Emsworth – Westbourne – Walderton – Stoughton – East Marden – Compton – Idsworth – Finchdean – Rowlands Castle – Westbourne – Emsworth
Impress your friends! Tell them you are going to cycle along the river
Ems, but omit to mention that you are referring not to the 231-mile
Dutch-German river, but a slightly shorter one in West Sussex.
This is basically my Warblington circular that Julian and I did four years
ago with four members of Gosport Clarion, but transplanted to Emsworth
because (a) it has more trains, (b) it cuts out (most of) the horrible
Emsworth Common Road, and (c) it enables us to have a coffee/ second-breakfast stop at the delightful Westbourne Café in the delightful village of Westbourne. (The café ladies have promised me scones if I pre-order. Any other requests?)
We ride past Racton Monument, a ruined 18th-century folly that is said to
be haunted. We’ll visit East Marden, with its unusual thatched well, then
on to our lunch stop at the Coach and Horses at Compton.
This is a hybrid ride, in which a slightly different route is available for
anyone wanting to cycle further and faster. If a different route is not
required, duplicate ride directions will be given to anyone wishing to avoid
frequent stops – in the event of such stops, they can cycle on and meet
us later, possibly at lunch.
After lunch we’ll continue westwards until we reach the Waterloo to
Portsmouth railway line at Idsworth, where St Hubert’s church (1053) has 14th century wall paintings and also a 20th century one. Riding south
alongside the railway, we reach Rowlands Castle where we can have tea
at the Bumblebee café, then back to Emsworth, once again via Westbourne.
Distance: 22 miles for the wanderers, a bit more for the speedsters. Anyone wanting to retire early can get the train from Rowlands Castle
(change at Havant), saving four miles.
Duration: about 6 hours including stops. Sun sets at 4pm.
Start: Emsworth station at 10:15am, westbound platform exit.
Terrain: All hard surfaces, mostly quiet lanes.
Undulations: Remarkably few, considering that we are basically in the
foothills of the South Downs, albeit the “dip” side. There is one short hill
of about 1 in 10 gradient, in a quiet lane, which we can walk up in 10
minutes. From a starting height of 15m, we never go above 115m in a 22
mile ride – so about the same height range/distance range as a return trip on the Cuckoo Trail.
Getting there: Take the 09:00 Portsmouth train from Brighton, arriving
at Emsworth at 10:07.
Getting home: Trains to Brighton leave Emsworth at 16 and 38 minutes
past each hour.