The Next Ride: Sunday 22nd May

17 May 2022

Three Bridges Circular via Weir Wood Reservoir
Worth – East Grinstead – Weir Wood Reservoir – Turners Hill

The revised route for this ride removes the absurdity of going down a whopping great hill
just to go up the other side, in order to have lunch at a somewhat mediocre pub. Instead I
am proposing that we have lunch in East Grinstead town centre, so that those wanting a
shorter, hill-free route can ride along the Worth Way from Three Bridges, have lunch, and
ride back again (about 16 miles).

There’s a byelaw in East Grinstead that prohibits the consumption of anything except
burgers in pubs, so I suggest we have lunch at a café or restaurant. There is a small Italian
café in the high street which I have sampled and found to be OK, reasonably priced though a
bit of a limited menu. I am not sure I can book a table but will try if enough people contact
me. Other venues are available to suit diverse tastes.

Those of us wanting a longer ride will then say goodbye to the others and ride along the
lovely Forest Way, as far as the ruin of 17 th century Brambletye Manor, then along a
bridleway and quiet roads to the bird hide by the reservoir in Legsheath Lane.
The return route will be the same as before, along the bridleway past Stone Farm Rocks and
across this lovely quiet section of the Medway valley, where, if we are lucky, we’ll hear the
Bluebell train’s whistle echoing through the trees. Then, after some regrettably busier
roads, we’ll reach the long downhill swoop from Turners Hill, stopping off at Tulley’s Farm
on the way back for tea, then back to Three Bridges.

Length: 24 miles. Some undulations on quiet roads. About half of the ride is off-road, on
hard surfaces.

Start from Three Bridges station at 10:30 am. Take the 09:59 Bedford train from Brighton.


The Next Ride: Sunday 8th May 2022

2 May 2022

Shoreham to Knepp Wildland (26 miles for the round trip)

Catch the 9.30am train from Brighton to Shoreham (9.46 arrival in Shoreham)

https://knepp.co.uk/home

Downs Link to Bramber/Either A283 or through Steyning to B2135 towards Partridge Green/Left at Ashurst west towards Tates Old Barn Garden Centre ( lunch?)/ CROSS A24/Dial Post and Knepp Car Park and walk routes.


The Next Ride Sunday 24th April

18 April 2022

Three Bridges to Haywards Heath via Pease Pottage

This was supposed to be a repeat of a Three Bridges to Wivelsfield ride we did in 2019; but the authorities had other ideas. As Stairbridge Lane is closed for road works until the end of May, we will not venture south of the B2115 but instead re-trace, in reverse, part of the Haywards Heath circular ride we did last December (NOT the muddy bit!), via Cuckfield and then Blunts Wood and Paiges Meadow Nature Reserve.

I am hoping that Tilgate Forest will be awash with bluebells, but even if it isn’t, this should hopefully be an enjoyable ride. Grouse Road is three miles of quiet, mostly gently downhill farms and woodland, with just a few disgustingly opulent mansions thrown in. Hammerpond Road, and its associated hammer pond … well, being a pond, it’s in a valley, and valleys can have steep sides (but we can walk up). We will briefly visit Slaugham before arriving at the lunch venue, the Jolly Tanners at Staplefield.

The original route of the ride then takes us southwards and over the infant River Ouse, then into tiny Mallion’s Lane, which might be made for cycling on, although it does have its ups and downs. We then aim for Cuckfield along a B road that is busier than we’d like, though the traffic did not deter the woodpecker I heard here on the practice ride; there is also the possibility of a tea stop at Cuckfield Golf Centre. We finish off with another visit to the nature reserve before tackling the slightly-less-fashionable suburbs of Haywards Heath.

Length: 18.5 miles

Undulations: a few.

Start at: Three Bridges station, subway, by the cafes, at 10:30.

Train from Brighton: 10:02 London Bridge train. Get a return to Three Bridges.

Jim.


The Next Ride Sunday 10th April

4 April 2022

BERWICK to BEXHILL – 10th April, returning by train

Meet at Brighton Station to purchase a day return ticket to Bexhill. We’ll catch the 10.05 train and alight at Berwick. We’ll follow the Sustrans NCR 2 round the back of Arlington reservoir, cycle through Abbotts wood and across the Pevensey Levels. Abbotts Wood is off-Road with a relatively good surface but the possibility of a little mud if the weather has been wet. Then on through Coulsden to arrive on the promenade in Bexhill.

We can stop at Chillie Farm for coffee. Lunch stop at the Star Inn at Normans Bay. Please let Sikka know if you wish me to book lunch for you inside the pub. Tel 07787402229.

We will continue as far as Bexhill where you might wish to visit the De La Ware Pavilion. Or not. Plenty of cafes along the sea front.

Trains back from Bexhill station, direct at 0.10 mins past the hour, 0.30 trains change at Eastbourne.

We hope to see you.

Sikka and Doris


The Next Ride 13th March 2022

7 March 2022

Haywards Heath to Wivelsfield via Chailey

Sunday 13 th March 2022

This little ride came about in consideration of the short days and (possibly) inclement weather at this time of year. It is actually a combination of the first bit of the Haywards Heath to Lewes ride (September 2019) and the last bit of Balcombe to Wivelsfield (September 2015 and January 2019). The join is at Freshfield Crossways.
We’ll enjoy again the delightful little urban bridleway that takes us out of central Haywards Heath. At Walstead we embark on a network of those little country lanes that are a feature of rural Sussex, and popular with cyclists; there are some ups and downs, as we criss-cross the Ouse valley and later ascend to Chailey.
Owing to the dearth of affordable pubs in this area, the lunch stop will be near the end (at the Cock, in fact, a frequent Clarion lunch venue), so it will be an early-to-rise and early-to- bed affair. We probably won’t venture across Chailey Common (as it’s very muddy and uneven) but may catch a glimpse of the ponies. The windmill will not be open yet but we could go and look at it if we want.
On the way to Wivelsfield Green, there is a small chance of once again encountering the farm-cum-café-cum-model-railway exhibition, with the swing, the story of which I have occasionally bored people with over the years. Apparently it is at Oakwood Farm. But it can’t be a tea stop, because we won’t have had lunch yet!
Distance: 15 miles
Start at: 10:00 am at Haywards Heath station (Boltro Road exit). When alighting from the train on platform 3 or 4, walk back the way you have come and take the lift to the bridge, then turn left and get the lift down to the exit.
Recommended train: 9.29 London Bridge train from Brighton.
Do not wait on the concourse – get straight on the train and make for the bike store
carriage at the front.
Finish at: Wivelsfield station.


The Next Ride: Sunday 6 February 2022

3 February 2022

Burgess Hill to Hassocks:

We leave Burgess Hill by means of a quiet residential road (the sort where people learn to drive on a Sunday morning, so we can remind them about the new Highway Code) and then a very nice bridleway. At Hope Farm, we once again encounter the East Adur, but as a much younger river, only a few hundred metres from its source. Then a nice wooded path across DitchlingCommon (those who prefer hard surfaces can bypass this bit) and then we ride eastwards, on tarmac, to the Plough, between Chailey and Plumpton Green, for lunch. (It’s an old Clarion haunt: the pub with the memorial to the Polish airmen).

We then grapple with the strange geography of Sussex: East Chiltington is some 17 miles east of West Chiltington, but a mile west of Chiltington …. Anyway we’ll only be visiting the East bit on this ride, followed by Streat and Ditchling (more off-road, but good surfaces; at least two churches). On the way, we can get a glimpse of Chailey windmill (open to the public on Sunday afternoons – possible future ride?)

There are several possibilities for a late tea stop in Ditchling or Hassocks before boarding the train home, including the coffee-cum-bike shop (though it may not be open).

Contact me (j.r.grozier@btinternet.com) if you are interested as I may have to book the pub. The pub has a large garden, and also a covered outside area. Those preferring to bring their own lunch could probably sit outside with the rest of us if the weather allows.

Length: 11.5 miles

Terrain: Mostly quiet lanes and bridleways. Some avoidable mud. No hills!

Starts at Burgess Hill station (up side, platform-level exit) at 10:55am.

Train: 10:34 from Brighton to Redhill.

Getting back: trains from Hassocks to Brighton at 15 and 35 minutes past the hour.

Do not wait on Brighton station concourse – get straight on the train and head for the bike storage carriage at the front.

Jim.


The Next Ride 23rd January, 2022

11 January 2022

Preston Park to Hove Park via Hurstpierpoint

We ride from Preston Park to the Beacon
(with an optional section through Stanmer Woods), but then turn left at the bottom of the hill and
proceed to Clayton, where we take New Way Lane to Hurstpierpoint. Here, after a brief look at the
”Children of the Fair” statues, we will have lunch at the Horse Inn. Then to Newtimber via the old
London road and an off-road path that may be a bit muddy.
After that, I am afraid that the law that “what comes down must go up” comes into play as we climb
back up to the top of the Downs. Anyone wanting to avoid that can instead take the NCN20 route to
Brighton, which is flat, but also noisy, smelly and boring, as it runs alongside the A23. The rest of us
will take a slightly different route from last time, turning right at Saddlescombe into the road shown
on the map as Summer Down. It still goes as high as the main road, but is much quieter. We can then
say hello to the ostrich and then whizz down the Dyke Railway trail to Hove.
Distance: 21 miles
Terrain: mostly hard surfaces, some off-road. Please note that the route has two hill climbs of approx 700ft and 550ft.

Start: 9.30 am in Preston Park, south end at junction of Preston Rd and Stanford Avenue.
The Horse has a heated marquee, which should be pretty Covid-secure, and we can book a table in
it, so I would like to know who is, or is thinking of, coming. (This does not commit you to coming – it
is just to get a general idea of numbers).

Led by Jim


The Next Ride 2nd January 2022

27 December 2021

Our Annual New Year Carats Cafe ride (meet Brighton Palace Pier, 10.30)


The Next Ride: Sunday 28th November

22 November 2021

Brighton to Wivelsfield: Sunday 28 November, Preston Park (south end), 10am

This little ride arose out of a trip to Plumpton Green that I made in the summer. It taught me that you can actually ride over Ditchling Beacon and live, as long as you have good brakes and don’t do anything silly.
The ride is mainly on quiet roads and cycle paths, with an optional bit of woodland. If we want a pub lunch we can call in at the Cock at Wivelsfield Green, which has featured on many previous rides. I haven’t booked anything as I don’t anticipate a big turnout; and in any case we might want to sit outside.
The ride ends at World’s End (aka Wivelsfield) where we can use the handy step-free access to the station to get a train back.
Meet at 10am in Preston Park, south end, near the junction of Stanford Avenue and Preston Road. Those wanting second breakfasts might want to arrive there earlier and throw themselves on the mercy of the Rotunda Café, which opens at 9.30.
The ride is about 15 miles long.

Led by JIm


The Next Ride Sunday 31st October

16 October 2021

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.

Jim.