The Last Ride: Sunday 7 April 2019 – Berwick to Hastings – Sally and Nick Report

15 April 2019

Berwick to Hastings by way of Arlington, Abbots Wood, Glynleigh Levels. Pevensey Levels, Normans Bay and Bexhill.

Part 1 (Sally)

Graham led his flock of 12 assorted cyclists from Berwick station (most of us having arrived from Brighton on the 10.05 train) on a varied and beautiful excursion through farmland and woodland, over marshes and along the shoreline, to the De La Warr Pavilion, where four of us peeled away after a late lunch to take the 16.30 train home from Bexhill station: Angela C., Bill, Wendy Taylor, and Sally. This was Bill’s first ride with the Clarion and it was his birthday. Welcome, Bill, please come on lots more rides. The other nine carried on for après ride activities in Hastings, and I cannot say what they got up to there: Graham, Wendy Scott, Angela D., Prudence, Tessa, Sikka, Nick, David, Chris.

April 7, 2019: Berwick to Hastings

The day was mild and hazy, with a thin mist that never quite cleared, and at one stage turned into a gentle sprinkle of rain. Most of the rain fell while we were in the Pavilion, eating expensive but very nice food, and looking at an exhibition on Feminisms, Gender, Resistance, called “And Still I Rise” (after a poem by Maya Angelou), and paintings by Hayv Kahramans, Iraqi Kurd artist who had left as a refugee during the first Gulf War, when she was still a little girl.

April 7, 2019: Berwick to Hastings

Our ride was remarkable for the virtual absence of undulations, just the occasional hump-backed bridge over the many watercourses on the Levels. The woodland edges were embroidered with birdsong and emergent wild-flowers. I look forward to seeing Nick’s (and perhaps also Tessa’s) pictures of ladies’ smocks along the ditches, primroses, ferns, wood anemones, bluebells just beginning to unfurl, dog violets, lesser celandines…Not many insects about, and though we took in a snatch of the Cuckoo Trail, no hint of a cuckoo.

April 7, 2019: Berwick to Hastings

Along the Levels, the lanes followed the drainage ditches for much of the way, where last year’s dried reeds and reed-mace were still standing high, pale gold and ghostly, and I couldn’t help thinking how they will be full of birds in a month, when the new stalks have grown. I hope so, anyway. At the side of one lane we were saddened to find a dead badger. Tessa and Sikka caught a glimpse of a stoat (alive), and Wendy T. and Sally saw a red partridge near to Normans Bay; this was alive too but didn’t deserve to be, as it was trying to hurl itself under a car.

It was too early in the season to be tempted into the sea, but on a future occasion we might have to take swimming gear. It’s a relaxed sort of beach, and might be an irresistible destination at the end of a ride on a hot day.

Twenty-two miles for the revellers who went on to Hastings, twenty for the other four of us, and a very pleasant journey it was.

Part 2 (Nick)

After two hours of art, feminism and food in the De La Warr Pavilion, the remaining nine of us were keen to cycle the six miles along the coastal path to Hastings and complete the route devised by Graham. The rain we had observed during lunch had stopped, which made the final leg of the ride a pleasant experience.

April 7, 2919: Berwick to Hastings

When we reached Hastings, three of the group (Sikka, Tessa and Angela D) decided to head straight to Hastings station and return home. The remaining six of us were keen to investigate one of the pubs Graham had researched for the end of the ride.

Before we all headed to a pub in Hastings Old Town, Wendy was keen to follow the main road to see where it led to. We ended up in a car park with a good view of the coastline and marvelled at the effects of dramatic coastal erosion on a path, which had been completely destroyed.

April 7, 2019: Berwick to Hastings

Graham’s suggestion of Hastings pub was a good one. The Crown is an independent pub, with local suppliers for its food and drink. I decided I didn’t need any food, so concentrated on sampling an excellent oatmeal stout instead. All the food looked good and Wendy’s vegan rhubarb pudding tasted particularly delicious.

April 7, 2019: Bexhill to Hastings

April 7, 2019: Berwick to Hastings

We spent quite a while in The Crown discussing train times and made the travel options back to Brighton appear more complicated than they really were. Sunday trains can often be uncomfortably packed in the evening, but we found seating together to talk about the great day out out we had all had.

Sally and Nick

The Last Ride: Sunday 17 May 2015 – Boots, Bluebells, Birds and Spurs

20 May 2015

Sunny day & bumper tally of eighteen at Polegate station & I’ll now attempt the roll call. Sue of Lewes [rather than Sikka] was our leader & had planned a brilliant mid-May ride. Quite a late start as she had to deal with her horses first, so by noon, Chris, her partner & Chris from Patcham, David Jezeph, from Shoreham & Dave, who’s a CTC trained ride leader, Roger & Susanne, Sue [Sikka], Sean & Jane, Jane, who’s a friend of Sue & Chris from Lewes, Julian, Corinne, Julia, Leon & Joyce, Nick & me makes 18, so hope no-one is missed out.

No photos of the station start as we had hopes of pics at Arlington Tea Gardens coffee stop. We trouped onto the Cuckoo Trail & turned left after the bridge over the busy motorway. The trail turned into a bridleway complete with horses,


through the woods & path was, fortunately, not too muddy. In fact it was filled with millions of bluebells & undulated through delightful woods until we reached the tea gardens. Due to the late hour & some hungry tums Sue took a vote on whether or not to stop at the Tea Gardens & it was almost even, but glad the stoppers won!

May 17, 2015: Arlington Figure 8

Arlington Tea Gardens was a joy & a treat & real find for most of us. We had to split up though into 3 or 4 tables for our refreshments, so not sure if there will be a group photo. There were plants for sale at good value prices & would have liked to buy some; glad to see Corinne festooned with tomato plants decorating her paniers afterwards. There were quail eggs for sale too & charming fluffy chicks & their parents to admire, as well as an exotic golden pheasant & his less colourful mate in another enclosure. There was even a [wooden/spoiler] koala bear to see looking down at us from a eucalyptus tree. Food looked good too with vast array of cakes, veg soups [2], & fine fayre for all, but we [mostly] stuck to the liquid refreshments, although there may have been some scones, cream & jam consumed by those who knew the gardens & didn’t need to explore.

We left there around 1pm but still had many miles to go before the lunch stop at Arlington – all most pleasant. Most were able to sit on the very long picnic table at the reservoir & eat our picnics, while listening to the birdsong, chattering & quacking. Julian identified the species; reed warblers, while others explored the area. Some food was shared around & Sue [Sikka] had made some tasty flapjacks for us all. It is [was] her birthday today [18th] so we sang Happy Birthday, along with the bird chorus. By the way I would recommend a Radio 4 programme from last week on Birdsong & linguistics; “What the Songbird Said” to anyone interested in neuro-linguistics, Profs. Chomsky & Miyagawa and/or birds. Julian also told me that we heard “en route many chiffchaffs, robins, wrens and blackcaps”.

May 17, 2015: Arlington Figure 8

Discussion on the grassy knoll next to the picnic table was an inquest into why Labour lost the General Election 10 days ago & thus we are stuck with another 5 years of austerity, cuts, destruction & despair.

May 17, 2015: Arlington Figure 8

At 3pm it was time to move on & the job of shepherding 18 cyclists back onto the road, then along the woodland trails replete with bluebells & devoid of cars resumed. All went fine for 5 miles or so, then, as we were about to enter another lovely wood from a quiet road, David’s bike unfortunately fell into a large pothole tipping him off into the road. He said he was fine & remounted & rode again. But not for very long as the chain & derailleurs were damaged. Dave was backstop & I stayed with the two of them, as did Suzanne. It seemed as though David would be able to proceed & 1st Suzanne & then, eventually, I, resumed the ride, expecting David & Dave to follow. I couldn’t see Suzanne in front of me, but soon Chris headed towards me, having come back to look for stragglers. He told me to carry on the path & then turn left at the T-junction [at least that is what I thought he said], so I did. Back on a quiet road again with the usual charming cottages alongside was pleased to find Dave catching up with me & even more pleased that he said he thought he’d seen someone else ahead of me. He explained that Chris had decided that David’s bike was beyond repair & that he would cycle back & fetch his car to take David & his bike back to Polegate. Sue would phone Dave to report on progress of the both sections of riders. We emerged at a big roundabout at Upper Dicker & tried 2 A roads both up & down in search of the elusive Cuckoo Trail & direction home. The A22 section was particularly hairy as white van man raced past us giving us both close shaves, even though we were in the gutter already! After less than a mile we were able to turn off into Hailsham, but even here, we had a few ups & downs both before, & after, finding the Cuckoo. Passers-by frequently giving the wrong directions & cycle route signage not being helpful enough [or invisible].


As I approached the station, relief at hand, I told Dave I was going to race ahead to cross the level crossing before barriers prevented access to Brighton trains & expected him to follow me. I reached the right platform just as a train pulled in & met Roger & Suzanne who urged me to alight, as did the guard, but I thought I ought to wait for Dave whom I assumed was taking the Brighton train too. So the train pulled out & I went out to look for Dave. He had been to the car-park looking for David, Chris & Sue, but could see none of them, so, after conferring, & explaining that his car was parked down the road at Polegate, not down the road from Brighton station, I went back to the bench on the station platform & awaited the Brighton train, eating the remnants of my picnic lunch in the May sunshine. I phoned David when I arrived home & he was OK although his bike needs repair. Roger phoned me in the morning & explained what had happened at the front, with Sue trying to phone both ends of the ride, but not having connections. David had told me that Chris had raced back to his car & fallen off in the woods in the mud, so that was very unfortunate too. Sue said we would do 18 miles, Julian told me his Garmin said they did 22 miles & I reckon Dave and I must have done another 8, making a round 30, but all of them were enjoyable, some more adventurous/challenging than others & I thanks Sue & Chris for providing a wonderful Mid-May ride for 18 fortunate Clarion Riders.


The Last Ride: Sunday 29 June 2014 – Polegate circular

3 July 2014

We gathered at Polegate: Amanda (our leader), Corinne and Roger by train, Rob by bike and Elaine & Graham (on his first Clarion ride) by car.

We headed off up the Cuckoo Trail as far as Hailsham and then onto pleasant country roads. Amanda had promised “no hills to speak of”: so we spoke of the occasional slope instead, but basically the ride was pretty easy going. She also promised a “meander” and meander we did, along leafy lanes with no wind and hardly any traffic.

Wisely no one had made any promises about the weather: in fact it was warm and quite sunny. The occasional dark cloud appeared but failed to produce anything wet.

Lunch was at the Yew Tree Inn at Chalvington – prompt service, good food and a garden to sit in. Conversation at lunch ranged over topics such as Schopenhauer’s attitude to women, how Coca Cola protects its brand and why accountants always get the top jobs.

We also stopped at Arlington Tea Gardens for tea and (in some cases) cake – possibly a first ever visit by Clarion – certainly one to remember for future rides. The aviary prompted much talk of matters related to birds.

Corinne and Rob both recorded the ride on their GPS-enabled smart-phones [see below]. According to Corinne’s results we covered 23 miles at an average cycling speed of 7mph.

Many thanks to Amanda for a very pleasing ride.


PS. Corinne Attwood uses MotionX-GPS on the iPhone and is sharing with you the following track:

Name:Track 023 polegate
Date:29 Jun 2014 11:14 am

Map: (valid until Dec 26, 2014) View on Map

Distance: 22.9 miles
Elapsed Time: 3:12:06
Avg Speed: 7.1 mph
Max Speed: 20.5 mph
Avg Pace: 8′ 23″ per mile
Min Altitude: 0 ft
Max Altitude: 399 ft

Start Time: 2014-06-29T10:14:15Z

Start Location:
Latitude: 50º 49′ 18″ N
Longitude:0º 14′ 40″ E

End Location:
Latitude: 50º 49′ 16″ N
Longitude: 0º 14′ 41″ E

What is MotionX-GPS?
MotionX-GPS is the essential GPS application for outdoor enthusiasts. It puts an easy-to-use, state-of-the-art handheld GPS on your iPhone.

Can I use MotionX-GPS?
Sure! MotionX-GPS can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store.

How can I display tracks in Google Earth?
Follow the directions on the Google Earth web site to download and install the Google Earth program. Save the attached “Track 023 polegate.kmz” file to your computer [ask Corinne or Roger for the file]. Launch Google Earth, select File, Open, and open the saved “Track 023 polegate.kmz” file.

The Next Ride: Sunday 29th June 2014

21 June 2014

Cuckoo Trail Summer Meander

Polegate – Abbotts Wood – Arlington – Ripe – Berwick – Polegate

Distance: Approx 18 miles.

Hills: None to speak of.

Off road: a couple of shortish sections at Oggs Lane and Hempstead Lane. Should be suitable for all but the skinniest-tyred roadworthy bikes but can be muddy if there has been recent rain.

Meet: 10.55 outside Polegate Station

Trains: 10.20 from Brighton; 9.47 from London Victoria. Returns to Brighton approximately half hourly: 15.42, 14.06 etc.