The Next Ride Sunday 8th August

24 July 2021

Dave Churchill’s Portslade ride

This will start at Portslade station at 10.30 and head up past Sainsbury’s in the Benfield valley,
then up to north Hangleton to the Dyke Railway Path past Egbert the emu, (could be Edwina!)
then down through the Dyke on a bridleway.
There are options at this stage:
Repeat the famous Chattri Ride by joining Ride 1 route at the Wild Flour Café at Saddlescombe or
Poynings Crossroads thence to Pyecombe etc.
Do the Ride 1 route in reverse to Preston Park
Do Ride 1 route in reverse to Sweethill and then up Mill Road on off road cycle path to Dyke Road
and drop down to various locations.
These options can be decided on the day so route will vary but the longest route, being past the
Chattri, will be no more than about 15 miles

Lockdown blues

9 February 2021

Regular rides currently suspended … but watch this space.

The Next Ride Sunday 8 March 2020

27 February 2020

The Back of Beyond” (Lewes to Berwick)

Ringmer – Palehouse Common – East Hoathly –

Whitesmith – Vert Wood – Ripe

It’s nearly three years since we did this ride; if it was left to me we would do it at least once a year, as it features some wonderful cycle-friendly lanes. The “nickname” comes from an exclamation by a Clarionista (confusingly, NOT Nick) on a previous version of the ride.

If you’ve never seen Charles I’s death warrant, now might be a good time to join us for lunch at the King’s Head in East Hoathly, where, on our last visit, a photo taken after lunch appeared to show Tessa stealing Chris’s right arm, but apparently it was just a trick of the light.

Hopefully there will be many stops to admire the Sussex countryside. Readings from T S Eliot are optional (even in Hollow Lane).

Vert Wood is, as before, an option if not too muddy.


Start at Lewes Station (car park) at 09:40.

Trains: Get the 09:17 Seaford train from Brighton to Lewes.

Length: 25 miles.

Duration: 6 hours including lunch and cat herding.

Getting back: Trains leave Berwick hourly for Brighton at 55 minutes past the hour. The Berwick Inn does a very nice apple crumble and ice cream. Sun sets at 5.53 pm.

Terrain: Flat, with some gentle undulations. There is a very short section of the B2192, but otherwise quiet lanes and a reasonably hard track through Vert Wood.

This is a linear ride; anyone arriving by car can park at Lewes Station and get the train back there from Berwick; or park at Berwick and get the train to Lewes. Get a return ticket to Berwick.


The Next Ride: Sunday 23rd February

14 February 2020

Wivelsfield to Shoreham, via Stan’s Bike
Shack (or the Partridge pub in Partridge Green)
The ride on Sunday February 23rd will start at Wivelsfield station. We will have a
choice of lunch stops (Stan’s Bike Shack or the Partridge pub in Partridge Green).
I’ll be heading to Stan’s Bike Shack to sample their coffee for the first time, but
others may wish to have a break in the Partridge pub instead.
We’ll all meet up after lunch to cycle along the Downs Link to Shoreham train
station. Those with more energy may also want to cycle from Shoreham to
Train from Brighton to Wivelsfield is 10.08.
Ride concept by Nick. Fine-tuning by Jim.

The Next Two Rides

30 January 2020

Berwick Circular  Sunday 2 February

Berwick to Berwick

A perfect winter’s ride – level a lot of the way and a wonderful pub stop for lunch –The Roebuck.

We meander through some beautiful Sussex countryside, including the pretty village of Ripe and its beautiful manor house, Eckington Manor and visit Laughton Tower with its own miniature moat, gloating over the surrounding landscape.

Please let me know if you are coming so I can book numbers for the pub. My phone 07814 457 680 or

Depart Brighton station at 10.05 for Berwick, arrive 10.32

There are no coffee stops en route but the Berwick Inn is open from early for coffee and breakfast; I suggest we bring a thermos and have a hot drink while admiring the tower.

Lunch at The Roebuck and return

Trains once an hour at 55 minutes past; if we are early the Berwick Inn provides tea

Angela and Nick


Sunday February 9th: Gatwick Circular Ride via Outwood

Gatwick – Horley – Burstow – Outwood – South Nutfield –

Redhill Aerodrome – Horley – Gatwick

Amazingly, this ride doesn’t seem to have been done for over 9 years, although we did cover part of the route in a Redhill ride in 2016 (which is also due for a repeat, but we can’t do that until water levels subside a bit on Nutfield Marsh!)

The ride goes through some rarely-visited territory to the east of Horley which may be a little soft underwheel, but there are alternatives if it gets too bad. Assuming it doesn’t, we will pass the site of Thunderfield Castle, “one of a very small number of complex moated sites in the South East” according to Historic England.

Lunch will again be at the Bell at Outwood, at 1pm. Last time I described it as “not an ideal Clarion pub – a bit too snooty for me” but Tessa’s ride report from 2016 seemed to give it the thumbs up, and the prices today look pretty much what we would expect.

On the way back to Gatwick we will have a tea stop at the café at Redhill Aerodrome. In 2010 I mused about “why on earth a group of eco-warriors like us should want to sit and watch planes taking off and landing” – but these are small planes, and the air ambulance is based here. When (in the hopefully not-too-distant future) Gatwick Airport is a museum, Redhill will still be going strong, rescuing people and training future rescue pilots, and the private planes based here will be used mainly for ferrying the pigs around …..

The return leg features a long stretch of NCN21, including a wooded cycle path and a quiet concrete road.

There are no obvious “fast loops” for this ride, and in any case there doesn’t seem to have been much demand for them recently. However, directions will be supplied for anyone wishing to avoid dithering and spend more time in the pub.


Length: 20 miles.

Start time: 11:00, Gatwick Airport station. Meet outside the exit ticket barrier on the bridge if not going by train from Brighton.

Hills: One serious hill we can walk up; a few undulations.

Traffic: Mainly quiet lanes and bridleways/tracks.

Surfaces: The bridleways and tracks have hard surfaces, so if it is wet the worst problem will be water rather than mud; however we can take detours along roads if we have to.

Duration: about 5½ hours.

Getting there: Catch the 10:27 train from Brighton. Anyone desperate to lop off a couple of miles can change at Gatwick for a train to Horley (hopefully from the adjacent platform), where we can rendezvous, as the route goes past Horley station.

Return trains from Gatwick at 10, 28, 40, 58 minutes past the hour.


The Next Ride: Berwick Circular Sunday 26 January

17 January 2020

This ride has still to be checked out, Full details will be posted via the google group on or after 20 January.

Trains – catch the 10 05 from Brighton to Berwick

Return is every hour at 55 minutes past the hour from Berwick station

Angela and Nick

The Next Ride: 8 December 2019: Eastward Ho! Rottingdean. Saltdean and Newhaven

30 November 2019

Having looked back in the archives for a December Ride I was struck by the inclement weather & consequent falls on ice, soakings by rain & coatings in mud, punctuated by punctures & thus thought a less adventurous ride may be safer.

I had been searching for The Old Coach Road Ride  but Mick refused it on grounds that wet,slippery chalk road was inappropriate uninviting in wintery weather, so fell back on my old favourite-the NCN2 Eastward.

This ride has everything!–the Downs, the sea, good pubs  good bike paths , few hills, nature reserve, woods  & most importantly -railway stations to return home easily if disaster or weather strikes.


Meet at Palace Pier at 10.15am.   If weather  is awful we can have a festive drink together in Brighton then go Xmas shopping or canvassing for General Election.

Proceed along cliff-top bike track to Rottingdean (thus avoiding any risk of punctures on the way out). Along the Undercliff to Saltdean Art Deco Cafe. Stop if needed.

Up on top again to Peacehaven.

We can have lunch at The Ark pub which serves- fish from local boats & /or tapas plus usual fayre.    OR If weather & spirits are good may be able to make it on to Seaford , via NCN2 & the Nature Reserve- to The Yatch Club, which is open for lunch on Sundays & I have asked for their menu, which will be sent to me on Tuesday.

Any tired riders can return from Newhaven station, or Seaford & keener, sprightlier riders can proceed on to Berwick Station for a train home, or cycle back .

Distance;  22 miles if you go all the way to Berwick on NCN2.  

Duration;    As much as you can manage

Start,         10.15am Palace Pier

Terrain,        NCN 2  Quiet roads & well marked Sustrans Trail .

Undulations  A few but mostly flat

.Trains           From Newhaven at 05, 36 past the hour     From Seaford at 59 and 29 past the hour Berwick 14 and 55 past the hour


The Next Ride: November 24th 2019: Westbourne and the Ems Valley

15 November 2019

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.



The Next Ride: Sunday 10 November 2019: Gatwick Circular via Leigh

3 November 2019

Gatwick – Horley – Meath Green – Woodhatch – Betchworth – Brockham – Dorking – Leigh – Norwood Hill – Hookwood – Horley – Gatwick

This ride appears not to have been done since 2008, which seems an eternity ago, so it’s well overdue. It was originally subtitled “Moles, Voles and Deer” – an allusion to, respectively, the river Mole, which we ride alongside on Lonesome Lane in the first part of the ride, and cross at Flanchford Bridge; an animal I spotted in the delightful (and unexpected if you haven’t been there) Riverside Garden Park located improbably near the airport; and the deer I saw in the lovely Hammonds Copse Nature Reserve, a site of Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland which been wooded for over 400 years.

It is now a hybrid ride which will hopefully meet the needs of both fast and slow riders. There will be a longer route for the faster contingent which will include most of the “slow” route to the lunch stop but also feature bits of a ride I found in a book, Lost Lanes by Jack Thurston. If the “tortoises” dawdle along at 5 mph and the “hares” sprint away at 10 mph, we will all end up at the Plough at Leigh for lunch at the same time. There is also a medium-length route which allows the hares to have a short rest. After lunch, we return to Gatwick by a different route, which includes the aforementioned nature reserve, either as one group or two.

There are possible coffee and tea stops in Horley on the way there and back.


 “Slow” route: About 20 miles, mostly on tarmacked roads; some bridleway; some concrete. Hills: Hardly any.

“Fast” route: About 31 miles, similar surface, short section of A25 (“ride along the roadside if it’s too hostile on the road”)

Shortened “fast” route: Short cut to avoid A25. About 27 miles.

Start at Gatwick Airport station at 10:30. Catch the 09.57 Victoria train from Brighton. In case of stroppy Southern staff, there’s also a Thameslink train at 09:42 – if you get this, leave by the lift towards the south end of the platform and wait at the top, outside the lift or nearby on the airport concourse. (If travelling to Gatwick by other means, please contact me as it may be difficult to find the route).

Trains back to Brighton leave Gatwick at 00, 10, 30, 40 minutes past the hour. Journey time 31-37 minutes.

By the way, Leigh is pronounced “lie” like the one in Kent.



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!