Sunday 29 May 2016: Chichester 360°
In keeping with the title of this ride, bearings are given relative to Chichester Cathedral, clockwise from north. Some bearings had to be worked out afterwards, due to the non-visibility of the Cathedral.
Chichester Station: 190° (S by W). Thirteen riders left the station soon after 11am. I was not among them. I had not checked my emails that morning, and hence had missed Roger’s message about the 10:00 train being cancelled. I had to catch the 10:30 instead and pedal furiously to catch up. Moral: always check emails before a ride!
A lakeside pause. L-R Julian, Terry, Chris, Ian, Roger, Angela, Kate, Mick, Sikka, David, Jenny, Richard
Ivy Lake: 135° (SE). Spookily, before leaving home I had done someting I rarely do: read the ride description in detail, and traced the route on the map. Thus, even without a printout, I was able to work out roughly where to go. In the event I got the first bit slightly wrong. I knew the ride went through the old gravel pits to the SE of the town centre which are now lakes, but while the official route went alongside Vinnetrow, Runcton and New Lakes, I went between Ivy Lake and Nunnery Lake, then passing Triangle Lake, East and West Trout Lakes, and Copse Lake. I reckon I had the better deal: I later heard that the others had not seen much water, but I did, and I even spotted a coot training its young to fish.
Coot and chick
South Mundham: 155° (SSE). Here I caught up with Angela, Anne, Chris, David, Ian, Jenny, Julian, Kate, Mick, Richard, Sikka, Terry, and our leader, Roger. We were now 14 – the biggest turnout since last August – and the weather was exceeding the Met Office’s prediction, with clear blue skies.
Shopwyke: 80° (E by N). A straight run in with the spire straight ahead, to the A27 crossing where Ian left us to attend the Indian gate plaque unveiling at the Pavilion. It was good to see him back in the saddle at last after he broke his ankle last December. We headed north-west, past Portfield Cemetery, then west, to the enormous roundabout Roger had warned us about. This has green cycle-path sections, but, as Roger explained in his on-site briefing, these sections are interrupted by the roundabout exits and bikes do not have right of way. I’m not sure whether this is a good idea – it would be so easy for a cyclist to plough straight ahead and into the side of a turning vehicle.
The Bell Pub: 10° (N by E). Lunch! And jolly nice it was too! Washed down, in my case, by a pint of Good Old Boy from West Berkshire Brewery. Lunch conversation topics ranged over the usual eclectic mish-mash, including, obviously, the EU. Julian did not have a pudding. Anne and Mick left after lunch.
Chichester University: 25° (NNE). There was some discussion about how long this had existed. Someone said it was a former polytechnic, but a little internet research shows that it was not one of those late and very much lamented institutions that became universities in 1992, but had to wait another 7 years for degree awarding powers. It had formed in 1977 as the West Sussex Institute of Higher Education (teaching degrees awarded by Sussex and Southampton). Its lineage goes back to Bishop William Otter, who was the first Principal of King’s College London, set up in 1829 as the Church’s answer to the “godless college”, UCL – which was the first university in the country to admit atheists, non-conformists and Jews.
Lavant: 0° (N). Fordwater Lane took us, disappointingly, to a concrete bridge, rather than a ford, across the River Lavant. Lavant is Latin for “washing”, so it’s not hard to guess what the river was used for, and the name of one of the roads – Sheepwash Lane – gives a clue as to what was being washed. The river gave its name to the village it flows through.
Is this the ex-ford?
West Broyle Road: 340° (NNW). This delightful and very Clarionesque lane runs for about a mile, approximately north-south. It leads to Brandy Hole Lane, running eastwards across the Centurion Way and Brandy Hole Copse. Roger had promised some insight into the name of this place; the “interpretation board” here explains that smugglers used it in the late 18th century to hide barrels of brandy.
West Broyle Road
East Broyle Estate: 335° (NNW). All except Sikka and Terry eschewed the Centurion Way at this point, to follow Roger towards a promised view of the cathedral. We rode through the estate, all of whose roads are named after cathedral cities. And there it was! A fine view of the cathedral framed by trees.
Chichester College: 250° (WSW). We then took the Centurion Way/NCN2 back into town. Chichester College is the FE college you pass on this route, and Julian noticed that it appears to have an aeroplane cockpit parked next to it. It teaches a huge range of subjects, including Blacksmithing, Horse Care, and Stage Management, but apparently not aeronautical engineering.
Chichester Canal Centre: 180° (S). This was my first visit to the Canal Basin since the cafe was rebuilt. Eight of us had a lovely tea stop here before wending our way home. We thanked Roger for leading a very enjoyable and interesting ride, and for arranging such good weather.
David negotiating a particularly narrow section of Fordwater Lane