The Next Ride: Sunday 4th March 2018 – Polegate Circular via Herstmonceux

20 February 2018

[Please note: in the event of a strong North wind, the ride may be reversed, riding first up the sheltered Cuckoo Trail and back across the exposed Pevensey Levels]

Terrain: This ride is flat for most of the route with a few manageable hills just before and after lunch. Length of ride – we guess it is about 16 miles or so.

Route: From Polegate station we cycle through the carpark, and out for a short ride along the cycle track on the pavement of the B2247 to the pedestrian crossing after Levetts Lane. Up this lane to the bridge over the bypass and along quiet roads to Rickney. Then north across the Pevensey Levels to the village of Herstmonceux where we will join the footpath by the main road for a few yards to cross over to Lime Cross Nursery. There we will have an early lunch.

After lunch we return to the footpath briefly then join the busy A271 for a short distance through Herstmonceux village, and turn right signposted Cowbeech. Passing Stunts Green we reach the top of Cowbeech Hill at Beech Cross (a long but gradual climb). We turn left at this point onto a slightly busier but wide road, which we follow down to a T-junction, taking in a couple of minor upward slopes on the way. Here we turn off to the right along a quiet road for a mile or two, slip over the verge on the left into a disused road and over another busy road into Station Road. Another 100 yards or so and just before a bridge we diverge off the tarmac down a track to turn left onto the Cuckoo Trail. This will take us south to the delights of tea at the Loom tea rooms.

After tea, just a mile to the end of the Cuckoo Trail and into Polegate to catch a train home.

Train from Brighton leaving at 10.12, arriving Polegate at 10.40. Return trains from Polegate to Brighton at 34 minutes past the hour (or 7 mins past the hour and a change in Lewes with 4 mins to change platforms)

Please let us know if you are coming and want to have lunch so we can book appropriate numbers. The cafe has asked that we give them good warning if we are booking for a group. You can email me, Sikka, at or text Tessa on: 07787402229.

Tessa & Sikka

The Last Ride: Sunday 18th February 2018 – Hassocks to Lewes

20 February 2018

Group photo

L-R Tessa, Sikka, Wilma, David, Richard, Peter, Wendy, Angela

On a crisp February morning, at the somewhat luxuriously late hour of 11am, eight cyclists stepped off the Bedford train at Hassocks and met with a ninth who had arrived by other, undisclosed, means. And so the Nine Riders set off on their grim pursuit of the One Ring, the Ring that … oh, hang on, that’s the wrong story! Angela D, David, Jim, Peter, Richard, Sikka, Tessa, Wendy and Wilma came just to enjoy a nice ride, beautiful scenery, stimulating conversation, and some well-earned refreshments at the end of the ride.

After dodging cars between Hassocks and Ditchling, Spatham Lane brought a welcome quiet and the chance to ride two abreast and natter. Then off-road on the farm track to Hayleigh Farm and beyond. The view across to the South Downs from this track is utterly breathtaking. We looked in vain for landmarks, but saw none except a curiously shaped wood on the scarp slope that takes the form of a giant letter V. Sikka explained that it is thought to stand either for Queen Victoria, or possibly for Victory. Unfortunately a photo was difficult to obtain because of the sun behind it, so I contented myself with a south-westerly view of a bare tree against the backdrop of the Downs.

The Downs from Streat

Later we encountered a certain amount of mud. A certain amount is OK, but more than that can be unpleasant. It was for this reason that we eschewed the northbound track from Hayleigh Farm in favour of the easterly route to Streat Church; the former track was pronounced too “mushy” by our valiant leader – and thus another word enters the Clarion lexicon.


                                                 Mushy mud

At the end of Streat Lane we turned east and made for the Plough at Plumpton, which we were supposed to speed past, but, Clarionettes being Clarionettes, we ended up having an impromptu coffee stop here. The Plough has featured on many rides, standing as it does at the confluence of five roads. (Interestingly, we learn from the internet that the present pub was built by the RAF in 1942, the original having been demolished to make way for Chailey airfield, half a mile away.)

We saw many other cyclists during the ride – some of the speedy Lycra set, and others going at a more leisurely pace. Most seemed in quite good humour, but one of the former group definitely wasn’t. As he approached us at speed in Chiltington Lane, he snarled “Get off the f___ing road!” OK, we were, perhaps, rather spread out laterally across the lane, but we would have let him pass anyway without such rudeness. His remark was for me a chilling echo of that uttered by a cyclist in London who, seconds later, hit and killed a pedestrian two years ago. I wondered how many cyclists there are out there who, untrained in road use, believe that they have some kind of monopoly of the road.

Warning us or warning others?

On to Cooksbridge, then a little detour along Hamsey Lane to avoid a section of the A275, crossing briefly into the Eastern Hemisphere at the Greenwich Meridian on the way.

Meridian sign

Rejoining said road at Offham, we were able to ride along the pavement until we got to the turn-off into Offham Road, where it was safe to re-enter the carriageway. On the way, Peter, Wendy and I stopped to look at the old Offham Chalk Pit which used to send lime down tunnels under the road to barges waiting on the river Ouse.

And so at last to lunch, at the John Harvey Tavern in Lewes. The food was excellent, and we agreed that there was something to be said for having the lunch at the end of the ride rather than in the middle, when the thought of getting up and cycling another 10 miles can be rather daunting on a full stomach.

Conversations over lunch and on the ride covered such topics as future rides, the Easter Meet (Wendy and I may go for the “social rides” … anyone else up for that?) and possible future weekend rides. We have not done one of these since 2014; there was a suggestion of a return to Kent, or another re-run of the New Forest, or even another trip to France. But my favourite option would be a repeat of 2012’s Bath-Bristol weekend, augmented this time by the Two Tunnels Route, which opened a year after that last trip. What does everyone else think?

We raced to the station, with Tessa, Peter and me just catching the 16.22 train, and the others no doubt not far behind. Thanks to our joint leaders, Tessa and Sikka, for another most enjoyable Clarion ride.



20 February 2018

Dear All

Ian is away so I am looking after this newsletter and the next.

Jim was planning to lead the next ride (from Hastings) on 4 March but now finds that he can’t do it. Many thanks to Tessa and Sikka who have stepped into the breach with a different ride (see below).

Roger (

Two messages from Ian:

Sue and I went to see Julian at Sussex County at the beginning of last week and I’m pleased to report he is making some progress – albeit slowly – in getting back some use in his left side and is finding the physio helpful. He asked us to pass on thanks to all who have sent him best wishes. He’s still in the Donald Hall Ward in the Barry Building but best to check his location by email ( before going.

2018 AGM
I have consulted Anne and Mick who are hosting the AGM this year and we have finally settled on Wednesday 21 March. So this is to give formal notice that the AGM of the Brighton and Hove Clarion Cycling Club will take place at 31 Bristol Gate, Brighton starting at 8 p.m.

I have consulted Mick about how to get there and this is what he says, “Bristol Gate is the road that leads up to A&E. If you carry on past A&E, bear right and we are the last house on the north side of the road. So any bus going to the RSCH will work. As for parking this is usually very difficult to impossible, although at that time of night may be OK but perhaps best to park in Manor Road and walk up the twitten between Manor Road which runs westwards on the south side of the Manor Road Gym past the scout hut and we are the first house on the right. One car can park in our driveway. Bikes can go in the garage.”

I will of course repeat all this nearer the time and send out the agenda etc a week or two before the meeting. Let me know if there is anything you would like to include.


And a message from Tessa:
I am looking for a second-hand Frog 55 bicycle with 20” wheels for my granddaughter. Does anyone know which bike shops in Brighton stock a good supply of children’s bikes?

If so, please email me
Thank you

The Next Ride: Sunday 18 February 2018 – Hassocks to Lewes

6 February 2018

We will catch the 10.44 train to Hassocks (buy return tickets to Hassocks) arriving just before 11am.

We head off through Ditchling to Keymer then turn left on Spatham Lane.

After a few yards we turn right onto an offroad track (weather permitting) to Streat. A good easy surface for most of the way, there is a short section that some may choose to walk.

Arriving at Streat we turn left and head towards Wivelsfield on a small road that gently undulates.

We then take the Lewes road and head for Cooksbridge where we take a small road to Hamsey then Offham. Arriving there, we cycle the pavement of the busy A275 (the law having clarified that where it is dangerous to use the road, its ok to cycle on the pavement) before turning left into Lewes for a late lunch, probably at the Harveys pub by the river.

Trains to Brighton from Lewes: 22, 44 & 52 past the hour.

It would be good to have some idea of numbers so we can alert the pub. Please text Tessa on 07887 489900 or phone her on 01273 777574 to say if you plan to join the ride.

Tessa and Sikka

The Last Ride: Sunday 4th February 2018 Haywards Heath – Wivelsfield

6 February 2018

Four very well wrapped up Clarionistas (Jim, Sikka, Sean, Angela D and one guest rider, Peter) met on a bright but bitterly cold Sunday morning to go to Haywards Heath, that glorious centre of commuterland and suburbia. Our leader led us skilfully away from the traffic dominated excrescences of the outskirts, but not without some rumblings of discontent about the cold and the lack of coffee. One particular malcontent suggested coffee at Cuckfield, but then blithely cycled on when she failed to hear the others agree (being hard of hearing and with multiple scarves around my ears); however she redeemed herself by finding a café with a view, at Cuckfield golf club. For those who wish to follow in our tracks, the grid reference is TQ295258.

View from Cuckfield Golf Centre

A rather grainy photo of the view from the café with a view

Much restored by elevenses/second breakfast/morning coffee we sped off (this may be taken in more of a metaphorical sense, especially in the case of the writer, who is well-known for alighting at the bottom of a hill and wheezing loudly all the way up) to turn southwards after Slough Green along the delightful Broxmead Lane, where we navigated puddles and bridges and a pony rider with a duvet wrapped around herself and her horse. Clarionistas were united in the desirability of such winter garb and we promised ourselves to follow suit on further rides.

Broxmead Lane

Broxmead lane

At Goddards Green we lunched extremely well at The Sportsman; roast dinners and puy lentils done imaginatively. Talk was agreeable and united on such subjects as the failure of the railways and unreliable narrators, although I believe rugby or some such was also discussed. We toasted Julian in absentia and wished him a speedy recovery.

The leader has kindly provided the writer with a detailed breakdown of mileage and timing; alas it is well known that Jim’s strengths lie in the art of fiction, while the writer never deviates from fact, so these have not been incorporated into the report.

An excellent, pleasant ride, perfect for a cold but sunny winter’s day; an invigorating and enjoyable time was had by all. Many thanks to our leader who navigated us so well and found us the obscurely hidden cycle friendly ramp up to the southbound station at Wiveslfield.

Angela Devas

To which Sean adds: You’ll all be relieved that I retraced my steps to cuckfield golf club and collected me bag 👍🏻🚲

Cuckfield Golf Centre


6 February 2018

Dear All

I am going to be away for the planned dates of the next two newsletters. (I’ll be home in between them!). So, if you are reporting on the next ride (18th Feb – Sikka and Tessa) or 4 March – assuming it is claimed by someone – please send your report to Roger who will be sending out the newsletters. He is at I will try to send out a reminder about this just before each of the rides.

The same applies, of course, to anything else you want in the newsletter. Contributions are always welcome!

Jim has volunteered again – provisionally – to lead the ride on 18 March but needs to check the details. So we now need an offer for 4 March

Sue and I went to see Julian at Sussex County last week and I visited him again earlier this afternoon. It looks like he will still be in hospital for some time – though we all hope not too long. The perenial NHS shortages aren’t helping. He emailed me on Sunday saying ‘Full diagnosis awaits further MRI and X-rays… needing much more physio as staff shortages have caused many days with none.’

He’s now in the Donald Hall War in the Barry Building but best to check his location by email before going to see him.

2018 AGM
I have consulted Anne and Mick who are hosting the AGM this year and we have provisionally settled on Tuesday 20 March. However, it could be moved to the following day – Wed 21st – so I anyone has a regular commitment on Tuesdays please let me know by next week. I will confirm the date in the next newsletter.