The Last Ride: Sunday 5th October – Rye to Battle

8 October 2014

On a really beautiful but rather chilly morning, Jim, David, Julian and I met at Rye Station to begin the 16 mile ride to Battle.  We began on the NC2 and climbed the ridge, skirting the wood known as Brede High Woods. It was very noticeable that the trees still look quite lush and green.


Autumn seems barely here despite it being October, but the weather looks to be changing tomorrow from today’s warm sunshine. On the way we saw many houses which had attached the typical Kent oast house. I have never been in an oast house and would be fascinated to do so, but we did not knock on anyone’s door to ask!


Eventually we came to The King’s Head pub in Udimore where we stopped for lunch. Jim had a very amusing story to tell about how the village got its name, something to do with the site being ‘over the moor’. No, it didn’t make a huge amount of sense to me either but, bless him, Jim does make you laugh.

At lunch, being a small group, we got into some very interesting conversations about all sorts of things and David, who knows a thing or two about pipes, explained to us the workings of the Newhaven Incinerator and how the stuff that eventually goes out to sea is almost as clear as drinking water.  It was all very fascinating.  Julian, who knows a thing or two as well, told us about the work that he used to do and we got into a very interesting conversation about the pros and cons of this TTIP thing (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). It’s amazing what you can learn about on a Clarion ride.


Something unexpected … Spilstead Farm in Stream Lane

After finishing our lunch, we started down a road which Jim told us had the same number as the last four digits of the first telephone number he ever had. Now, that’s astonishing. How has  he managed to remember the last four digits of his first ever telephone number? Sometimes, I forget the last four digits of my current number!


The view from the ridge

The next bit of the ride was very pretty and very undulating, but those hills were worth it, with views over the Kent countryside in the gorgeous afternoon sunlight.  We noticed how quiet the route was, with very little traffic noise, there being no major roads near to the route that Jim had planned, and it was lovely to be able to hear the birdsong without that noise in the background and for Julian to be able to identify what kind of bird was singing.


The Brede Valley path

After a great ride, we came sailing down into Battle where we found the most lovely teashop, and sat outside for tea and scones, right opposite a fantastic view of Battle Abbey.  Unfortunately, it was too late in the day to go for a visit round the Abbey. It was then a short distance to the station for the journey home which, like the rest of the day, proved to be enormously enjoyable, as David has an app on his phone to do with identifying bird song. Julian is really good at this and it was seriously good fun. I hope the other passengers enjoyed the birdsong too?!

Paper lady

A passenger waiting at Rye Station

Many, many thanks to Jim for a memorable ride and a seriously fun day out.



The Next Ride: 15 July 2012: Bexhill to Polegate

7 July 2012

This ride was inspired by an earlier attempt to plan one from Bexhill to Battle and back: I got to Battle (just about) but decided it was too hilly to inflict on others. This ride goes west out of Bexhill and is not “too hilly”, just hilly.

We head north out of Bexhill and join the wonderfully named Turkey Road which takes us through some very pleasant countryside. Our first target is Who (what?), sorry Hooe. It’s not a very big place: most of its Wikipedia article is about the things that used to be there (school, shop etc). But there is still a pleasant-looking pub, the Red Lion, where we will have lunch. The name Hooe comes from a Saxon word meaning ridge – yes, it is up a hill.

After lunch we head down to the Hooe Levels (which are flat) and Horse Bridge which will get us across the Waller’s Haven; this is the river which eventually reaches the sea at Norman’s Bay. Onward to the hill-top village of Wartling– yes it’s up another hill but, since it’s the last one, walking will be permitted, or possibly compulsory!

We come down from Wartling onto the Pevensey Levels and follow quiet, flat lanes to the Cuckoo Trail where we can stop for tea at the Loom before jumping on a train at Polegate.


Meet: Bexhill station forecourt at11:20.

Getting there: Buy a return to Bexhill. Catch the 10:20 from Brighton. (The 10:29 gets to Bexhill at 11:35 with a change at Lewes, so if you have to use that one give me a call.)

This is a linear ride: If you’re coming by car you could park at Polegate and catch a train to Bexhill or vice versa.

Distance About 21 miles.

Hills There’s a mile or so climb to get out of Bexhill. After that we’re in rolling country so there are a few more climbs, but the prevailing direction will be down. After lunch, just one more serious climb and then it’s down and flat.

Off road A short section of the Cuckoo Trail.

Catering Lunch at the Red Lion in Hooe (01424 892371). Tea at the Loom on the Cuckoo Trail.

Getting home Train from Polegate to Brighton at XX:13 (direct) or XX:28 (change at Lewes).

My mobile 0789 985 1172.