The next ride: Sunday 1 November 2015 – Shoreham to Littlehampton – Circular?

20 October 2015

Since the days when Linda was cycling with us, I have been trying to find a direct, safe, off-road route from Shoreham Beach along the coast to Littlehampton, avoiding all of the busy A259, railway crossings and lights. After exploring both sides of Ferring Rife, and taking long walks with Terri and our dog along the beach to Angmering and back through the Kingston private estates, the new Littlehampton Harbour is now just a 90 minute gentle ride away.

Catch the 10.00 train from Brighton to Shoreham-By-Sea arriving at 10.15h and aim to get on the road by 10.30h after the group photo. Cross the iconic Adur Ferry Bridge onto Shoreham Beach and head west on the NCR2 shared cycle path.

We soon pass the Widewater Lagoon, where Julian will be able to point out the cormorants hanging their wings out to dry; a growing, resident population of little egrets; a lightning flash of the iridescent blue from the back of a kingfisher; a hovering kestrel; our resident swan leading her flotilla of seven cygnets.

After passing Lancing Sailing Club and the Green we carefully cycle past the entrance to the newly-opened Perch Café on the beach.

We then follow the coastal cycle path to Worthing Pier and on to the end of the promenade, where we briefly turn inland onto trafficked road, passing Sea Lane Café and continue to the end of Marine Drive into Ferring, which we navigate through by following Channel Island routes to our outbound coffee stop at the Bluebird Café.

The path onwards along the beach in front of Kingston Gorse Estate is blocked by a wall with very narrow, pedestrian access and cycling on to Angmering and Rustington is forbidden, but we can turn into the paved Coastal Road after a hundred metres, before threading a route through quiet, private roads of the rich and famous, and are eventually disgorged into Sea Lane and the beach in Rustington. It is now only a short ride along the promenade to the newly-developed harbour in Littlehampton. If I don’t get lost, we will have cycled 12 miles.

The Harbour Lights Riverside Café is our lunch stop where we plan to arrive between 12.30am and 1pm. They have an excellent selection of seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes, snacks, wines, beers and soft drinks; don’t forget to look at their specials board. I don’t plan to book, as there are plenty of tables outside overlooking the harbour if the weather is agreeable, and if it’s raining, I will eat inside where there will be enough spaces for a few other die-hards.

After lunch some of us could catch the Victoria train back to Brighton (changing at Hove), depending on wind and rain, otherwise we backtrack to Sea Lane Café for a tea stop before returning to Shoreham at around 4pm (a total of 24 miles). Any keener cyclists intent on building stamina could start their ride in Brighton and cycle from Shoreham back to Brighton adding a further 6 miles to each leg (36 miles).

Undulations: None. There are about 8 speed bumps to climb inside the private estates.

Obstructions: one bike lift onto the beach in front of Bluebird Café and one lift over a 1m gate.

Trains from Littlehampton to Hove leave at 15 minutes past the hour.

Clear Skies!


The Last Ride: Sunday 18 October 2015  – Three Bridges Circular

20 October 2015

via Worth Church & Weir Wood Reservoir

Jim’s ride was a male order delivery – made to order but not attended by any ladies, alas.  At the Three Bridges 10.45 am start there were also David, Ian (who came by car), Julian, Nick and Roger.  It was a short ride to Worth Church where the morning service had just ended and the children’s service was soon to begin.  The church is thought to date from the early 900s and is the fourth oldest church in England to have been continually worshipped in since its foundation.  Its Saxon chancel arch is probably the tallest and widest in any church (excluding cathedrals).

October 18, 2015: Three Bridges Circular

L-R David, Julian, Ian, Jim, Roger

After passing over the M23 on the NCN21, and two miles along the Worth Way that heads eastwards along a former railway track to East Grinstead, the chain on Ian’s bike jumped off and became tightly wedged, so reluctantly he turned back and finally sorted it out but too late to rejoin us.  But he enjoyed a second visit to Worth Church.  Soon we passed the disused Rowfant Station now in private hands, and then Crawley Down Pond.  A fine view of the south side of Gullege House was seen – it was built in the late 1500s.  As we rode on, the sheer scale of the earthworks needed to build the miles of raised embankments and make the cuttings, was amazing.

After fighting our way through traffic in the centre of East Grinstead we stopped at the Old Dunnings Mill Inn in a little valley, having biked about nine miles, and had enormous helpings for lunch, though Nick only ate a few crisps.  There was a confused discussion about the differences between GMT, BST, CET and UTC, but we agreed on “spring forward and fall back”, the latter giving us an extra hour in bed on Sunday 1 November.


Then after a long steep hike up followed by a fast downward minor road we arrived at the Weir Wood Nature Reserve with its observation hide.  There were a hundred or more Greylag Geese and many Canada Geese, Great Crested Grebes and Cormorants.  Also seen were a Little Egret, a Heron and a small wader.  About 18 Cormorants were perched in tall trees which were whitened by the latrine effect!

October 18, 2015: Three Bridges Circular

After a short and very steep retracing of our way, we went west along a track to see the Stone Farm sandstone rock outcrops which are 135 million years old, and are looked after by the British Mountaineering Council.  We were lucky to see a range of ladybird species crawling over the rocks.  The Autumnal colours were really lovely and one tree in the distance, ablaze in yellow, resembled a hot air balloon about to ascend.

October 18, 2015: Three Bridges Circular

Going down again we passed under the Bluebell Railway and soon heard the steam engine puffing its way up the incline and its triumphantly loud whistle, bringing back memories when steam engines were the norm and number twitching enthralling.  After going up an incline we saw four deer grazing in a field.  Then the long downward B2028 took us to pass Selsfield Common and on into Turners Hill centre, where at the beginning of Major’s Hill we had tea at Tulleys Farm (including Millionaires’ Shortbread and Rocky Road Brownies) and where Halloween was being commercially re-Paganised.

October 18, 2015: Three Bridges Circular

It was then three miles back on the Worth Way and we caught the 5.48 pm train at Three Bridges station.  The ride was just over 21 miles and we were quite tired due to the cumulative “undulations”, though really grateful to Jim for an interesting and varied circular ride.


[Jim adds: Unfortunately Julian, David and Roger missed the small herd of alpacas or llamas that were grazing in a field between the ladybirds and the deer. Nick took this superb photo of one]

October 18, 2015: Three Bridges Circular


20 October 2015

Dear All

We  still have just two slots left – 15 November and 13 December – to fill in order to complete our 2015 programme.  Please let me know soon if you want to take either on especially 15 November.

I have had one offer, though not one with a definite date.  Dave Churchill emailed me  with the following message after the last newsletter.

I hope to be at the East Grinstead ride. It is an area where I have been active over the years, not only giving climbing instruction at Stone Farm Rocks, using the cycle circuit at Deers Leap Cycle centre but earlier this year assisting with a Rough Stuff Ride in the Weir Wood area.

Just recently I decided when planning a ride and report for The RSF that a video of points of interest and direction changes could be useful for people to download onto a smartphone to use as a guide in following a route, so I made a 13 minute video which I put onto YouTube at

It is a South Downs Area Ride north of Brighton and Hove and uses the N82 route in one area.

A longer version which I put on Facebook shows a person riding a Brompton on the South Downs Way which supports my statement saying that you don’t need a mountain bike to ride on a bridleway!

Should anyone feel like trying this ride I would be happy to lead it


Dave Churchill

I asked whether he had a specific date in mind and he replied

Virtually any weekend would be ok.  I can do a weekday if required for some but it would have to fit in with my work.

So I suggest having a look at the video and if you would like to take up Dave’s offer let him know at; and depending on the response we can take it from there.

Christmas Social
If you intend coming to the Xmas lunch which will be at Café Rouge – the one at Brighton Marina – please make sure to send Angela your cheque for the £5 deposit before the end of this month. By the time you get the next newsletter it will be too late.

To remind you, it’s on Wednesday 16th December at 12.30 for 1pm.


With regard to choosing what you would like to eat, Café Rouge have asked that this be done at least one week before 16th December and this can be done online through their website. Please make sure that when making the booking, you make it clear that you are with the ‘Clarion Cycling Group’ as this is the name under which the booking has been made.

On the website go to “Menus” then “Festive Menus” and choose from the “Christmas Party” menu. Any queries to Angela on  01273 304739.

2016 Comes in Sight!
Time to start thinking about the New Year, the AGM …and Subs.  Here’s what I’ve thought of so far.

This year we switched to 2nd January which worked out very well. Unless the weather forecast suggests otherwise I propose we stick to this for 2016  which since the 2nd is a Saturday is likely to be better for those still struggling with the toad of work than was the case this year.

One of the changes we made this year was to extend the period in which the AGM can be held, Our constitution now states “The AGM shall be held each year between 1 January and 31 March.”  One advantage of this will be that we should be able to time it so that we have Easter Meet details including some national conference motions and amendments to discuss. Although, equally it is important that we don’t miss the deadline for sending in any we wish to propose.

Julian will no doubt wish to start collecting the membership fees for 2016 in the not too distant future. We also agreed back in January to make things easier for our Treasurer/Membership Secretary by determining our local – sectional – fee a year in advance.  This means that there will be no increase for 2016 and we will need to decide – at the next AGM – whether or not to reinstate (or increase) our sub for 2017.

The Autumn Meet
When I saw Jim’s google group message mentioning the Autumn Meet I was  concerned that in my usual geriatric way I might have failed to pass on some vital info to you.  But I see now that there was a full page ad about it in the Summer Boots and Spurs which we all received – but I, for one, had forgotten about.


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

20 October 2015

This is from a ride report in the “Cycle Trifle” from Clarion 13 November 1898. I thought the beer might still appeal – though probably not the pipes!


The Next Ride: Sunday 18 October 2015: Three Bridges Circular 

7 October 2015

via Worth Church and Weir Wood Reservoir

Worth – East Grinstead – Weir Wood Reservoir – Kingscote – Turners Hill

This is my first “made to order” ride. It arose out of a conversation with Julian after our visit to Catsfield Church on 23rd August. It turned out that he had not been to Worth Church, and very much wanted to see it; so I agreed to plan a ride with that in mind.

The church is a little way along the Worth Way. After visiting it we’ll continue along the Worth Way to East Grinstead, and have lunch at about 1pm at the Old Dunnings Mill, the lovely Harveys pub and former watermill where we met the London Clarion section in March last year.

Julian also suggested a visit to Weir Wood Reservoir, which has a nature reserve. So we’ll proceed southwards to the reservoir, and spend a little time in or around the bird hide there. The reservoir was created in 1952 by damming the river Medway, which flows through this valley. (NB veterans of the London Clarion meet-up may remember a long whizz downhill to the pub … and yes, unfortunately we have to go up that hill this time around, mostly walking. Also anyone with an O level in Geography will appreciate that rivers tend to be in valleys …)

After leaving the reservoir we take a bridleway past Stone Farm Rocks, a striking series of sandstone crags which belongs to the British Mountaineering Council. Later we cross the juvenile Medway, pass the Kingscote Estate Vineyard (which has a wine shop!) and go under the Bluebell Line. We’ll then use a Permissive Bridleway to avoid a hill, passing some wonderful views and emerging into Vowels Lane near the top. (I originally thought the vowels would be along the lines of “Agh! Ugh!” but with this new route it will hopefully be more like “Ooooh!” and “Aaaah!”)

After Turners Hill (which is not much of a hill) we will experience the downhill variety, passing (or more likely stopping at) Tulleys Farm Tea Rooms (which, unfortunately, doesn’t appear to have a swing or a model railway) before rejoining the Worth Way and returning to Three Bridges Station.

Anyone wanting to avoid the ups and downs can retrace the outward journey from the pub, and this also makes the ride about 3 miles shorter.

Terrain: Much of this ride is on quiet lanes through lovely woodlands, and the off-road sections are on good surfaces, though they may be bumpy in places. There is a short section of the B2028.

Length: 21 miles or less (see above)

Duration: about 6½ hours, depending on stops.

Undulations: see above!

Start at: Three Bridges Station at 10:45

Getting there: Trains from Brighton at 10:00 or 10:14; from London Bridge at 9:42

Getting home: Trains to Brighton at 19, 24, 48 mins past the hour; frequent trains to London


The Last Ride: Sunday 4 October 2015 – Chiddingly Festival

7 October 2015

Word was it would be the last day of summer, so a lucky thirteen riders gathered at Berwick station on a pleasantly sunny, Sunday morning:  Angela, Chris, Corinne, Fred, Ian (our leader), Jenny, Julian, Kate, Richard, Rob, Roger, Sikka and Terry.  The weather remained kind all day, with just the occasional grey cloud to remind us how good the sun felt the rest of the time.

The start at Berwick station

Our first target was the Chiddingly festival. We reached Chiddingly in well under an hour, only to find the main festival site in the last stages of being dismantled. A few tents and trestles were dotted around but not a single belly dancer was to be seen, and certainly no wild boar hot dogs.

Lunch at the Six Bells, Chiddingly

So we resigned ourselves to an early lunch at the nearby Six Bells pub, wrongly named as it turned out since it did not open until the clock had struck noon. That said, the welcome was friendly, the beer was Harveys and the reasonably priced food was good. So we sat in the garden to be summoned individually by name over a tannoy when our meal was ready. [1]

Six Bells ephemera

The Six Bells – famous for its collection of vintage adverts

Lunch at the Six Bells, Chiddingly

No sooner were we back on the bikes than it was time for the next stop. This was at the the Quadrangle in Allies Lane where Tessa was exhibiting her work in another bit of the festival that was still going strong. Annabel Cottage and neighbouring buildings were packed with a wide range of art work, including Tessa’s elegantly distinctive ceramics. We relaxed in the delightful garden with tea and cakes to prepare for the final stage of the ride.

Teatime with Tessa

This took us through some beautiful woodland and country lanes, back to Berwick station just in time to miss the 15:41 train. This turned out to be good news because otherwise we would never have found out that the nearby Berwick Inn was open. From the front it looked decidedly closed, but Kate ventured round the back and found it was buzzing with activity. The explanation for this strange state of affairs then became clear: the car park is at the back so that is where the customers arrive, unless they are train hopping cyclists of course.

Through the woods

So further refreshments were ordered and the hour long wait for the next train was happily filled with conversation on topics rather more intellectual than usual, such as whether dogs can think and whether it is possible to calculate the probability of winning a game of patience, assuming you play using real cards (rather than on-screen) and don’t cheat. For those who are interested, our conclusions were yes and no, in that order.

Time was when pretty well every Clarion ride was led by Ian. More recently other members have come forward to share the load, which is great news.  But it was good to see Ian back in the saddle and leading a ride.

Thanks, Ian, for a delightful day out!


[1] “Tannoy” is an obscure brand name. In 26 years as a public address engineer, I never once came across a Tannoy product. It’s a bit like calling a modern computer “an Amstrad”! – Jim.

[More photos on Flickr]

News: Xmas social and what to do in a crash

7 October 2015

Dear All

So, we have just two slots left – 15 November and 13 December – to fill to complete our 2015 programme.  Time does fly!  Any offers?

As Roger says in his ride report, we were so lucky with the weather on Sunday – as what has happened to it since amply demonstrates.

A Message from Helen

Dear Ian,

When you send the ride letter out tomorrow please could you express my sincere appreciation to all Clarionettes?/ Clarionistas ? for the lovely card you all signed, to send me good wishes, while on your ride.

I don’t know how long it will be before you see me on a ride again but it will be an uphill struggle to get fit again. Trust I’ll get to see you all at a social event.



Christmas Social

This year’s Xmas lunch will be on Wednesday 16th December at 12.30 for 1pm.  Apologies in advance to anyone for whom that date is inconvenient.

Please contact Ian for details.

Vegetarian Cycling

The Vegetarian Cycling Club was mentioned in the extract from the 1890s in the last edition of this newsletter.  I asked whether anyone knew whether it was still in existence and hardly had I sent the issue out when I had an interesting reply from Bob:

Yes, the Veg C&AC is certainly still alive.

Its golden years were probably the 1930s.  In 1960 I had a school friend who was a good Veg racing prospect. His Dad went on at length about names that meant nothing to me at the time – but I wish I had listened closer. Our own Freddie Grubb was a member too.

Helmet cameras and “crash” advice. 

If you’re a CTC member you might want to skip this bit – it’s all in the current edition of  Cycle.  The magazine features both a Which-style guide to buying a helmet camera (from £100 to £400) and a very informative article “Digital Witness” by David Brennan which looks at the role of cameras in providing evidence – by no means straightforward.

But with or without a camera everyone should know about the CTC’s “Road Justice” campaign and the Cyclists’ Defence Fund. [CDF]. Brennan quotes the following good advice from the CDF’S Rhia Favero.  She says:

I would advise everyone to read the CTC’s briefings “What to do if you are involved in a road crash” and “Pursuing claims and cases against bad drivers.”   They’re downloadable from the Road Justice campaign website  I’d also advise everyone to report any incident they’re involved in on the website


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

7 October 2015

This is from the last “Cycle Trifle” of 1898 from Clarion 31 December

Not sure which of the Clarion “houses” this is though clearly not the one in Pendle that is still going since that wasn’t opened till 1912. But what an amazing turn out in vile weather!  As for Brocklehurst and the mistletoe.  Well, it was Christmas.