My rides tend to be motivated by the desire to Boldly Go Where No Clarionette Has Gone Before (or at least, where I haven’t gone before). It has bugged me for some time that Normans Bay is a regular haunt of ours but we never seem to go beyond it – until now …
We’ll set off from Cooden Beach station, and after skirting the Bexhill suburbs of Cooden and Little Common, we reach the delightful Peartree Lane, which very soon delivers us to High Woods. This is a Site of Special Scientific Interest; it has some nice hard paths, which unfortunately don’t get us anywhere, but hopefully we will agree to spend a little time here.
We cross the A269 at Lunsford’s Cross, and then Potman’s Lane brings the only seriously steep hill, which is about 1 in 15 but is soon over.
Lunch will be at the White Hart at Catsfield, a pleasant little pub which seems to have a pretty extensive menu and does not appear to be too pricey. They also have Harvey’s.
Catsfield has two churches; one is architecturally pretty stunning, and the other is very old. The latter, St Laurence’s, may tempt us in. It goes back to the 12th century.
On the way back we go through Henley’s Down, and then there is a possible off-road detour which is a little bumpy but at least gets us away from traffic. We can discuss whether to take it or not on the day; if this proves to be a “cat-herding” exercise, we can split up and then reconvene in Sidley.
Sidley is on the outskirts of Bexhill, so at this point we turn west and regain Peartree Lane and our outward route.
We return to Cooden Beach station after a total of only 14 miles; if any of us want to go further, it will be possible to cycle back to Pevensey and Westham station, 6 miles further on (but not to Norman’s Bay, as trains don’t stop there on Sundays).
Start at Cooden Beach station at 11:30. There are bike-friendly ramps to road level.
Distance: 14 or 20 miles
Terrain: Mostly quiet roads, some off-road possible. Some undulations.
Getting there: There are no direct trains from Brighton today – it is necessary to change en route – and the best place to do this is Eastbourne, where there is no change of platform. Take the 10:23 Hastings train; the connection arrives at Cooden Beach at 11:29 (having left London Victoria at 9:47)
Getting back: Trains leave Cooden Beach at 37 minutes past the hour, and Pevensey & Westham at 43 minutes past. Journey time to Brighton is about an hour; to London, an hour and 50 minutes.