Sunday’s Clarion ride, organised by Mick and Anne, took us from Hassocks railway station via Woods Mill Nature Reserve and Poynings in pleasant morning spring sunshine, followed by cooler and more overcast weather after lunch for the return ride to Hassocks.
The Hassocks Clarion fifteen gathered outside Hassocks railway station were: Anne, Mick, Helen, Dave, Joyce, Leon, Chris, David, Sikka, Angela, Rob, Julia, Corinne, Nick and Sean.
Mick suggested a brisk pace for the cyclists in order for us to arrive at the lunch stop in Poynings as close to noon as possible.The Royal Oak were trying to accommodate our group ahead of the busy Sunday lunch trade.
Sussex Wildlife Trust’s Woods Mill Nature Reserve was a popular first stop of the day. There were plenty of snowdrops on display close to the nature reserve pond. Although we could hear plenty of birdsong, we had limited time to explore the variety of wildlife in the nature reserve. It would be good to return again in the future to see the nightingales, woodpeckers, warblers, turtle doves and dragonflies listed in the Woods Mill Nature Reserve information sheet. The Sussex Wildlife Trust had a number of free pamphlets for visitors to take away. I picked up information leaflets on urban foxes, squirrels and Ditchling Beacon Nature Reserve (also run by Sussex Wildlife Trust).
The next planned stop after Woods Mill Nature was the lunch stop at the Royal Oak in Poynings. There was a slight delay reaching the lunch stop due to problems with Sean’s bike chain. Dave was able to fix the twisted chain during an emergency roadside repair, while I took a few photos.
Sean’s pitstop bike repair resulted in some of us arriving later at the Royal Oak than was planned. We spent lunch in an upstairs function room, away from the very busy bar downstairs. I dined on chips and ketchup, but there were more exotic dishes available (the soup option favoured by some looked particularly appetising). Joyce did a fine job working through the till receipt at the end of the meal to decide how much we each needed to contribute to the bill.
Despite lunch taking longer than some previous Clarion meal breaks, we still had time for a tea-stop later in the afternoon. With photographs of animals on the walls to remind us we were in a farm, we spent thirty minutes in Washbrook Farm drinking tea before heading back to Hassocks railway station.
Sean spotted a reasonably well-known BBC TV football pundit as we cycled through the mean streets of Hurstpierpoint. We were still trying to remember the name of this mystery football presenter (Jonathan somebody?) as we waited for the train at the end of Anne and Mick’s excellent bike ride.
More photos on Flickr