The Last Ride: Sunday 2 November – Shoreham Circular in the Rain

5 November 2014

There were still patches of blue sky when I arrived at Shoreham station for a 10 o’clock departure, and I wasn’t really expecting anyone to be there, with a start from Portslade always being the best option. At 10.45h, after the customary group photo, I set off for the start of the Dyke Railway Trail where I thought there might be a couple of more riders to join me.

Group photo

Rendez-vous at Dyke Railway

Undeterred, I started the leisurely climb to the top of Devil’s Dyke and shared an animated discussion with some other visitors about the breath-taking views from the summit.

The Devil's Dyke

Cruising back down the hill and passing the Dyke Golf Course Clubhouse, I contemplated whether I should snap up this special offer for spending my winter months hacking towards some sodden greens.

Cheap golf at the Dyke

It was now downhill all the way to Saddlescombe Farm and a spot of lunch at the Hikers’ Rest.

The Hikers' Rest

After some surprisingly tasty organic coffee, I was able to direct some fellow cyclists who had come over the Downs from Amberley, back to Brighton station, as one of their group had got his bike stuck in top gear.

Stuck in top gear

As it had just started to rain quite heavily, I opted for a hearty lunch of an organic lamb pasty, just when another group headed off to conquer the Downs Way in the mud.

A hearty lunch

After an hour the rain temporarily ceased and I headed off through Poynings and Fulking, to meet up with the second group of cyclists who had been washed off the Downs and we joined up to cycle back to Steyning together.

Honduran coffee at Tom's Foolery

I was back in Shoreham by 3pm for a cup of the best Honduran coffee on the south coast at Tom Foolery, and in plenty of time to get to Ropetackle for a Glynebourne-style picnic and production of Tosca.

Somehow along the way I had missed Julian, who I can only think had started from the Railway Trail just before I arrived, and got to the Hiker’s Rest while I was still sight-seeing on The Dyke, and then decided not to stop for lunch.


The Next Ride

7 May 2014

Sunday 18 May 2014: Shoreham Circular

Portslade – Devil’s Dyke – Poynings – Edburton – Bramber

For some time we have been looking for a ride from Shoreham to facilitate Clarion members living locally in West Sussex, and originally planned a gentle ride to complete Jenny’s ride to Bramber on 23 February, which was shortened due to gusty winds. To enliven the ride, we have tried to add an extra loop along Spithandle Lane to Wiston Granary and back along Mouse Lane, but getting access through the grounds of Wiston House on the day cannot be guaranteed, and returning to Steyning on the busy A283 would be too dangerous. So we have come up with a more challenging ride that Jim would say includes ‘some undulations’.

We will start at Shoreham Station and feed our way through the quiet streets of the historic village of Southwick (recorded in the Domesday Book) and on to Portslade, before turning northwards towards Benfield Valley Golf Course and arriving in Hangleton at the start of the Dyke Railway Trail – RCN 82.

For those who want to check the state of their knees and lungs on an ‘undulation’, before embarking on the 564ft climb to the top of Devil’s Dyke, you can try the short-cut from Hangleton Valley Drive up Downsview to meet up at St. Helen’s Church. In fact railway grades are seldom steeper than 1 in 40, so this smooth-surfaced trail is quite gentle, as we climb up between West Hove and Brighton and Hove Golf Courses and pass the Dyke Clubhouse. From hereon it is almost downhill all the way back to Shoreham, as we zip down Saddlescombe Road passing views to Devil’s Dyke before arriving at our lunch stop at Poynings. We don’t have many opportunities for a coffee break, but if there is time, we can pop into the Hiker’s Rest at Saddlescombe Farm before making the final leisurely ride to the Royal Oak for our lunch stop.

After this break, we head west along the foot of the Downs through Fulking and Edburton and pass Tottington Manor Farm before joining the A2037 from Henfield. There is an extant bridleway that could take us into the back of Upper Beeding, thus avoiding this busy road, but unfortunately some trees have been felled that block the route and it has now become overgrown and it is only really passable by foot. Therefore it seems that we have no option but to cycle carefully down the stretch of the Henfield Road into Castle Town and Bramber. If you blink you might miss Upper Beeding, but they do have nice beer, food and a large garden at the King’s Head.

The last leg follows the River Adur southwards along the Downs Link and across the Tollbridge to Shoreham Airport where we can take another break before continuing along the river through Ropetackle and back to Shoreham Station. If you are feeling fit and need a longer ride, you could cycle into Shoreham from Brighton and back (allow an extra 45 minutes each way).


Start at 10:20, Shoreham-by-Sea Station.

Take 10:00 train from Brighton (or get the later 10.30 train to Portslade and meet us at this station at about 11.00 if you need to get up later).

Length: 20 miles (16 if starting at Portslade)

Duration: About 6 hours including lunch and tea stops.

Return from Shoreham at 03, 33 or 48 mins past the hour to Brighton; 48 mins past the hour direct to London Victoria or 03 via Brighton.

Terrain: Quiet roads and smooth off-road to RCN 82, apart from two short lengths of B roads through Portslade; hard surface, gentle climb to the Dyke and steep downhill to Poynings (check brakepads); one short climb on Edburton Road; half mile of busy road on A2037; flat, off-road Downs Link following river meanders.

Mobile: 0783-7263722

David and Linda


The Next Ride: Sunday October 7th: Hove to Shoreham via Devil’s Dyke

30 September 2012

Meet at Tessa’s house – 38 Lorna Road, Hove. (5 minutes ride from Hove station and 10-15 minutes cycle from Brighton station). Free parking in Lorna Road and surrounding streets – those in the ‘O’ zone (no pun intended?) on Sundays.

Tessa is providing coffee for anyone prepared to arrive for 10am! And then we will start out at 10.30 making our way to Route 82 which takes us along the new cycle track on the Old Shoreham Road. The 82 then takes us legitimately through Hove Recreation Grounds and Hove Park linking the two via Hove Park Road. After the parks there is a short sharp hill to the main road and briefly along this  past Blatchington School. Bypassing the windmill, we join the old railway track to Devil’s Dyke. So a long slow haul up to the Dyke.

Then the good news. A long downhill run alongside the Dyke itself,  stopping at Saddlescombe for a pause and/or a drink at the Hikers’ Rest. Then up a short hill and down to turn left  through Poynings and Fulking, following a softly undulating road at the foot of the Downs. On through Upper Beeding to Bramber for lunch at The Castle Hotel.

Back along the Downs Link  to Shoreham, (or deserting the Link and detouring along Coombe Lane past St Botolphs if the ground is soggy). Possibility of tea at the airport if desired. Option of cycling back to Brighton or taking the train from Shoreham.

Distance: approx. 7 miles to coffee; 7 miles to lunch and 7 miles to Shoreham station with the option of a further 7 miles cycling back to Brighton. Total:  About 21 miles, or if cycling back to Brighton 28.   All distances approximate as my cycle computer does not work properly.

It would be helpful in booking lunch to have an idea of numbers so if you could leave a message on Sue’s phone if you are coming that would be great:   01273 697412.   Thanks.

Trains back from Shoreham 15.09, 15.39, 16.09, 16.39, 16.52, 17.09, 17.39  etc…

SueP/Sikka and Tessa

PS:   Fred – will we see you on your new electric bike??

The Next Ride: Sunday 18 March 2012 – Aldrington, Devil’s Dyke, Bramber, Shoreham

7 March 2012

The ride begins at Aldrington Station at 9.54 am. If arriving there by train, catch the 9.48 from Brighton station. I will be at Brighton station for the 9.48 train myself.

We will cycle slowly uphill through residential roads in Hangleton and onto the cycle track on the dismantled railway line which joins the Devils Dyke road. Continuing towards the Dyke, we then have a long downhill run alongside the Dyke itself, past Saddlescombe, and turn left through Poynings and Fulking, a softly undulating road at the foot of the Downs, then on through Upper Beeding to Bramber for lunch at The Bridge Inn.

I suggest we stop for coffee either at the Dyke Road Inn or the delightful Hikers Rest café at Saddlescombe where they do homemade cakes with wheat-free options. This will be dependent on weather as the Hikers Rest is outdoors (within a walled courtyard with a covered area also open to the yard).

We head back along the Downs Link to Shoreham (or deserting the Link and detouring along Coombe Lane past St Botolphs if the ground is soggy). There’s the possibility of tea at the airport if desired, and the option of cycling back to Brighton or taking the train from Shoreham.

Distance: approx. 4/5 miles to coffee; 7 or 8 miles to lunch; 3 or 4 miles to tea; 2 miles to station. Total: About 18 miles. or if cycling back to Brighton 25ish.

Faster uphill option: I am expecting to take the long hill from Brighton up to the top of the Downs slowly, but if anyone wants to cycle by an alternative route, or faster, up to the Dyke, let me know. We can arrange to meet them, e.g. at the coffee stop which is most likely to be at Devil’s Dyke Inn (my phone: 07787 402 229).

Trains back from Shoreham 15.09, 16.09, 16.39, 16.52, 17.14 etc.

Hope to see you there.

Sikka (aka SueP)