Please be clear that while all are welcome to join us we each take part in rides at our own risk.
Sunday 20 March 2011
Three Bridges – Kingscote – Bluebell Railway – Sheffield Park – Haywards Heath
This is a repeat of a ride we did in September 2007, with a different ending. We once again encounter National Cycle Route 21, in the guise of the Worth Way, and follow it most of the way from Three Bridges to East Grinstead, then strike out southwards to Kingscote, where the Bluebell line starts.
Since the lunch at Horsted Keynes last time was … well, a bit basic, I have now developed an alternative route which involves staying on the train to Sheffield Park and using the proper restaurant there – prices are reasonable and there is a fairly good choice, with veggie options. We may well want to look round the engine shed and the shop at Sheffield Park too.
The single fare from Kingscote to Sheffield Park is £8.00 plus 50p bike fare (they have a proper guard’s van!). This is somewhat more than we paid three years ago, but then the Bluebell are currently trying to raise £2m to move a huge mass of household refuse that was dumped in the cutting in the 1970s, so that they can link up to the National Rail network at East Grinstead (where they have already built a Bluebell station next to the Network Rail one) so the money is going to a good cause!
The route out of Sheffield Park station involves about a mile of the A275, which is rather too busy for our liking, but we will have to put up with it. We then strike out north-westwards on quieter lanes, and reach Haywards Heath via Lindfield. We will make two crossings of the River Ouse (thankfully, by bridges!) and see it from the train – it is narrower here than where we crossed it at Isfield on the Lewes ride last year, of course.
Total ride length is about 19 miles. There are some hills but no serious ones.
From Brighton: 10.00 or 10.14
From Preston Park: 10.03
From Hove: 09.54 (change at Burgess Hill)
From London Bridge: 9.42
From London Victoria: 9.47
or meet at Three Bridges station at 10.45.
A return ticket from Brighton to Three Bridges will cover the return journey from Haywards Heath; if travelling from London you will need to get a return to Haywards Heath.
Return trains to Brighton at 8, 31, 38 and 41 minutes past each hour, to Hove at 11 minutes past, London at 1, 10, 31 and 39 minutes past.