The Next Ride: Sunday 28th June 2015 Brighton to Newhaven by coastal route.

17 June 2015

Return inland via Piddinghoe.

This route to Newhaven literally hugs the coast. We do not set foot on the A259.

Cycle path to the Marina where we join the Undercliff to Saltdean. A short steep climb to a rejoin the clifftop. A stretch of cycle path alongside the A259 before we head closer to the coast taking the concrete and slightly off-road paths beside the bungalows of Peacehaven before we dip down to another stretch of Undercliff.

Short coffee /admiring the view break on Peacehaven Undercliff (weather permitting). Please bring your own flask/snacks.

A stiffish but short climb up to rejoin the track that meanders its way through the bungalows and concrete roads of Peacehaven to the Headland. Here we join the Sustrans route N2 into Newhaven. Off-road with large but manageable puddles if it has been raining, we turn right to swoop down through the suburbs of Newhaven to our lunch stop the Hope Inn.

After lunch we return to Brighton inland via Piddinghoe and the suburbs of Peacehaven, regaining the Undercliff path at Saltdean.

Those daunted by the steep (but short) climb out of Piddinghoe onto the downs above Peacehaven can always take the train back to Brighton from Newhaven.

Meet at Palace Pier at 10.30am

Tessa & Sue (Sikka)

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The Next Ride: Sunday 11 January 2015 – Palace Pier to Rodmell and the Egrets Way

5 January 2015

We meet at what I still think of as the Palace Pier at 10.15, proceeding via the Undercliff Walk to Peacehaven, up to Hoddern Farm and down to Piddinghoe. From Piddinghoe we cycle, carefully, 3 miles on the Newhaven/ Lewes road to Southease. At Southease we will go and have a look at the new Egrets Way. Unfortunately after a short period we will have to retrace our steps because some xxxxxx farmer has requested that the cinder path be discontinued. So although the Egrets Way continues it is more or less impassable at this time of the year and the farmer prefers to gouge huge ruts on it with his tractor. Back on the road it is only another half a mile to the Abergavenny Arms for lunch.

After lunch we go back to Southease and take the road to Telscombe. It is undeniable that this involves a hill but only the first hundred yards or so may need to be walked, without shame, and it will warm us up and provide magnificent views over the Downs.

The alternative would be to cycle 3 miles on to Lewes and get the train back from there.

So we then return via the Tye to the Undercliff Walk, where there is always the possibility of the wonderful cakes at the Ovingdean Café.

In all about 19 miles. My mobile is 07803 730401.

Anne and Mick


The Last Ride : Sunday 7th September 2014 – Brighton to Seaford and a day full of Brownie Points  

10 September 2014

Go East”, decreed Anne, so East we went … and it was loverly.

September 7, 2014: Brighton to Seaford

Anne, Annie, Corinne, David, Jim, John, Julian, Nick, Roger and Suzanne met at the Palace Pier on a hazy early autumn morning, just right for Clarion.  Once the technology had been discussed (David’s new micro-video camera, Julian’s zoom capacities) and a bog-standard group photo taken, it was off along Madeira Drive (apologies to the cyclist on the “Doitforcharity” cycle ride who thought/hoped that our gaggle of momentarily stationary Clarion cyclists was the Finishing line) and thus onto the (… cliché alert …) sunny uplands of the cliff tops as far as Rottingdean where a vertiginous drop brought us down onto the Undercliff Path, Saltdean and Angela who was waiting to join us.

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Then we were eleven.

Once we had conquered the daunting rise to Telscombe Cliff, Anne led us on a complicated but fascinating tour (aka “almost NCRN2”) of Peacehaven and finally onto what seemed like the top of the world above Piddinghoe. First set of Brownie Points to Anne for knowing the code to open the gate across the private road so we did not have to lift the bikes over.

Following a quick whizz down through Piddinghoe (Jim getting giddy by insisting on reading the inscription wound round their Millennium “pole”)

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and round the back of Newhaven and once again we were in open cycling country, on our way to Seaford where all made a concerted attack on our sandwiches, scones etc sitting by (…cliché alert …) a sparkling sea. Our lunchtime was enlivened by the sight of (a) a lifeboat rescue practice and (b) Anne taking an energetic dip. Fortunately (a) did not attempt to rescue (b).

September 7, 2014: Brighton to Seaford

Jim opted to leave us at Seaford, thus missing the highlight of the ride – a first for many of us, and a loved, familiar spot for others – described rather boringly as “The South Hill Barn”. The area is, in fact, a charming nature reserve on the top of Seaford Head. Unfortunately Angela did not feel like making the last climb of the day up to the reserve, but Brownie Points to David for going down the mighty hill to check that she was OK, and then ( … mixed metaphor alert …), to burnish his halo even brighter, he looked after the bikes while the rest of the group went to see the (…cliché alert …) stunning view of the Cuckmere Valley and the Seven Sisters.

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Sun drenched and tired we all met up with Angela again at the bottom of the steep hill, only to realise that Roger had left his helmet at the top. Not sensible! So it was then his turn to do an extra climb back up. Fortunately two kind people had put the helmet on top of a post where it was eventually found. Brownie points for them.

The ride back to Seaford Station was gloriously downhill. There was a very keen desire on the part of many to stop for tea. However, as a train was standing in the station ready to go,the unanimous decision was that an early cup of tea at home would do instead. In addition to our nine bikes (Brownie Points to Angela’s son, Jack, for going to Seaford to collect her in the car) there must have been another nine non-Clarion bikes spread over the four carriages. Brownie points to Southern for accommodating all of us with a smile.

Many thanks to Anne for an excellent, new, ride.

Suzanne


The Last Ride: Sunday 22 January 2012 – The valley of the Ouse (Part One)

23 January 2012

At the crack of dawn Anne, Joan, Mick, Roger, Sean, Suzanne, Tessa and TJ all clambered off a Southern Rail train at Seaford and were met by our leader for the day, Jim, as well as Rob who had valiantly brought his Moulton “pick-a-back” on his motor vehicle. To everyone’s disappointment Rob found that a tyre had split and so had to miss the morning part of the ride, suppliers of Moulton tyres being limited to two within the UK and therefore not easily accessible from Seaford on a Sunday morning.

1.At Seaford Station

The first part of our exhilarating ride took us all of 200 yards to Seaford’s magnificently restored … public conveniences with their bike-shaped bike stands outside. Then, our backs to the playful wind, we sailed through the town to the far east “cliff” end where we wheeled round, gritted our teeth and rode into the teeth of the wind (yes, a mouthful of gnashers!). Mercifully, after a whole 500 yards (Brighton and Hove Clarion does not deal in metres – let’s hope there is never an Easter Meet where it is decided that they are the legal measurements for the organisation) Jim suggested that we pay our £1.50 (£1.00 for senior citizens) to visit the Seaford Museum in the Martello Tower. UNMISSABLE. We were given a warm greeting by the lady on the cash desk and even a brief introductory talk and then down into the bowels of the tower to roam amongst the fascinating exhibits – all collected and curated by volunteers. The more adventurous braved the winds and explored the roof of the tower.

2.Sean gazes out to sea

There was just one minor problem with the visit. Jim had terrible trouble tearing us all away from the fascinating nooks and crannies, videos and paintings, artefacts and relics. But our visit to the museum solved at least one important mystery for us: there was a map which very clearly showed how, until about the sixteenth century, the River Ouse (feature of the day) flowed into Newhaven, veered east behind a shingle bank and debouched (word of the day) just under Seaford Head cliffs.

Emerging from the wonderful museum, teeth were once more gritted and we battled our way personfully along Seaford prom, having a quick look at the Buckle, a modern house with an old-looking tower but, the whole having been built in 1963, it is only the historical plaque on the gate that is really of any interest.

3.The Buckle

What did catch the imagination of all of us was our visit to the site of the Tide Mills half way between Seaford and Newhaven, built on the very shingle bank that had eventually blocked off the River Ouse. Now, on a bleak (this is January, after all), wind-swept stretch of shingle, we used the interesting notices dotted around to imagine the bustling life of the corn mills (1761 – c.1900), of Bishopstone Beach halt (1864–1942), of the station-master’s house, of Chailey Heritage Marine Hospital and nurses’ home (1924–1940) and, last but not least, the thousands of Canadian soldiers briefly billeted there before the disastrous failed raid on Dieppe on 19 August 1942.

5.Tide Mills

With all these ghosts around us, we set off back into the modern world of present-day Newhaven with its shed-like supermarkets, fast-food outlets and DIY emporia, but once over the swing bridge it was back into the quainter, if very modern, harbour development. By which time we were more than glad to see the Hope Inn at the end of the harbour road. Welcoming as ever, they had reserved the lovely upstairs conservatory (view of the Ouse “oblige”) for us and a tasty meal was soon on its way – even for Rob who had managed to get there by car.

8.He who would go to sea for amusement would go to hell for pleasure

A yatter-yatter-yatter hour later we said goodbye to Rob for the last time of the day and faced north, through the rather sad (but cycle-friendly) remains of the Newhaven town and out on the open road to follow the Ouse. First stop was Piddinghoe and – a first for many of us – a short detour behind the church to see the fast-runnning Ouse at close quarters.

11.By the river

Southease was the next village to benefit from a Clarion visit; those interested in engineering went off to admire the newly refurbished 1880 swing bridge; those too knackered to get that far visited the tiny but ancient church, most of which dates back to 966.

Iford brought us to another church, which looked a bit more modern. Wrong. Most of the present-day church had already been built by 1100. Inside there was a wealth of fascinating wall painting, stained glass and other church furniture that had us reaching for the guidebook.

And yet our history lessons were not quite over. A quiet little back road (past the Lewes Football Club and a Southern Water depot to be precise) brought us to Lewes Priory. OK, we had all seen it from the train. Did any of those of us who had not been there before have the slightest idea how extensive the remains are? They’re still huge – despite the “historically sensitive” Victorians having driven their railway right through the centre of the (admittedly already) ancient ruins of the massive Cluniac church.

18.Lewes Priory

Mick, Sean, Joan and TJ all made a dash for the 4.14. The remaining five had the pleasure of being “introduced” by Tessa to the Sussex Guild Shop and Gallery in Southover Grange gardens. It made me for one sorry that I was not ready to start my Christmas shopping.

A day of “must go back and look at that again”s. Many thanks to Jim for his guidance on a relatively short but extremely sweet day out.

Suzanne

Jim adds:
NB In answer to your question of about 10 hours ago, the website says the main river *and tributaries* are over 140 miles long in total, but it does not give a length for just the main river, not one I could see immediately anyway.

Incidentally in my extreme tiredness caused by lack of sleep (did it show?) I forgot my ”piece de resistance” – last weekend I discovered that the name Ouse is a “back formation” (I expect you know about those things) – in other words it has been given to the river from the name of a town it flows through, namely Lewes, as in “Aqua de Lewes” => “Aqua de l’Ouse” – and that before that it had a different name entirely. This sort of thing is apparently quite common, especially for river names – Arun is also a back formation (from Arundel, naturally), though Adur seems to be the “proper” name of that river. Source: Brewers’ Dictionary of Names.

[More photos on Flickr]


The Last Ride: Sunday 15 October 2011 – Brighton to Seaford

20 October 2011

Belying the early morning frost, the sky was blue, the sun warm, and the sea smooth when nine eager Clarionistas met at the Palace Pier: Fred, Ian, Joyce, Leon, Rob, our leader Roger, Sikka, Steve and Suzanne. After wending our way through the Marina and along the Undercliff we were soon to be met by Angela and Helen at Saltdean, so now we were eleven.

Group photo

Once off the Undercliff, where the weather had already required a great deal of disrobing, there was what Roger had described as a ‘short sharp climb’ – sharp yes, but short? It certainly didn’t feel like it to me, nevertheless, we all heroically made it still on our bikes, if hot and panting (I was anyway). This meant more disrobing before crossing the road onto the Tye.

Glorious day on the Downs

The theme of this ride surely must be gratitude: grateful to have this perfect autumn day, the magnificent views as we crossed the Tye with more to come, and being with amiable companions. Once across the Tye there was the thrill of the long steep descent. I am afraid we all flew through at high speed and missed the former judges’ lodgings – still it was good to know it was there … Another hill to climb, so this was turning out to be a question of perception of the ‘mostly flat’ description. On the other hand the ‘ups’ were manageable and the downs were wonderfully long and steep, as was the descent into Southease – and the ‘downs’ did seem to outnumber the ‘ups’ (I don’t know if that can be the case).

Southease swing bridge

By now a bit of dawdling was called for, provided by a long stop on the bridge over the Ouse, contemplating the river and recalling the tragedy of Virginia Woolf. On then to Newhaven and, pedalling round the harbour, the perennial discussion about shags and cormorants. The final consensus seemed to be that there were five cormorants and one shag sunning themselves and spreading their wings. Checking, it is clear there were definitely five cormorants, but whether the other bird was a shag I leave open.

Group photo at lunch stop

At the Hope Inn it was nice to have Sue Bullock join us. Again we were fortunate, seated on the first-floor closed veranda with a great view across the harbour to Seaford and what was finally agreed to be Bishopstone. Discussions ranged around, at one end of the table, democracy, and at the other, the differences between pescatarians, vegetarians, vegans etc. This was in some way brought about by the fact that Rob had to wait a very long time for his fish pie, which never materialised, leaving him to settle for a vegetarian curry instead.

St Andrew's, Bishopstone

After lunch the merry band began to disperse on their separate ways: Ian to go back with Sue in the car; Angela, Helen, and Steve to make their way back to Saltdean, potentially joined by Sikka, except that she missed their turning off and failed in her attempt to catch up with them – so as she reported later she had a solitary journey home. The rest of us, Roger, Leon, Fred, Suzanne, Rob and Joyce, continued on to Seaford, with a diversion to Bishopstone and the delightful church of St. Andrews, where we spent time in the sun pottering around the amazingly well-kept churchyard in which even the carvings on the impressive gravestones had been redone. We pondered over the grave of Baron Asquith, whom I now know to be the fourth son of H.H. Asquith – later Prime Minister, eventually Lord Justice of Appeal, and made a life peer in 1951 as Baron Asquith of Bishopstone.

Bishopstone art deco station

On then to Seaford, noting as we went the intrusion of the incinerator, clearly visible from several points on the Downs. (Some like to call it ‘Energy from Waste’ but until I see evidence of the energy produced and who gets it I will continue to call it the incinerator – but then I hate it as much as I always did …) Another short diversion and excuse for dallying, at Fred’s request, was to the station of Bishopstone, which was very well worth it. A charming Art Deco design by Charles Holden, a Grade 2 listed building (now on the English Heritage at-risk register). It was opened in 1938 and was meant to serve a residential development that never happened because of the outbreak of the Second World War. The war explains the pair of pillboxes on the roof of the main building, which puzzled us, and it is said that considerable effort was made to blend them in to the original structures. The line was singled in 1975 and there are no staff, which explains English Heritage’s concern.

Tea and scones stop

Finally to Seaford for a well-needed cup of tea and scones, the mystery of the trembling pole, the truth about short cycle lanes, and the train home. Many thanks to Roger for a wonderful day.

Joyce

[More photos on Flickr]