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.


The Last Ride: Sunday 3 April 2011 Berwick – Blackboys – Glynde

5 April 2011

[More photos on Flickr]

Twelve riders met at Berwick station: Angela, Anne, Jenny, Jim, Mark, Mick, Richard, Rob, Roger, Sue, Suzanne, and Tessa. Welcome to Rob on his first ride with the Clarion.

clarion;Berwickto Glynde 004

An early challenge was the Stonecross Lane BOAT (Byway Open to All Traffic), which has been resurfaced with chunky stone material, very unfriendly to cyclists. Many of us walked it, fearing punctures. From there we headed across the A22 to Chiddingly.

After passing the Six Bells in Chiddingly we all admired a beautiful Elizabethan mansion called Chapel Barn, which I later discovered (courtesy of the Internet) was an ancient house bought in 1496 by Sir John Jefferay and rebuilt in the shape of a letter E as a compliment to Queen Elizabeth I. We also rode through Muddles Green, which it seems was named after the man who owned the village smithy – Mr Muddles, a character straight out of Dickens by the sound of it.

Lunch was at the Blackboys Inn. We sat outside, trying to convince ourselves that it was warm and sunny when it wasn’t quite. The yellow-clad cyclists sat at a separate table from the less-professionally dressed majority (although no corduroys in evidence today as Fred wasn’t with us) and talked about gear ratios (I expect). The pub wasn’t as busy as we might have expected, given that it was Mother’s Day, and the food was very tasty, if a little on the pricey side.

Yellow-clad cyclists' ghetto

We crossed the A22 again after lunch and came upon familiar territory in Harvey’s Lane where we stopped yet again to admire the distant statue of a fox. According to a man who was passing by with his dogs and a pram, the land-owner Mr Askew is (was?) passionate about fox-hunting, so erected the statue in honour of his esteemed quarry. I make no comment. We passed swiftly on into Green Lane.

Mr Askew's fox

At the point where Green Lane morphs into Novington Lane there is a double grave by the roadside, allegedly of two soldiers killed in a duel in about 1880. At this point Jim threw down his bicycle and challenged Mick to a fight to the death by bicycle pump. Despite early damage to his trusty weapon, Mick defended the challenge bravely and luckily no deaths occurred.

The great Clarion bicycle pump duel

At Bishops Lane the ride broke into two factions, as Mark and I went off towards Barcombe – I was heading home and Mark was riding back to Brighton to get some training miles in. So what happened after that, someone else will have to report. Many thanks, Jim, for a lovely ride over new territory for many of us.


Anne adds:
At Ringmer, Jenny and Mark peeled off to return home on varied routes. The remaining 10 enjoyed more lovely lanes and endured some ascents & headwinds, though none too severe. Jim called a halt halfway along one lane to point out the view towards Laughton Tower, which we had explored in March 2010 amid the raucous rooks. As we swept towards Glynde station I thought Mick said the train was at 3.10 and that sounded fairly imminent but when I saw, at the bottom of another hill with the ascent looming ahead, a field full of flocks of sheep & llamas, I really wanted to stop. There was a photographer there with his camera on a tripod, and gorgeous furry, cuddly beasts. I thought they were alpacas, but he said llamas, so assume latter. Daren’t stop to snap as there was a train to catch, so left an expert to capture the essential springiness & fluffiness of early April fields.

Anne, Rob and Roger

On top of yet another hill the fastest riders had reached the station & finally all bikes had been carried down to the right platforms, then we looked up the train times and found there was a wait of 45 minutes. Thus 7 of us locked our bikes (Angela was heading eastward to pick up her car at Berwick & Rob had stopped by the entrance to Glynde Place whilst we were swooping past fast) and walked to the Trevor Arms for cups of tea, coffee and three slices of chocolate cake, for much needed calories. Our two-carriage train from Ashford arrived packed out as usual, already three bikes in the allotted spot, plus luggage & baby in pushchair in aisle, but all seven of us were allowed on, fortunately, since next train was an hour away. Mick & I arrived back at Brighton in time to catch the last vestiges of the Food & Drink Festival on our way home & to bag a few bargains.


A great day out along quiet country lanes lined with celandines, early blossom, birdsong, some soaring descents & fine views, as well as ducks, a pig, donkeys, lambs, sheep and llamas. Thanks Jim for organising and leading us safely there and back.