Westbourne – Woodmancote – Southbourne – Hambrook – Funtington – West Ashling – Bosham
This ride zigzags along between the inlet channels and the foothills of the Downs, taking in the above 7 villages en route. Starting just to the east of our recent Warblington ride, we travel alongside the river Ems to the delightful old village of Westbourne (definitely not twinned with Eastbourne!), crossing back and forth over and under the A27, and arriving eventually at Funtington, where we may stop for coffee if required. Then we follow the Bosham Stream down Watery Lane (which is very watery at this time of year!) to West Ashling, whose pond is home to many waterfowl.
Lunch will be at the Anchor Bleu pub in Bosham, overlooking Bosham Channel, where we hope to see lots of interesting birds. The waters here lap against the very walls (and cover the road) at high tide. They should not be lapping against our wheels, however, by the time we leave the pub for a short spin down the flood-prone road to Bosham Hoe, as the tide will be on its way out. Then it’s back up to Fishbourne, hopefully in time for anyone who wants to visit the Roman Palace – definitely recommended for anyone who likes 2000 year old mosaic floors. (It’s open until 4pm; the sun sets at 5). There is also a nice cafe there, which you can patronise without buying a ticket.
We can travel home from Fishbourne station, or ride the 2 miles to Chichester for a more frequent service. The latter option will allow us to sample the delights of a wonderful new bridge that has replaced the rather hazardous foot crossing of the railway between Fishbourne and Chichester. It has a slope that is so gentle you can cycle up it! Nice to know that local authorities are catering for cyclists, even in these hard times.
Distance: 17 miles (19 to Chichester)
Duration: about 4½ hours to Roman Palace, including lunch and coffee stops
Terrain: Mainly quiet lanes, a quiet B road, and a short section of A259 in the cycle lane.
Undulations: Read my lips – THERE AREN’T ANY!
Start at: Emsworth Station, westbound exit, at 10:15
Getting there: Catch the 09:00 Southampton train from Brighton
Getting home: Trains from Fishbourne are hourly at 50 mins past the hour. Trains from Chichester towards Brighton leave at 15, 23 and 53 minutes past the hour.
Jim and Julian.