The Next Ride: Sunday 3rd April 2016 – Haywards Heath Circular

22 March 2016

Haywards Heath – Cuckfield – Slough Green –  Goddards Green – Burgess Hill – World’s End – Haywards Heath

This is a repeat of a ride we last did in July 2010. On the way to Cuckfield we will go through Blunts Wood & Paiges Meadow nature reserve, which has a good cycle path. We encounter three very nice Clarionesque lanes: Buncton Lane, Stairbridge Lane and Jobs Lane.

Our lunch stop last time, the Bolney Stage pub, is now out of bounds to us because they require pre-orders for large parties. Instead we will try the other pub on the route – the Sportsman at Goddards Green, where we should arrive at about 12.30.

After lunch we continue eastwards towards Burgess Hill, and so come to Bedelands Farm Nature Reserve, which is a nice nature reserve although not ideal cycling country – we can choose whether or not to visit it. We are then at World’s End, known to the builders of the railway as “Wivelsfield”, when, to be fair to them, it was probably just a load of grass and trees. The option to return home from Wivelsfield Station, mentioned last time we did this ride, is now a real possibility thanks to the new ramp to the southbound platform. This will take about 4 miles off the ride. Those opting for the full whack, however, will be able to see what has become of the “High Bridge” since our last visit.

A Tea Stop will be possible as we ride back through the main streets of Haywards Heath, South Road and The Broadway.


Start at Haywards Heath Station at 10:45. Meet at the station entrance.

Length: 17 miles (13 if returning from Wivelsfield)

Duration: About 5½ hours, including lunch and tea stops.

Terrain: Mainly quiet tarmacked lanes, some B roads. The nature reserves have some good cyclable surfaces. Mainly flat with a few “undulations”.

How to Get There: Catch the 10:14 Bedford train from Brighton, or any earlier train.

Return Trains: From Haywards Heath: every 10-15 minutes. From Wivelsfield: 32 minutes past the hour, or change at Haywards Heath.


The Last Ride: Sunday 6 September 2015 – September Surprise

8 September 2015

The forecast was fine; the sun was shining; the train ride to the start was simple.  So it was quite a surprise that only five riders assembled at Three Bridges yesterday morning.  Our leaders were Leon and Joyce; the followers were Sikka (Sue), Julian and Roger.  We set off towards Tilgate forest where we paused for a selfie and a look at the mobile phone mast disguised as a tree.

B&H Clarion ride at Tilgate forest.

Then on to the long straight downhill run known as Grouse Road.  At one point we stopped to admire the view and Julian pointed out a large, fine looking house, just visible through the trees, to the north.  No one knew what it was and subsequent research has failed to help.  It looks as if it’s on a private road called Woodlands Lane, just south of Colgate village. Any ideas?

At the bottom of Grouse Road we came upon the best view of the ride.  The road swung steeply round a corner and ran across the end of a beautiful stretch of water known as a hammer pond.  These ponds provided the water power for the forges and blast furnaces which made up the iron industry in this part of the Weald until the 18th century.

As we dragged ourselves away from the view we arrived at the “challenging” hill promised in Leon’s write up;  it rose at a gradient of 1 in 8 for a short distance, giving a good excuse to get out of the saddle for a while.

By this time some of us were starting to ask the time honoured question “How far to lunch?” to which Leon provided the only acceptable answer “not far”.  In fact he was right.  A few rather gentler ups and downs brought us into the impeccably manicured village of Warninglid and the welcome sight of the Half Moon Pub.  It was very busy and they were just about to stop taking food orders, but they did take pity on us.  The result was rather a long wait for food, but when it arrived everyone agreed it was worth the wait.

This ride was beautifully planned: quiet winding lanes with sunlight dappling the roadway;  splendid country views  and more downhill riding than up.  And that final cunning trick:  the last five miles or so were almost flat ending at a very reasonably priced café for tea and cake etc. just minutes from the station in Burgess Hill.

Many thanks to Joyce and Leon for planning and leading a delightful Clarion day out.


The Last Ride: Sunday 6 April 2014 – Burgess Hill and Borde Hill

8 April 2014

The weather forecasts were dire – “heavy rain” and the Brighton Marathon was to complicate travel to the station, but we’d already cancelled this ride once, so we proceeded early for the allotted 10.00am train. 

We managed the first crossing of London Rd section of marathon route successfully but then were held up for 20 minutes as thousands of runners, hemmed in by metal fencing, trooped along Jubilee St to New Road. The two stewards by the crossing point were sympathetic, but pointed out that the runners had been training for months for this & we were unlikely to  be able to catch that train! Fortunately one mentioned a gap & Mick & I shot across, raced to ticket office, where Mick again told of our plight to the lady in front of us & was allowed passage. We both ran to platform 4 & joined the right train with only seconds to spare. 

Sue had also had problems. She had to race along with the runners & her bike in order to cross the lines!  

5 Clarionettes alighted ahead of us on the train & were surprised to see us! A young man with wife & baby volunteered to take the group photo at the station as we debated how much wet gear to put on before the start.


We trailed through suburban Burgess Hill until we hit Gatehouse Lane & relaxed at the lack of traffic, the joy of birdsong & spring blossom. As we headed north the lanes began to undulate. There was some dismounting, brief explorations of the surrounding woods with a chance to pick some wild garlic for tea & opportunities for David to practice falling off his bike onto soft grass, as he was trying out new pedals, shoes & cleats. We passed a pony & rider & then, on an uphill section, pony & rider passed us at barely a trot. A few more roads & few more undulations [or, it has to be admitted, climbs] & we were north of Cuckfield without rain & warm from the exercise.


Once in the grounds of Borde Hill Gardens we had superb views of surrounding countryside, even a few early, pink rhodedendrons & I spotted a dodo inside the grounds near the ruined house.


Food at the Elvira Cafe was enjoyed by all. There were cakes [pear & almond & lemon polenta] & ale [Harvey’s Prince of Denmark], I had spinach soup, Mick had rabbit, Leon & Joyce had quiches, David & Julian had fishcake [1 each] & Sue had a super kids roast.


Although most of us had thought we would make an early exit at Haywards Heath station due to being soaking wet, it turned out dull but dryish, so 5 of us decided to return to Burgess Hill, having been warned off Wivelsfield by Jim & Sue, who remembered it had a difficult flight of steps to platform. Joyce & Leon kept to the plan of returning from Haywards Heath & we bade them goodbye near Lindfield, continued through that pretty village & enjoyed Slugwash Lane. Even before reaching Slugwash Lane, Sue & I were lucky enough to see a weasel run in front of Sue & dart across the road with a vole in its mouth. No pics unfortunately, but shared joy.


Due to a misunderstanding between Mick (who had planned to turn right at the bottom of Slugwash Lane) & Leon (who suggested a left turn) we took a wrong turn  & ended up with Sue standing underneath a sign that said “Burgess Hill”, me saying we should turn right & Mick [our leader], maintaining that we turn left. Julian & I were disappointed that we couldn’t just catch a train now, partly as he feared that he had lost his i-phone whilst cycling in the morning & had a dinner engagement in the evening back up near where we were But we all followed our leader who didn’t stop until it was quite obvious that we were almost into Ditchling!


Sue gallantly pointed out that it was now only a short ride to Hassocks station but us moaners suspected that there would be a long wait at Hassocks.

In the centre of Ditchling, Mick left us as he wanted to cycle home as more miles needed for training for a Friday Night Ride to the Coast Ride in 2 weeks time.The remaining 4 of us arrived at the station only to see an 8 carriage train pulling out on its way to Brighton! Assembled on the platform we puzzled over the digital display which said that next Brighton train would be in 1 minutes time! Had it left early? If so we were in for a half an hour’s wait. No, another train pulled up, so previous mirage must have been late, unless trains were now running every few minutes to Brighton to cater for Marathon traffic. We gratefully piled on the train.

 All agreed that All’s Well that Ends Well &, fortunately, Julian even found that his phone, was, in fact, safely waiting for him at home. Mick still managed to arrive home before me, after cycling up Ditchling Beacon. All agreed we’d had another grand day cycling with the Clarion.

More pics on Flickr.


The Next Ride

26 March 2014

Sunday 6 April 2014: Burgess Hill and Borde Hill

We’ve been trying to revisit Borde Hill Gardens having remembered the ride Ian led 7 years ago on 19th Jan 2007 when the sun shone & we enjoyed the lovely lanes of the Sussex Weald We’ve shortened the original to 20 miles from Burgess Hill, rather than Hassocks. We cycle up Gatehouse Lane, Bishopstone Lane, Pickwell Lane and Broxmead Lane.

We lunch at The Elvira Cafe at Borde Hill Gardens and return via Slugwash Lane. We’d like to catch the 10.00 train to Burgess Hill arriving at 10.13.  The lanes are undulating with one short section of Broxmead Lane possibly requiring a dismount but paved & mainly traffic-free & a few bits of main roads to cross and a short section to ride.

There is the possibility for those travelling by train of returning from Wivelsfield station to cut out the last tedious mile through Burgess Hill so buy a return to Wivelsfield.

Catch the 10.00 train from Brighton station or meet at Burgess Hill station at 10 13

Return trains from Wivelsfield 26, and  36 mins past the hour or from Burgess Hill at 01,28 and 33 past the hour.

Terrain -no off-road but short undulations on good lanes.

Lunch – Elvira Cafe Borde Hill Gardens. An early indication of numbers would be helpful.

Mick’s mobile   07803730401

Mick and Anne

The Last Ride: Three Bridges to Burgess Hill, 23 June

24 June 2013


Linda, Marilyn, Richard and Tessa travelled together to 3 Bridges sharing tales of organised group bike rides abroad and ones planned for the future.

We met Jim, Leon, Rob and Rob on the platform and set off through the suburbs of Crawley on a cycle track to Furnace Green leading to Tilgate Park. The park had a scary adventure playground weaving through treetops, a golf course and other entertainments.


The bike track continued through woods dappled in sunlight, purple rhododendron petals scattered on the mud due to the recent high winds, though there were plenty to be seen on the bushes too. As there had been rain recently, we voted for the A23 option rather than the muddy track when we came to a fork in the path.


[Leon and Jim “cooing” in Coos Lane]

We had a mile or so of A23 to Pease Pottage with a hairy roundabout to negotiate which we did in a group fell swoop before joining Cycle Route 20 to Handcross, a welcome quieter route. We crossed the A23 with a long swoop down Coos Lane to Slaugham Lake where we paused before the inclines that took us to charming Warninglid.


[Between Slaugham and Warninglid we went over a bit of the Ouse that I missed on my “Ouse rides” last year – so I thought I’d get a photo for posterity – Jim]

Strange sign

[We spotted this strange sign at Warninglid and wondered how the policy is enforced nowadays … Jim]

Spronketts Lane led to the A272, another hairy crossing, then straight on to Wineham and the Royal Oak for lunch.

Spronketts Lane

At some point in the morning, a fork in the road separated three of us from the rest of the group. Luckily Jim had a map so we rejoined the rest before straying too far. A resolve was made to wait at junctions and check for the person behind.

After lunch we set off down winding Bob Lane. Creatures with long necks were spotted momentarily through the high hedges, Alpaca? Llama? Ostrich? Not sure.

Job’s Lane was equally delightful and quiet then it was the dreary suburbs of Burgess Hill before reaching the centre. Five of us sat outside Nazar Cafe enjoying an abundance of chocolate and other cake, having been offered among other choices ‘Spotted Richard‘ with ice cream! Service and friendliness were great, Marilyn and Richard were even provided with bananas from the Polish Deli across the road.

Then home on the train, having avoided all rain, with even the wind behind us for the afternoon ride.

Thank you Leon for a splendid day out!