The Next Ride 27th October 2019 Three Bridges to Wivelsfield

24 October 2019

Furnace Green – Tilgate Forest – Pease Pottage –
Slaugham – Staplefield – Goddards Green

This is a ride made up of bits of two previous rides: Three Bridges to Balcombe (Sep 2016) and Haywards Heath Circular (Feb 2018) with only a couple of unresearched miles in the middle.

We start out along Haslett Avenue, where we once again pass the plaque explaining its name. Dame Caroline Haslett (1895-1957) was an electrical engineer, and the first secretary of the Women’s Engineering Society; she saw electricity as heralding an age “when women are liberated from soul-destroying drudgery”. Her father Robert Haslett was a railway signal fitter and activist for the co-operative movement. I don’t know which one the plaque commemorates, but its location – adjacent to the grid feeder station for the entire London-Brighton line – would be fitting for either, or both.

After passing through part of Tilgate Forest, we reach Pease Pottage and then take Grouse Road, bypassing St Leonard’s Forest, which featured in the 2016 ride. This is partly because the lunch venue for the last three rides in this area, the Dragon at Colgate, has become rather too posh for my liking, and so the route needs to be adjusted to enable us to reach a much nicer pub, the Jolly Tanners at Staplefield, where we should arrive at about 1pm after passing through Slaugham.

After lunch we will strike out into unknown territory for those two miles, and then reach the route of the Haywards Heath ride at the end of Broxmead Lane. This takes us to Goddard’s Green where the Sportsman pub is a possible tea stop; then to World’s End, known to the railway community as Wivelsfield.

Apologies to faster riders – I had originally conceived this as a “hybrid” ride with a fast loop, but miscalculated – it turned out the loop wasn’t long enough, and I do not have time to extend it. Instead, faster riders can, if they wish, break away at Goddards Green, proceed southwards to Hurstpierpoint and pick up NCN20, which will take them to Brighton, adding another 11 miles to the 20 already covered.


Length: 22 miles.

Duration: about 6 hours including lunch. Sun sets at 16:43, by which time we should be on the train.

Terrain: Good quality cycle path through Tilgate Forest, otherwise tarmacked roads.

Start at: Three Bridges Station (bike rack area) at 10.15.

Getting there: Take the 09:42 Bedford train from Brighton, or any earlier train. If you have forgotten to put your clock back, have a coffee or three in the Passenger Lounge, or in the café at Three Bridges station.

Getting back: Trains to Brighton leave Wivelsfield at 31 and 59 minutes past the hour.

Remember: this is a linear ride!


Last Ride 13th October 2019

24 October 2019

Last Ride – Jim’s Report

Shoreham to Lancing; or Shoreham Circular with a bit missing

The weather forecast had not been promising: 90% probability of heavy rain, after a day or two of continuous rain – maybe not ideal conditions for an off-road ride on the South Downs. I had persuaded my friend Susanne to try out a Clarion ride, so we met at Brighton station, where there was a marked absence of other Clarionistas. At Shoreham there was only Dave, our leader. He had had no other indications from Clarionistas, and two of his non-Clarion friends who had planned to come had cried off. So that left just the three of us.

On the path

We popped into Shoreham Co-Op because I had forgotten my scran, despite Dave reminding us that we’d need to bring this mysterious item. In this respect I was indebted to Susanne, who, being rather more computer-literate than me, had discovered that scran is “a term used for food generally in the north of England, originally used by the British Royal Navy” – a relic of Dave’s coastguard days. Suitably scranned-up, and ready for a 13-14 mile circular ride, we were led across the Toll Bridge, over the A27 and up past Lancing College Chapel, on a road I hadn’t been on before, which became a stony path, and later a muddy path. This led through Lancing Ring nature reserve. We were now 110 metres above sea level, with glorious views of the downs, the chapel, and, beyond it, Shoreham and the sea itself.

View from the top

Here, Susanne experienced the “Rampion effect”, whereby wherever you are on the coast, the wind farm appears to be just opposite where you are. (This illusion is caused by the fact that we forget that it’s eleven miles out to sea, so its bearing hardly seems to change as you move east-west). We could see, across the Adur, the hillside where the power cables had been buried, and Dave explained that the engineers had taken great trouble to re-plant the same native species they had dug up, thus preserving the ecosystem.

Lancing college chapel

In fact we all then experienced another form of “Rampion effect”, related to the reason why the turbines were put there in the first place – a strong south-westerly wind, which was just beginning to bring a fair amount of icy water with it when we reached the bench designated for scran. It was here that Dave sadly discovered that his coffee flask had jumped ship somewhere along the path. After a hasty bite and guzzle, interspersed with attempts to stop more bits of us from blowing away, we pressed on, but we were fighting a losing battle. Dave and Susanne made more-or-less simultaneous decisions to turn back, while I was scurrying between the two. I could not disagree with their good judgement.

This ride was destined to make a hardened off-roader long for tarmac, and so Susanne and I did not need to work too hard to persuade Dave to lead us to the nearest bit – a car park just south of the nature reserve. Here he left us, returning along the path to search for his lost flask, while we whizzed down Mill Road, across the A27 and so to Lancing Station for the train home, with the mileometer on 5.7 miles – but what a 5.7 miles!

I am indebted to Dave for introducing me to the “Rough Stuff” style of cycling, and hope to ride with him again in better weather – and with Susanne too, if she was not too deterred by the wind, rain and mud.


Teddy bears' retirement home

Now you know where to take your old teddy bears!

Clarion Latest

24 October 2019

Ride Cancellations – changing the system? IMPORTANT.

Last time I asked anyone who doesn’t want to change the system to a simpler one with the ride leader simply announcing a cancellation via the google group. I explained that this would be absolutely fine from my own point of view but the problem was, I believed, that there were several members not in the google group and others who had selected ‘no emails’

To adopt the proposed new method would mean the former joining the google group and the latter – if they were planning to take part in the ride – checking before 5 pm on the day before the ride.

So far I have had no objections. But before we change the system I want to be sure that we are not going to end up with anyone turning up a the start of a ride not realising it’s been cancelled. So, if you are against the proposed change please let me know.

Meanwhile, here is how to join the google group

If you want t join the Google Group you can email Nick – – and ask him to add you, or you can visit the group’s web page at!forum/brighton-hove-clarion.

To join on-line, or to choose the “no emails” option, you will need to create a Google login if you don’t already have one.”


Wendy Resigns

I’ve had an email from Wendy saying she wishes to resign as Social Secretary, and suggesting that Sean, who has expressed interest in the role, might be willing to take it on. I have been in touch with him and he is willing to do so which I hope everyone will welcome. So thanks to both Wendy and Sean.


The Next Ride 13th October 2019 Shoreham Circular

5 October 2019

Hove Lost Dog Cycle Search Team

Route details

Shoreham Station – Lancing Ring – Steep Down/ Cross Dyke area/Annington Hill SDW (Possibly Coombes Farm or Botolphs – Bramber – Upper Beeding – (Possibly Beeding Hill or Downs Link to Shoreham.              Map used for references Sheet 198 (TQ) (Route can be found on MAP.ME a free app which some downloaded after last ride with me)  

                                                                                                                                             References 180066, 167079 then via 183083 BW to Coombes Farm or 165083 BDW to Botolphs and Downs Link to Bramber and road  to Upper Beeding. BW to 205106. Then BW to Beeding Hill via 211104 and down Mill Hill to Shoreham or road to SDW and Downs Link to Shoreham

This will be for OFF ROAD RIDERS ONLY as a decision might have to be made depending on the weather and state of route during the ride and any riders wanting road only riding might be difficult to contact during the ride to arrange a meeting place and time

Start – Shoreham station

Time  – 10.15.

Route distance for long route about 20k.

Catering arrangements – Bring your own scran and drink for a stop on the way somewhere (No pubs or cafes included on this route!) No doubt we will find a café on our return to Shoreham for coffee, tea or something else!

Ride description

Easy ride to bridleway leading up to Lancing Clump. This BW is a long but not too severe climb with the top part steeper but easy for walking and pushing. Good BW to Steep down and thereon to Downs Link and includes good downhill sections.  BW from Upper Beeding but climb on sometimes bumpy BW to Beeding Hill if this route chosen.

Just for a bit of added interest I was on a search and rescue exercise with Sussex Lowland Search and Rescue Unit at Lancing Clump on a foul night and said that it would be just the night to be attacked by one of the so called Black Panthers (Leopards!) supposedly seen around here and reported to the police. A colleague said that he was walking his large dog here, who was not afraid of anything, when they both heard a nearby growl and the dog froze and stared at the undergrowth, put its tail between its legs, shook and then legged it down the hill where it waited obviously scared. It refuses to go up there again so perhaps we could have an exciting ride!

Like all chalk routes they can be slippery when wet!

It would be appreciated if those interested in the ride could let me know on 07940796934 by Wednesday 9 October but certainly no later than 17.00 on Saturday 12


Dave C

Clarion Latest

5 October 2019

Dear All

First, thanks to Roger for looking after things while I was away on holiday and to those who sent messages wishing us well I am happy to confirm that we had a great time in France. From my own point of view what was very encouraging was that most of the time at least I had no trouble walking around. Just over a year ago I was not able to even walk down the road without stopping every twenty yards or so to rest my left knee. But after two steroid injections, some chiropractor treatment and lots of physio exercises things are much, much better.

The next target is to get back on the bike properly. This year I only managed – just about – the little New Year ride and, so far, less than 100 miles all told. I realise I’m not going to ride up Ditchling Beacon again – and probably not even Elm Grove – but I’m hoping to get back to coming out on at least the occasional,gentler, Clarion ride.


Good to hear from Jim that Julian is back at home.

Yesterday– and the Ride for Leon

Conditions here weren’t quite as bad as they were in Yorkshire where the men’s world championship race was turned into something resembling bicycle water polo, but Angela was absolutely right to cancel the ride and I trust that everyone got the message. Because of this there are no ride reports but we do have to consecutive rides with Leon remembered on 20 October.

Ride Cancellations – should we change the system?

At the moment the system is for ride leaders needing to cancel to phone me – or one of the other 3 people with the mailing list – in time for a cancellation to be put out by 5 pm the day before the ride. Some ride leaders, as Angela did on Saturday, also announce it via the google group. This is a good ‘belt and braces’ move since the last thing anyone would want is someone turning up at the start of an advertised ride not realising it had been cancelled.

It would be simpler to ‘cut out the middleman’ and simply ask leaders to make any cancellation via the google group. The problem is that there are about 10 members who are not in the group and quite a few others, apparently fed up with long sequences of google group discussions clogging up their inbox, who select the’ no emails” option. If everyone – at least everyone who would like to know when rides are cancelled – is prepared to join the google group and those who prefer ‘no emails’ are content to check the day before the ride we could change to the simpler system. I would still try and send out a second message via the mailing list but it would take some pressure off me and the others.

So, please contact me if you don’t want to make this change and are – for whatever reasons – opposed to changing the current system. No need to explain – just let me know. We will keep the existing method for the moment and I will let you know what everyone decides in the next edition. And, of course, remind you how to join the group if that’s what everyone prefers.

Final chapter of Clarion History

To describe this short final episode as gloomy is an understatement. But I think it illustrates how, while women, children and civilians in general have always been major victims of war, modern technology brought this home to many people in Britain in 1914. It was an accurate prediction of the horrors of 20th century warfare if very small scale compared to what happened later.


Clarion History 27

5 October 2019

27 The final episode. A Shocking Edition. The Clarion on Christmas
Day 1914

On 16 December German battleships bombarded East Coast towns of
Scarborough, Hartlepool , West Hartlepool and Whitby. There were nearly
600 casualties, mostly civilians, including 137 fatalities. An eyewitness
account by Thomas Beckett, headed ‘Bloody Murder’ appeared in the
Clarion, with terrible irony, on Christmas day. He began by referring to the
reassuring statements from the Admiralty about the ‘entire absence of panic.’
But what did they know? ‘We others know. By God we do!’ He continued,
‘We poor civilians who are so brave, and whose murder is to be regretted, we
have no trenches or dugouts in which to seek shelter,‘ and then gave the
following graphic narrative.

I saw a man hurrying along the street holding a girl by the arm. She was
bespattered with blood from head to foot The man was holding her arm
to stop the gush of blood. I saw a thing on a flat cart driven at a gallop;
it had a bloody flattened mass where the head should be. I picked up
a shrieking woman…she had seen her sixteen year old boy shattered
by a shell.’
He went on:
Yes, our demeanour was everything to be desired.; It was. The self-
sacrificing way in which the helpless civilians assisted each other
stands for ever as a crushing reply to the immutant law of self-
preservation Here a poor mother with five naked children flying before
the murder; and here people turning back to get clothes for these poor
naked bodies and to comfort the demented mother. And all the while
the very atmosphere rocking with the blood-dry of hell-hounds let loose.
On the same page Hilda Thompson criticised the slowness of the press in
bringing out ‘specials’ on the East Coast bombardment. It was, she said, ‘an
event which so far as England is concerned is unparalleled in the history of
generations’ Blatchford believed that fewer men had joined up than
expected because ‘they have not realised that this war is a real war.’ They
would now, she said.