Warblington – Walderton – Stoughton – East Marden – Compton – Idsworth – Finchdean – Rowlands Castle – Warblington
Joint ride with Gosport Clarion
Warblington station is on the outskirts of the Portsmouth conurbation, so striking out northeastwards we soon find ourselves in woods and country lanes. We ride past Racton Monument, a ruined 18th-century folly that is said to be haunted. At Walderton we take a lane that runs along the valley of the river Ems (not the 231-mile waterway that runs northwards alongside the Dutch-German border, but a slightly shorter one taking its name from Emsworth, and flowing out between Hayling and Thorney islands).
After East Marden, with its unusual thatched well, we turn westwards, and soon reach Compton, and our lunch stop at the Coach and Horses pub (at around 12:30).
After lunch we’ll continue westwards until we reach the Waterloo-Portsmouth railway line at Idsworth, where St Hubert’s church (1053) has 14th century wall paintings and may be worth a visit. Riding south alongside the railway, we reach Rowlands Castle where we can have tea at “Tea on the Green”. Then back to Warblington and home.
Distance: 22 miles
Duration: about 5½ hours including stops
Terrain: All hard surfaces, mostly quiet lanes. (The B2146/7 is the quietest, nicest B-road I’ve ever been on, but unfortunately the same can’t be said for the unnumbered Emsworth Common Road. The road-numberers have a bit of updating to do, methinks!)
Undulations: Remarkably few, considering that we are basically in the foothills of the South Downs, albeit the “dip” side. There is one short hill of about 1 in 10 gradient, in a quiet lane, which we can walk up in 10 minutes. From a starting height of 15m, we never go above 115m in a 22 mile ride – so about the same height range/distance range as a return trip on the Cuckoo Trail.
Getting there: Take the 09:30 train from Brighton, arriving at Warblington at 10:44. If driving, please note that there is no car park at Warblington station so you might be better off parking at Havant and cycling to Warblington or getting the train at 10:33. Londoners can get the 8:17 from Victoria and change at Havant. We will be moving off sharply at 10:45 (short day) so don’t be late!
Getting home: The sun sets at 4pm so we will be aiming for the 16:35 to Brighton, or if possible the 15:44 (via Havant). Either of these will connect with a London train.