via Worth Church and Weir Wood Reservoir
Worth – East Grinstead – Weir Wood Reservoir – Kingscote – Turners Hill
This is my first “made to order” ride. It arose out of a conversation with Julian after our visit to Catsfield Church on 23rd August. It turned out that he had not been to Worth Church, and very much wanted to see it; so I agreed to plan a ride with that in mind.
The church is a little way along the Worth Way. After visiting it we’ll continue along the Worth Way to East Grinstead, and have lunch at about 1pm at the Old Dunnings Mill, the lovely Harveys pub and former watermill where we met the London Clarion section in March last year.
Julian also suggested a visit to Weir Wood Reservoir, which has a nature reserve. So we’ll proceed southwards to the reservoir, and spend a little time in or around the bird hide there. The reservoir was created in 1952 by damming the river Medway, which flows through this valley. (NB veterans of the London Clarion meet-up may remember a long whizz downhill to the pub … and yes, unfortunately we have to go up that hill this time around, mostly walking. Also anyone with an O level in Geography will appreciate that rivers tend to be in valleys …)
After leaving the reservoir we take a bridleway past Stone Farm Rocks, a striking series of sandstone crags which belongs to the British Mountaineering Council. Later we cross the juvenile Medway, pass the Kingscote Estate Vineyard (which has a wine shop!) and go under the Bluebell Line. We’ll then use a Permissive Bridleway to avoid a hill, passing some wonderful views and emerging into Vowels Lane near the top. (I originally thought the vowels would be along the lines of “Agh! Ugh!” but with this new route it will hopefully be more like “Ooooh!” and “Aaaah!”)
After Turners Hill (which is not much of a hill) we will experience the downhill variety, passing (or more likely stopping at) Tulleys Farm Tea Rooms (which, unfortunately, doesn’t appear to have a swing or a model railway) before rejoining the Worth Way and returning to Three Bridges Station.
Anyone wanting to avoid the ups and downs can retrace the outward journey from the pub, and this also makes the ride about 3 miles shorter.
Terrain: Much of this ride is on quiet lanes through lovely woodlands, and the off-road sections are on good surfaces, though they may be bumpy in places. There is a short section of the B2028.
Length: 21 miles or less (see above)
Duration: about 6½ hours, depending on stops.
Undulations: see above!
Start at: Three Bridges Station at 10:45
Getting there: Trains from Brighton at 10:00 or 10:14; from London Bridge at 9:42
Getting home: Trains to Brighton at 19, 24, 48 mins past the hour; frequent trains to London