The Last Ride: Sunday 4 October 2015 – Chiddingly Festival

7 October 2015

Word was it would be the last day of summer, so a lucky thirteen riders gathered at Berwick station on a pleasantly sunny, Sunday morning:  Angela, Chris, Corinne, Fred, Ian (our leader), Jenny, Julian, Kate, Richard, Rob, Roger, Sikka and Terry.  The weather remained kind all day, with just the occasional grey cloud to remind us how good the sun felt the rest of the time.

The start at Berwick station

Our first target was the Chiddingly festival. We reached Chiddingly in well under an hour, only to find the main festival site in the last stages of being dismantled. A few tents and trestles were dotted around but not a single belly dancer was to be seen, and certainly no wild boar hot dogs.

Lunch at the Six Bells, Chiddingly

So we resigned ourselves to an early lunch at the nearby Six Bells pub, wrongly named as it turned out since it did not open until the clock had struck noon. That said, the welcome was friendly, the beer was Harveys and the reasonably priced food was good. So we sat in the garden to be summoned individually by name over a tannoy when our meal was ready. [1]

Six Bells ephemera

The Six Bells – famous for its collection of vintage adverts

Lunch at the Six Bells, Chiddingly

No sooner were we back on the bikes than it was time for the next stop. This was at the the Quadrangle in Allies Lane where Tessa was exhibiting her work in another bit of the festival that was still going strong. Annabel Cottage and neighbouring buildings were packed with a wide range of art work, including Tessa’s elegantly distinctive ceramics. We relaxed in the delightful garden with tea and cakes to prepare for the final stage of the ride.

Teatime with Tessa

This took us through some beautiful woodland and country lanes, back to Berwick station just in time to miss the 15:41 train. This turned out to be good news because otherwise we would never have found out that the nearby Berwick Inn was open. From the front it looked decidedly closed, but Kate ventured round the back and found it was buzzing with activity. The explanation for this strange state of affairs then became clear: the car park is at the back so that is where the customers arrive, unless they are train hopping cyclists of course.

Through the woods

So further refreshments were ordered and the hour long wait for the next train was happily filled with conversation on topics rather more intellectual than usual, such as whether dogs can think and whether it is possible to calculate the probability of winning a game of patience, assuming you play using real cards (rather than on-screen) and don’t cheat. For those who are interested, our conclusions were yes and no, in that order.

Time was when pretty well every Clarion ride was led by Ian. More recently other members have come forward to share the load, which is great news.  But it was good to see Ian back in the saddle and leading a ride.

Thanks, Ian, for a delightful day out!


[1] “Tannoy” is an obscure brand name. In 26 years as a public address engineer, I never once came across a Tannoy product. It’s a bit like calling a modern computer “an Amstrad”! – Jim.

[More photos on Flickr]

The Last Ride – Sikka’s Report: Sunday 24th March 2013 – A different Berwick Circular

25 March 2013

Three stalwarts on bikes, Jim, Angela and Sikka,  left Berwick station on a freezing morning (snow flurries forecast).   We started off with a birthday card for Jim from Clarion members  (mostly absent)  and a hearty singing of ‘Happy Birthday to You’ much to Jim’s embarrassment.   We then cycled along quiet country lanes, through the village of Ripe with our fingers and toes becoming painful with cold.   There was talk of stopping for coffee to thaw out, when we were fortunate to encounter a couple outside Laughton village hall.  

Trying on maternity wear at the Nearly New Sale

They invited us to join their Bring and Buy Sale (babies, toddlers and maternity wear!) and warm ourselves up with hot tea and fairy cakes. No luck though looking for extra socks big enough for a grown-up!

A terrible place

We soldiered on refreshed and encouraged, past ‘Terrible Down’ and reached Uckfield, the Station pub, precisely as planned at 1pm.   Here we were able to warm up once again and enjoyed excellent service and good reasonably priced food.

Lunch at the Station Inn Fellowship is ...

The afternoon felt warmer, perhaps the cold wind was behind us?  I was personally not looking forward to cycling another 16 miles after lunch but we all managed the somewhat hilly cross-country section and reached our next refuelling stop at Chiddingly in time for another warming hot drink and some of Jim’s birthday chocolate.  The pub was full and warm, a very pleasant sociable atmosphere.  One of my favourite pubs.   Lovely fires, dogs, bikers, etc.

Tea Stop at the Six Bells

The route was attractive, with lots of lovely distance views, we saw tiny new lambs in the fields, Angela saw a fox, Jim thought he saw a hare (or was it a rabbit?) and I noticed primroses, daffodils, wood anemones on the verges and Jim photographed a fine topiary duck and duckling.


The route back from Chiddingly was an easy flat ride and we reached Berwick station just in time to see Angela back to her car and to catch the 5.48 train to Brighton.    (Coffee from Jim’s flask on the train to complete the alimentary delights of the day).

Jim’s computer registered 29.5 miles by the end of the day and Angela was pleased to have completed the longest ride she has undertaken with Clarion so far.  Well done Angela and many thanks to Jim for coming out on his birthday to lead this very satisfying ride.


The Last Ride: Sunday 20 November – Glynde to Berwick via Chiddingly and Arlington Reservoir

22 November 2011

[Lots more photos on Flickr]

Some of the group of ten met at Brighton station for the start of Sue’s ride on what turned out to be a beautiful sunny morning in Brighton. Other places such as Hassocks were shrouded in thick mist. Sue, Anne Joyce, Corrine, Mick, Richard and Leon all managed to board the train to Glynde with our bicycles, easily, as there were two coaches with cycle spaces. Even so we were still informed by a guard that if a disabled passenger wanted the space, we would have to make other arrangements, that’s fine we said and off we went to Glynde.

B&H Clarion ride 20-11-2011

We were soon aware that we had left the Brighton sunshine behind us. The fields and hills were wet with dew and mainly hidden by thick mist. Arriving at Glynde we met-up with Angela, Helen and Rob who were waiting in the car park. Rob was busy helping Helen with her bike. Both were so involved with their work that they couldn’t stop for the group photo.

Photos by Rob Russell

A few moments later we were all on our way. The first stage was up a short incline over the railway track heading south toward Middle Farm. Only to find we were going up again past rows of flint faced terraced houses that were probably part of the Glynde estate.

Having only covered about two miles we arrived at Middle Farm, where we stopped for a cup of tea and cakes.

Back in the saddle, but this time only for a photo shoot because there were some rather special bike stands at Middle Farm. Anne and Leon just couldn’t resist the inner child when we mounted the Penny-Farthing frames for a photo.

B&H Clarion ride 20-11-2011

Heading now into small lanes to join the old coach road behind Firle. The hills were still shrouded in mist, but it was thinning fast. The coach road is a loose surfaced track that is quite pleasant to ride. There are splendid views on either side when visibility is good. Some photos were taken to catch the misty mood of moment when Bo Peep hilltop peeped through the mist.

B&H Clarion ride 20-11-2011

Oh I almost forgot; there were some more ups along this road as shown in a photo of Anne disappearing into the mist and Joyce struggling up the next hill. In the distance, can just be seen, the leaders waiting at the top.

The Six Bells at Chiddingly seemed such a long way ahead. Mile after mile of more ups, there were the odd down-hill stretches but they seemed to be fewer than the ups.

Clarion -Glynde to Berwick 014

Along the lanes that were lined with beautiful golden leaved oak trees we suddenly spotted some outcrops of fungi. These some of us stopped to investigate. They were later identified as Lactarius Piperatus (Peppery Milk Cap) that are frequently found growing in groups on the ground in deciduous woodland. The cap size is 10-16 cm diameter. The season, August to November. They are only edible when cooked. (best fried).

B&H Clarion ride 20-11-2011

The sun was now shining on us albeit rather cool and watery when we finally arrived at the Six Bells. Not to the sounds of a jazz band. We were greeted by the thunderous roar of motorcycles that were parked and just being revved to see who could make the most noise. My pleasure, as I have finally matured, is the quiet purr of bicycle tyres on tarmac. I’m glad I’m no longer a youth.

B&H Clarion ride 20-11-2011

The lunch was good food enjoyed in the pub garden in warming sunshine at first, but soon becoming cool again be 2.30pm. During the morning Joyce moved among the riders with adept stealth to obtain signatures on a birthday card for Richard. The plot was to obtain (without being noticed) a piece of cake, as it turned out, to be a piece of bread pudding. Joyce had planned this well ahead so she had brought with her a small red candle and a lighter. After waiting for the meals to be finished, Joyce crept behind the group to deliver the cake with candle and the signed card to the unsuspecting Richard. There was a look of shock and surprise on his face, followed by a broad smile when Joyce lit the candle and we all sang “Happy Birthday” to him. This act of sindere friendship among the group was warming and wonderful.

B&H Clarion ride 20-11-2011

The return journey to Berwick was even more leisurely than usual. We had time to spare, so we decided to stop a while at the Arlington Reservoir, local nature reserve.

B&H Clarion ride 20-11-2011

There was much talk and dismay of the low water level, my guess is that it was more than 20 feet below the high mark. Non-the-less this is a beautiful place to be, and well worth another visit with possible cycle tour all around it. The last section was a pleasant quiet ride to Berwick station for our train back to Brighton.

Thank you Sue, from me and all the group for making the effort and giving us such a wonderful day out.


Corinne adds:
Here is the info about the cycle ride on Sunday. Go to this link: to see the route.
(Recorded using MotionX-GPS on my iPhone.)

The Next Ride: Sunday 20 November – Glynde to Chiddingly and return via Berwick

8 November 2011

Please be clear that while all are welcome to join us we each take part in rides at our own risk.

From Glynde station we will make our way to Middle Farm, via small roads, a cycle lane and Middle Farm car park, for coffee at the café there.

I am assuming the ground will be dry enough to then cycle up a small lane to join the old coach road behind Firle – off road but a very reasonable surface. Then north down the road from Bo Peep Farm. (This used to be an old coaching inn.)

If the weather has been particularly wet we could possibly miss out the old coach road. But this would shorten the ride considerably and it is the most interesting stretch of the day, with the Downs rising to our right and fields sloping away from us into the distance on our left.

We cross over the A27 and ride along the path for a few metres before turning north to cycle through Selmeston, then on quiet roads we bypass Ripe to join the A2124 for a kilometre before turning off north towards the A22.* This busy road we avoid, crossing it and curving round to Chiddingly and the Six Bells pub.

The pub serves food until 3.30 pm. A traditional jazz band called ‘Assorted Nuts’ is expected to start playing at about 1.20 pm.

After lunch, a short spin down to Berwick station. This is a flattish ride, with a short and well-surfaced off-road stretch. Approximately 20 miles.

*There is a pleasant bridleway through the woods avoiding the A2124 but it is likely to be very muddy so I would only recommend this to the seriously adventurous with mountain bikes!

Train from Brighton Station at 10.20 am. Trains are only once an hour so let’s hope we can all get on! Trains back from Berwick are at 48 minutes past the hour arriving in Brighton at 12 minutes past.

If anyone fancies coming from London there is a train at 9.02 from Victoria, arriving Brighton 10.03 in time to catch the 10.20 train to Glynde.

I will have to book a table at the pub so please let me know if you will be joining us.
Telephone: 01273 697412 or 07787 402 229.