Sunday 13th January 2019: Balcombe to Wivelsfield
Lindfield/Ardingly – Freshfield – Scaynes Hill – North Chailey
This is a repeat of a ride done in September 2015. As well as producing Nick’s timeless “shadows” photo (see https://brightonandhoveclarion.wordpress.com/about/) that ride also featured the discovery of a wonderful tea stop, complete with swing, train set and loads of old cars, at a place allegedly called Oakwood Farm, which I cannot find on the map but hopefully we’ll once more stumble across (or spend the rest of our lives vainly searching for, like Lionel Wallace in H G Wells’ short story The Door in the Wall).
The ride was originally conceived in celebration of the fact that Balcombe and Wivelsfield are both “semi-step-free” stations, and in the right direction for this ride, which therefore “suggested itself – in fact, it did more than that, it insisted on being brought into life”, as the rather pretentious blurb of the time declared, before going on to say “despite having its fair share of undulations …” – oh dear. Who writes all this stuff? Oh, it was me!
Balcombe Tea Rooms may offer a coffee stop at the start of the ride if open. Later, we will have to decide whether to risk the bridleway from High Beech Lane to Lindfield. The alternative is a diversion via Ardingly which will add two miles to the total distance.
From Lindfield we take Park Lane and Plummerden Lane to Freshfield and then North Chailey, crossing the river Ouse twice and also the Bluebell line twice. The Inn on the Green at Scaynes Hill, where we enjoyed a satisfactory repast last time, is now called The Farmers, and the prices still look OK for us, so we’ll return there, despite a 2 mile detour from our route. (Pub ETA 12:15)
After lunch we cross Chailey Common, then take in all the Wivelsfields – Wivelsfield Green, Wivelsfield itself, and Worlds End, which is where the station is, although it’s really a suburb of Burgess Hill these days. Hopefully on the way we’ll find that door in the wall.
Distance: 20 miles (or 22 if avoiding the bridleway)
Duration: about 5½ hours
Terrain: see above. The short sections of A275 and A272 have footpaths. There are undulations, but not many after Park Lane.
Start at: Balcombe Station, platform 1 (northbound) exit, 9:45
Getting there: Take the 9:08 Bedford train from Brighton.
Getting home: Trains leave Wivelsfield for Brighton at 31 and 59 minutes past the hour.
A return ticket to Balcombe is probably the best option, unless two singles are cheaper.
Sun sets at 4.15. We should be on the train by then.