The Next Ride Sunday 31st October

16 October 2021

Three Bridges Circular via Weir Wood Reservoir

Worth – East Grinstead – Weir Wood Reservoir – Kingscote – Turners Hill
This is a repeat of a ride we did in October 2015 and again in March 2019. We’ll ride along
the Worth Way to East Grinstead, and make our way to our lunch stop at the Old Dunnings
Mill, the lovely Harveys pub and former watermill where we ate last time. I have not made a
booking for lunch, and in any case, since we will probably want to sit outside, those tables
aren’t bookable anyway, but I’m assured that, as we’ll arrive early, there should be no
problem. Veggie and vegan menus available.
We then proceed southwards to the reservoir, and spend a little time in or around the bird
hide there. The reservoir was created in 1952 by damming the river Medway, which flows
through this valley.
After leaving the reservoir we take a bridleway past Stone Farm Rocks, a striking series of
sandstone crags which belong to the British Mountaineering Council, and which, in 2015,
were covered in ladybirds – a spectacle we were told only occurs once a year, so we may see
it again this time if we are lucky. Later we cross the juvenile Medway, pass the Kingscote
Estate Vineyard, and go under the Bluebell Line. We’ll then use a Permissive Bridleway to
avoid a hill, passing some wonderful views and emerging into Vowels Lane near the top.
After Turners Hill (which is not much of a hill) we will experience the downhill variety.
Tulleys Farm Tea Rooms, which is on our return route, has reinvented itself as a multi-
faceted, rather tacky tourist attraction, with escape rooms, a “drive-in” cinema (I wonder if
they accept bikes?) and its annual “Shocktoberfest” which is apparently “world famous”. It’s
too late for us, but Nick is hoping to soak up some of the Halloween atmosphere over a cup
of tea.
After Tulley’s, we rejoin the Worth Way and return to Three Bridges Station.
Anyone wanting to avoid the ups and downs (and Tulley’s) can retrace the outward journey
from the pub, and this also makes the ride about 3 miles shorter.
Terrain: Much of this ride is on quiet lanes through lovely woodlands, and the off-road
sections are on good surfaces, though they may be bumpy in places. There is a short section
of the B2028.
Length: 21 miles or less (see above)
Duration: about 6½ hours.
Undulations: some. Valleys have sides, unfortunately.
Start at: Three Bridges Station at 10:00
Getting there: Bedford train from Brighton at 9:18, arriving Three Bridges at 9:49.
Getting home: Trains to Brighton/Hove at 16:26, 16:51, 17:26.
Jim.


Ride report: Clarion Sunday, 19th September, 2021

9 October 2021


Pictures from the Trip https://www.flickr.com/gp/nickhi/595su9

Travelling from Brighton to Blackburn was a bit of a trek, but well worth the effort in order to attend this year’s ‘Clarion Sunday’ gathering in Clarion House. It takes just over two hours by train from Euston to Blackburn, which I thought was an impressively fast connection from south to north.
I had booked a couple of nights in Blackburn’s Premier Inn, which is conveniently situated opposite Blackburn station. Alex & Alan from London Clarion were also staying in the same hotel and we agreed to meet later that evening in The Postal Order, a former post office which had been converted into a pub by the Wetherspoon chain. Although I disagree with the Brexity rightwing politics of Tim Wetherspoon, the vegan pizza and £1.99 pints of ale couldn’t really be faulted.

We probably stayed in The Postal Order for longer than was really necessary. Leaving the pub at midnight, before the 6.15am start on Sunday, perhaps wasn’t the best preparation for a day of cycling.

It was just as well that I had remembered to pack an alarm clock and was able to meet Alex and Alan in the hotel reception just after 6am on Sunday morning. Charles Jepson was waiting with his van outside the hotel and drove us to his house for breakfast. Joining us at the breakfast table were London Clarion’s Nick and Iain, who had been staying with Charles.

Cycling to Clarion House

The plan was then for Alex, Iain, Nick and myself to cycle 18 miles to Clarion House. It was pleasant cycling at 7am on Sunday roads without many cars. The rain which accompanied the early part of the ride eased off very quickly and it became apparent we would have dry and sunny weather for most of the ride.

We stopped a number of times to photograph the terrain we were passing through. This was my first time cycling in Lancashire and I really hadn’t appreciated how steep the numerous hills would be. I could blame the limitations of the folding bike I was using, but suspect I really wasn’t fit enough to climb some of the steeper hills. The effort required to cycle the 18 miles to Clarion House was worthwhile for the incredible scenery which surrounded us though.

When we arrived at Clarion House, we were greeted by Barnoldswick Clarion. They had prepared a 22-mile cycle ride and we set off immediately on the route they had devised for us. The hills in the Pendle area are particularly steep. Although it was an exhilarating cycle ride with terrific views, I was having difficulty maintaining the brisk pace adopted by Barnoldswick while on my Brompton bike.

Alex suggested those of us who had already cycled from outside Blackburn to Clarion House might like to shorten the route and head to Clarion House via the Bay Horse Inn. This seemed like a good idea to me, particularly as we estimated the combined length of our ride would be 33 miles at the end. It was very pleasant sitting in warm sunshine outside the Bay Horse Inn. A number of other Clarion cyclists stopped at the pub before heading to Clarion House.

Clarion Sunday

The Clarion House Sunday gathering was a really successful event. It was estimated that a couple of hundred cyclists & supporters dropped in during the day to express solidarity with the Clarion movement.

Alan Ward from Axis Design had set up a temporary photographic studio outside Clarion House and was photographing all participating cyclists. This was for a project he’s working on which celebrates Clarion’s culture and heritage. He hopes to publish a book celebrating Clarion radicalism before the end of the year.

Alan was also giving out #I_AM_CLARION shoulder bags to all Clarion Sunday attendees. The bag contained useful information on the Pendle Radicals walking trail (PENDLERADICALS.ORG.UK) and a fascinating extract from a 1954 edition of the Daily Worker, which details Harrow Clarion Cycle Club’s visit to Clarion House. There was also an impressive Clarion metal badge in Alan’s bag.

London Clarion had also produced a commemorative ribbon, which they were handing out to mark the special 2021 Clarion Sunday gathering. The ribbon was a fine addition to the Clarion 1895 cycling jersey I was wearing during the day.

It was great to meet people I had never spoken to before. Everyone was really friendly and it was great to learn more about the Clarion movement’s radicalism, which continues to this day.

I had some great conversations about Clarion socialism whilst drinking tea in Clarion House. It was fascinating to look at the banners, posters and other examples of socialist ephemera on display.

We wondered how recent Clarion House visitor, Michael Portillo, could have turned into a rightwing Tory MP when his dad fought against fascism in the Spanish Civil War. Although Portillo’s reactionary politics have nothing in common with Clarion socialism, he was evidently perfectly polite when being filmed (and heckled!) in Clarion House for his BBC railway programme.

I rather regret missing the socialist choir’s performance during Clarion Sunday. Hopefully there will be the chance to sing some socialist anthems when Clarion Sunday returns in June next year (the Covid pandemic pushed the event back to September this year). There’s talk of next year’s Clarion House celebration being a two-day event. Two days of cycling in the Lancashire hills? I had better start doing some training!

Boots!
Nick


The Last Ride 26th September 2021

4 October 2021

Peace Statue to East Worthing via Shoreham Fort Pollinator Café

September 26, 2021: Pollinator Cafe ride

We met at the Peace Statue in Hove, Jim and Nick, Sikka, Angela C and Angela D, Doris, Wendy, Prudence and Graham.

A good turnout for our first ride in a while, so some time was spent catching up with each other and enjoying being in each other’s company.

A quiet ride along the seafront to the Locks at Southwick in light drizzle and under dark clouds – not in the forecast! We waited at the lock gates while a whole flotilla of yachts moved into the large lock that is used by the biggest vessels coming into Shoreham Harbour. Across the locks we made our way to Shoreham Beach and to our first refreshment stop – at the Pollinator Cafe, led by Nick.

September 26, 2021: Pollinator Cafe ride

This was the first time ever I was offered a discount for choosing plant based milk – sustainability of course! We were met there by David and his wife Terri with their dog, as David was not cycling today. Quite a reunion after such a long time in lockdown etc.

Jim then took over leadership of the ride with Angela D, Doris and Sikka. Angela C, Wendy, Prudence, Graham and Nick had other priorities and we left them at the cafe. By this time we were ready for lunch and were fortunate to find a table at the Hummingbird Cafe, Shoreham Airport. We had a table overlooking the airfield just as the sun came out offering delightful views of the local countryside and the Downs.

We then cycled to the Old Toll Bridge where Doris left us. Down to four and riding a few miles up Coombe Road to work up an appetite for our next refreshment stop at St Botolph’s Church.

Botolphs Church

Churchside cafe - second horsebox cafe of the day

Here we had an enjoyable conversation with a couple who were visiting one of the graves and going on to visit a relative who lived close by. They went off in their car but soon after we encountered them again as we entered Sopers Lane. This was the most challenging part of the ride – up this quiet country lane, through a farmyard and up the concrete track through Steyning Bowl. Very steep and long.

Steyning BowlMy e-bike came into her own at this point and took me up with ease – so I was able to enjoy a seat at the top – soon to be joined by Jim – and to enjoy the fabulous view over to Truleigh Hill and beyond. Until we were asked to move out of the way so a woman on a horse, leading another horse, asked us to move out of the way. The three of us were then rewarded with a long downhill ride into Sompting, with just one long hill before crossing the A27 and heading for East Worthing. Here Jim left us to visit his daughter and Angela D and I headed for the station where Angela D hoped to catch a train back to Hove.

I continued to the seafront and rode home to Moulsecomb – the last woman standing so to speak.

A lovely and particularly sociable ride – thank you Nick and Jim for planning and leading.

Sikka