Sunday 31 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 6.5 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.