracted 8 riders determined to brave the heat wave: a reunited “Dieppe Four” (Angela D, Ivor, Wendy and I) were joined by Ann, Graham, Mick and Prudence. We quickly left the road and, skirting the southern shore of Arlington Reservoir, joined a lovely wooded byway which eventually led us to a lane. Then the lane forked.

Conferring at the fork

Conferring at the fork

Left or right? There was much consultation, and it was eventually agreed that the right fork was the correct one. However, two of our number, Prudence and Ann, had by this time decided to try the left option, with Mick chasing after them like a sheepdog to return them to the fold. The remaining five of us took the byway through the middle of Abbot’s Wood.

“There are many ways through a wood”. I made that up, but it’s profound and inscrutable enough to have been said by some long-dead Oriental philosopher. The trouble is, those ways don’t necessarily meet up again on the other side, especially if one of them doesn’t actually go through the wood at all. We were not to see the others for many a mile, though we did see lots of other cyclists, some clearly making for France.

According to the Arlington Village website, Abbot’s Wood “was once part of the great Saxon forest of Andredesweald, which stretched across the whole of the south-east of England as far west as Hampshire”; it was overseen by the abbot at Battle Abbey, which gave it its name – although the OS map shows the remains of an abbey much nearer than Battle, just north of Polegate; this abbey was apparently part of the order of Premonstratensians, a word that’s worth remembering as it will probably get you quite a high score in Scrabble.

This lovely track went on for about two miles, but eventually we had to emerge into the housing estates of Hailsham. However a treat awaited us – in the middle of Hailsham, surely one of the most boring places in England, Bebble’s Langos, a Hungarian café serving the traditional deep-fried dough with various fillings – anything from banoffee or rocky road to mushroom, pepper and onion.

Rocky Road Langos (minus a bite or two)

Rocky Road Langos (minus a bite or two)

While enjoying this “second breakfast”, we heard news of our lost comrades, two of whom arrived just as we were finishing.

Cycling could be viewed as an activity to be pursued between meals. And indeed, after a bit of Cuckoo Trail, some quiet lanes and a farm track with lovely views, we reached the lunch stop, the Merrie Harriers at Cowbeech, where Mick had already polished off his roast. One of these lanes was called Grove Hill, and, while that word is banned in Clarion circles, Angela did explain that there might be the odd “levitation”, which she put down to an unfortunate tendency of her map to tilt forward.

There were posters all over Cowbeech imploring us to “Dig for Victory”, but it was not clear what was going to be dug, nor what sort of victory the diggers hoped to achieve. Google can only offer the obvious WW2 reference, a Brighton clothing label, or a North Somerset festival. Is Cowbeech somehow stuck in the 1940s?

After Stunt’s Green, Ginger’s Green and a crossing of the A271, we reached the wonderful Pevensey Levels, and followed a winding lane and a bit more Cuckoo trail all the way to Polegate. A swan and three adolescent cygnets on the adjacent waterway nearly caused a multi-bike pile-up at one point, as this constituted a mandatory photo-stop.

The ride length was reckoned to be about 22 miles. Then the train back to Brighton. The by-now-traditional after-ride swim was forgone due to various personal commitments.

Thanks to Angela and Wendy for a very enjoyable ride through some (to me at least) interesting new territory.


Southern's new low-cost carriage

Southern’s new cut-price rolling stock

News – 24 July 2018

25 July 2018

Dear All

I’m delighted to report that Graham has volunteered to take on a ride on 19th August. Thanks, Graham. Sikka also volunteered – just a bit too late. Perhaps one of the September rides?

So far I have had no response to my query about a possible alternative to Jim’s Bath-Bristol weekend on 2 September. If anyone would like to offer a local ride for that date please let me know.

You’ll see that I have added ride dates for the rest of the year in the ‘Future Rides’ grid.   Should help forward planning, I hope.

Reading Jim’s report on Sunday’s ride it struck me that we may have to consider providing some protection for him if it is read by any irate inhabitants of Hailsham. Praising Bebble’s Langos may not be enough to deflect their righteous anger!

The Latest on Julian

I phoned Julian to see how he was getting on. Like me you’ll be distressed to hear that after making some slow but steady progress when I last reported in this newsletter, things have not gone well – to put it mildly. He had another stroke on 8 July which has put his recovery back a long way.

And as if that wasn’t enough while shifting him from bed to trolley or vice versa the hospital porter managed to dislocate his shoulder. He’s been told this may result in a ‘frozen shoulder.’

Let’s hope for something better to report next time he appears in this newsletter.