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.

Jim.

 


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.

Practicalities:

 “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.

Jim.

 


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.

Practicalities:

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!

Jim.


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

Regards

Dave C


The Next Ride 29 September

16 September 2019

his ride will be led by Angels (D) and will depart from Normans Bay and return via Pevensey and Wareham.

Full details will be emailed shortly.


The Next Ride: Sunday 8 September 2019

6 September 2019

Chichester Circular

From Chichester station we cycle through the outskirts of the town to join a bridleway taking us between lakes and heading for North Mundham. Following the road through the village we move seamlessly onto bridleways leading to Pagham Harbour. We then have a choice. Either explore the new pedestrian/cycle paths in the Nature Reserve/s and return north via the Saltern Way, or, alternatively, make our way via mostly quiet roads towards the Saltern Way going south-west and catch the West Itchenor ferry taking us eventually to Bosham. Here we would have an optional stop for tea. From there on road and pavement cycle path back to Chichester via another well-surfaced pedestrian/cycle way. The ferry costs £3.50 with a bicycle and is cash only.

Bring a picnic if the weather is suitable, if not we will divert, probably to the Anchor north of Sidlesham.

This outline is a little vague as we are still to complete our final recce.

The terrain is largely off-road, the roads are mostly quiet with brief forays along busy roads to join these up.

A gentle flat ride. Approximately 20-25 miles depending on the final choice of route.

Trains: Brighton 10 am arriving in Chichester at 10.58 when we will begin the ride.

Return: Chichester 0.22 and 0.52

Sikka and Tessa


The Next Ride 1st September 2019 Haywards Heath to Lewes

23 August 2019

This is at least the third time I have scheduled this ride, but it has never got as far as actually being done, for various reasons. Hopefully we will have more luck this time.

The ride explores some rarely visited territory to the east of Haywards Heath and features some of my favourite lanes. There will be several mandatory stops to admire interesting animals and other attractions, with some optional railway history at the end. We will proceed in a group, as usual, at the speed of the slowest.

There will be a morning coffee stop, lunch at a pub in Shortbridge, and hopefully tea as well later on.

Practicalities:

Length: 27 miles.

Duration: 7 hours (7½ with tea stop)

Terrain: Short section of bridleway and some dedicated cycle route; the rest on quiet roads. I can’t remember any hills (but then I did do the recce 18 months ago!)

Start at Haywards Heath Station, Boltro Road exit, at 9:20 am.

Getting there: Take the 08:57 Victoria train from Brighton to Haywards Heath. At Haywards Heath, go towards the south end of the platform (opposite direction to the direction of travel) and go up in the lift to the bridge, then take the lift down from the bridge to the Boltro Road exit (not the car park).

Getting home: Trains leave Lewes station for Brighton at 07, 24 and 46 minutes past the hour.

This is a linear ride. Motorists can use the direct Lewes to Haywards Heath train (hourly at 21 minutes past) at the start or end of the ride.

Jim.