At a time when the sun sets very early, I have planned this ride as a longer morning, with lunch afterwards in Lewes, after which we will catch a train home. Distance approximately 14 miles altogether. Mostly flat – but not like Holland!
So we start from Hassocks station at 10.53am. Cycle East through Ditchling and down Spatham Lane, cycle past The Plough Inn where there is a monument to airmen from one of the wars (historians to the rescue for details!). Turning down through Plumpton Green to stop at The Fountain Inn for coffee (assuming we are not too early, as they open at 12 noon). When I did a practice run the staff were friendly, and helpful and drinks reasonably priced). The purpose of this stop is to break up the morning with a little rest and refreshment rather than doing the whole ride in one go.
Then, hopefully feeling well rested and raring to go, we turn left onto a concrete pathway and more quiet roads as far as Cooksbridge. There, to minimize our experience of the main road we turn left briefly onto the A275, over the railway crossing and turn right, cycling along small roads in the direction of Barcombe. Bypassing Barcombe village and Hamsey we rejoin the A275. Here we have the option of cycling on the pavement for safety as far as the next junction. There, left and downhill with views across the valley. Turning down a twitten to join the footpath across the railway and around Pells Pool. Past Harvey’s brewery and up Cliffe High Street to eat at the John Harvey Tavern behind Bill’s.
(This pub serves food until 4.30 pm, giving us plenty of time for a longer morning ride. Please let me know on 07787402229 or 01273 697412 if you are coming and want to be included in numbers for lunch as I will book a table in advance.)
Trains: Brighton station 10.44 to Hassocks (arriving 10.53). Arrive early if interested in groupsave tickets. (The train does not stop at Preston Park station)
Returning from Lewes, trains on the hour and 18 and 44 minutes past from 14.00 until the 16.44 train.
[Possible alternative route: If the ground is dry, we could cycle West from Hassocks, towards Hurstpierpoint, backtrack along Underhill Lane past Dannys, and circle round into Hassocks. Thence again through Ditching, but take a short-cut off-road from Spatham Lane through Street, and into Plumpton Green from the South. This off-road track has a reasonable pebbled surface unless it has been wet (then it sports a few large puddles). A few more ‘undulations’ but nothing big.
This would be my preferred route, as the track offers open views of the Downs, but as it is January I am conservatively assuming the ground may have suffered prolonged rain (or snow??). So only if the weather has been particularly dry will I ask if those participating would prefer this route. I am happy to go either way.]