The Next Ride: Sunday 19 February 2017 – Lewes to Newick and back C 20 miles

6 February 2017

Meet at Lewes railway station car park at 10.30 am outside the very posh bicycle storage facility.

Catch the 10.12 from Brighton, arriving 10.28 or the 10.17 arriving 10.32 or why not ride from home? Riding from Brighton will add about 8 miles to your journey one way. Why not ride out and take the train back?

Return trains to Brighton at 16.22 and 16.44. Home before dark I should think.

Lunch at The Royal Oak, Newick.

1 Church Rd, Newick, Lewes BN8 4JU. Jimmy and Beryl, would like to offer everyone, and dogs! (no cats) a very warm welcome to our friendly and traditional country pub! Offering a good range of quality beers, wines, ciders, spirits and home cooked food! (Food served 7 days a week from 12-3pm and 6-9pm!) Phone: 01825 722506

I’ll book for about 10 people. Attendees please confirm to

My landline is 01273 776361 and mobile 07814 257495

According to Google Maps we travel through Hamsey, Barcombe, Spithurst Road and on to Newick. They are some hills but pretty ones. Apart from getting out of Lewes the roads are minor with little traffic. We should be able to chat a bit on the way.  It’s a nice route and one I use to Fletching, a bit further on. Jenny knows the area well, so if we get lost (if she comes) we’ll follow her.

For those who like a bit of interest to their itinerary St. Mary’s Church on the way to Barcombe is worth stopping at. Flint elevations and a prominent steeple single it out. I stopped here some years ago attracted not only to the church but also to the sound of the music wafting from the building. Inside I met with the music maker, a woman. We spoke for some time and she told me of the old saying, “going to the wall”. It seems in days gone by before pews were used the elderly tired of standing were allowed to sit on benches lining the walls of the church. Hence the saying. Interesting, if you stop awhile its surprising what you can find? Only by bike!

May the road rise up to meet you
may the wind be always at your back
may the sun shine
warm upon your face
the rain fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again
may God hold you
in the palm of his hand

An old Irish saying.


The Next Ride: Sunday 24 February – Hassocks to Lewes

11 February 2013

This is a longer morning ride stopping for a coffee break before continuing to a late lunch in Lewes, after which we will catch a train home (those who wish to do more cycling may wish to ride back to Brighton of course). Distance is approximately 16 miles. Gently undulating with long flat sections. (A repeat of the ride on 8th January 2012).

From Hassocks station we cycle East through Ditchling, turning left down Spatham Lane. Right at the junction a mile or so along then keep to this road following the signposts to Plumpton. Turn into the village as we turn right past The Plough Inn where there is a monument to airmen from one of the wars. Turning down through Plumpton Green to stop at The Fountain Inn for coffee (assuming we are not too early, as they open at 12 noon). The purpose of this stop is to break up the morning with a little rest and refreshment rather than doing the whole ride in one go.

Then, hopefully feeling well rested and raring to go, we turn left onto a concrete pathway. Although only a short stretch the surface is badly cracked so it could almost count as off road. When Tessa and I cycled through here on our practice ride, the weather had been very wet and there was quite a bit of water, but this is unusual. We then turn right and next left and follow quiet roads as far as Cooksbridge. There, to minimize our experience of the main road we turn left onto the A275 for 100 yards and after the railway crossing turn right, cycling along small roads in the direction of Barcombe. Bypassing Barcombe village and Hamsey we rejoin the A275. Here we have the option of cycling on the pavement for safety as far as the next junction. There, left and downhill with views across the valley. Turning down a twitten to join the footpath across the railway and around Pells Pool. Past Harvey’s brewery and up Cliffe High Street to eat at the John Harvey Tavern behind Bill’s.

(This pub serves food until 4.30 pm, giving us plenty of time for a longer morning ride. Please let Sue know on 07787402229 or 01273 697412 if you are coming and want to be included in numbers for lunch as she will book a table in advance.)

Trains: Brighton station 11.03 to Hassocks (arriving 11.13). This is a Southern train. There is an earlier First Capital Connect train at 10.45 if anyone wants to spread the numbers over 2 trains. (The trains do not stop at Preston Park station.) Buy a return ticket to Hassocks as this is honoured returning from Lewes as the fare is no greater from there.

From London Victoria there is a direct train to Hassocks at 9.32 arriving 10.44 available as a single at £5 if bought in advance (i.e. at least the day before). This is a Southern service train.

Returning from Lewes, trains on the hour and 22 and 44 minutes past from 15.00 until the 16.44 train.

SueP and Tessa

The next ride: Sunday 20 May 2012 – Ouse Trilogy – Part II

8 May 2012

Lewes to Haywards Heath via Hamsey, Barcombe, Piltdown, Fletching and Lindfield

The last time we saw the Ouse was on 22 January, between Seaford and Lewes where it would have been a wide, shallow estuary before human intervention deepened and narrowed the channel for navigation purposes. On this ride we will continue upstream and see it gradually getting smaller, although even when we leave it at the end of the ride – at East Mascalls Bridge near Lindfield – it is still a substantial river. We will cross the Ouse a total of six times (the first two in Lewes); on the way there will once more be some little nuggets of local history culled from V.M. Taylor’s River Valley Odyssey. Lunch is booked at the Rose and Crown in Fletching, which I am sure we have been to before, but I’m not sure when.

Start time: 10.30 am, Lewes Station, car park on platform 1 side.
Length: about 24 miles.
Duration: about 5 hours.
Terrain: The path to Offham can be muddy; if it is we can use the road. Otherwise we will be on hard surfaces.
Hills: Now let’s see … rivers run in valleys, don’t they? And you tend to cross them at right angles, right? So … yes, there will be undulations; but we never go above 70 metres above sea level so there are no big climbs, and there were none that forced me to get off and push on the practice.
Getting there: 10.09 from Brighton, 8.47 from London Victoria (NB: I believe the excellent Lewes station café is now open on Sundays!)
Getting back: There are plenty of trains in both directions from Haywards Heath.


The Last Ride: Sunday 23 January 2011

25 January 2011

Lewes – Barcombe – Lewes

‘For whom the tolls?’

[You can find our Flickr group, containg more photos here]

Jenny described her ride as short but sweet and that is precisely what it was. Lewes Station car park made an excellent meeting point for both train and car-borne members, despite the shock of a new £1.00 fee being expected on a Sunday for actually parking a car there. Jenny set off in a north-westerly direction happily followed by Tessa, Ian, Richard, Angela, Roger, Suzanne, Fred, Janet and Sue. From the quaint delights of Cliffe High Street we quickly found that Tesco’s car park made a quick and easy escape from the bustle of the town centre. Suzanne and Fred vied for ‘Straggler of the Week’ by preferring Shanks’s pony to get them up the hill at Mayhew Way – so much better than these new fangled bi-cycle machines. In no time at all we were strung out in Indian file, along the pavement along Malling Down … and where the pavement narrowed we skimmed past our first toll house.

The start at Lewes station.

It was lovely to get off the busy A26 to amble along Wellingham Lane and left into Barcombe Mill Road. Jenny made sure we had plenty of time to admire the fish ladders at Barcombe Mills and then on to the toll bridge. Four wheels and one horse would have cost a whole 1/6d, so our 20 wheels would have cost us the whacking sum of 7/6d, but as we were not in the company of an equine we managed to cycle over for free.


A quick whiz past the late lamented station (1858 – 1969) -> café (1969 – 1980?) -> restaurant (?) and the even lamenteder pub still nostalgically remembered in its heyday as the Anglers Rest (the pub formerly known as … wait for it … the Railway Inn) was followed by a slow struggle up the hill to Barcombe Cross. This brought us to the delights of the Royal Oak and its brand new publicans. After the traditional Clarion ‘moving of the tables’ (not an attempt to get in touch with the supernatural, merely a natural desire to sit all together) we settled down to wait for our selected meals when our Carshalton contingent TJ and Joan joined us. Chat ranged from that nice man Mr Portillo, to plans for future rides, to the vagaries of the English language (according the Americans, the Canadians and the Australians).

Joan and TJ

After a long, leisurely lunch it was off again through the quiet lanes. It was overcast. It was cold. The wind tended to whip. But how lovely to be able to see through the newly trimmed, winter-bare hedges over to the swell of the Downs ridge to the south and across rolling countryside in almost every other direction. Brown and grey were the predominating colours, but what a huge variety of browns and greys they were. (End of purple passage – Stella Gibbons, eat your heart out.)

And whither did Jenny lead us? Very kindly, it was to her own home, where those who could stay were plied with tea, biscuits and probably sympathy for those with overstrained muscles. A welcome end to a welcome bit of exercise with friends.

A big thanks to Jenny for organising the ride and ‘going the extra mile’ by providing afternoon tea.


Tessa adds: When we arrived at Jenny’s house in Cooksbridge, our numbers diminished. Roger, Suzanne and Janet had work commitments to get back to. The rest of us fitted nicely into Jenny’s dining room to drink large mugs of tea and eat biscuits. We formed a circle of chairs and conversation bounced back and forth, ranging from anecdotes of Berwick Church frescoes to stuffed badgers.

As the light began to fade, we set off on the busy A275 with our new leader Sue. We forked left to Lewes where Ian left us to ride fast to the station to drive back in daylight. Rather than follow the streets, Sue led us through a series of tiny lanes and snickets, past the Pells pools, over a steep bridge (‘Another hill!’ said Fred) through the park alongside the Ouse. At the station, Angela, TJ and Joan left us and our groupsave of 4 did not have long to wait for the Brighton train. We all decided we had cycled the perfect distance that day.

Thank you Jenny!