The Next Ride: Sunday 23 July 2017 – Lewes to Berwick

11 July 2017

Ringmer – Palehouse Common – East Hoathly – Whitesmith – Vert Wood – Ripe

We did this ride only just over a year ago, but it was quite popular, so I have suggested revisiting it to fill a gap in our schedule. It features some of my favourite cycling territory, namely the lanes to the north-east of Ringmer – Norlington Lane, Green Lane, Harveys Lane, Bradford’s Lane – and the lanes around Ripe: Mill Lane, Mark Cross Lane, Langtye Lane. Nice and flat, narrow and quiet, give or take the odd horse.

We start from Lewes Station. As last time, my brief history of Lewes Station is available if anyone wants it. If not too muddy, we can also go via the Lewes Railway Land Nature Reserve at the start of the ride.

Once again we will sample the delights of Palehouse Common and Hollow Lane, and the latter may once again inspire a reading of T S Eliot. Our lunch stop, the King’s Head in the delightful little Sussex village of East Hoathly is just over half way through and we should arrive there at about 1pm.

Once more, a semi-traverse of Vert Wood if not too muddy, then into that lovely flat, open countryside to the north of the Downs (Laughton Levels?) and so to Berwick Station.

Practicalities:

Start at Lewes Station at 09:40.

Trains: Get the 09:17 train from Brighton to Lewes.

Length: 25 miles.

Duration: 6 hours including lunch and cat herding.

Getting back: Trains leave Berwick hourly for Brighton at 40 minutes past the hour.

Terrain: Flat – we never go above the 75m contour, and any “climbs” we might encounter are gentle ones. There is a very short section of the B2192, but otherwise quiet lanes and a reasonably hard track through Vert Wood.

This is a linear ride; anyone arriving by car can park at Lewes Station and get the train back there from Berwick; or park at Berwick and get the train to Lewes.

Jim

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The Next Ride: Sunday 15 May 2016 – Lewes to Berwick

4 May 2016

Ringmer – Palehouse Common – East Hoathly –
Whitesmith – Vert Wood – Ripe

I love those lanes to the north-east of Ringmer – Norlington Lane, Green Lane, Harveys Lane, Bradford’s Lane – and the lanes around Ripe: Mill Lane, Mark Cross Lane, Langtye Lane. Nice and flat, narrow and quiet, give or take the odd horse.

On previous rides we’ve tended to turn west after the fox statue, and make for Isfield. Maybe that is what Sue has in mind for her ride on June 26th; but we will venture eastwards today, and take in the delights of Palehouse Common and Hollow Lane (which might bring to mind a certain poem by T S Eliot …) before arriving at our lunch stop, the King’s Head in the delightful little Sussex village of East Hoathly which, in true Sussex tradition (think of the Grinsteads and Chiltingtons) is nowhere near West Hoathly.

A semi-traverse of Vert Wood if not too muddy, then into that lovely flat, open countryside to the north of the Downs (Laughton Levels?) and so to Berwick Station.

Practicalities:

Start at Lewes Station at 09:30.

Trains: Get the 09:12 Bexhill train from Brighton to Lewes. It will probably be an electric train with plenty of space for bikes, as the maggots are resting today. On arrival in Lewes, remain on Platform 3 for a quick look at the latest railway history poster, and a game of guess-what-they-left-out. Then an optional repeat of my brief history of Lewes Station if anyone wants it.

Length: 25 miles.

Duration: 6 hours including lunch and cat herding.

Getting back: Trains leave Berwick hourly for Brighton at 40 minutes past the hour. If we arrive at the wrong time, the Berwick Inn has a bouncy castle we can play on.

Terrain: Flat – we never go above the 75m contour, and any “climbs” we might encounter are gentle ones. There is a very short section of the B2192, but otherwise quiet lanes and a reasonably hard track through Vert Wood. If not too muddy, we can also go via the Lewes Railway Land Nature Reserve at the start of the ride.

This is a linear ride; anyone arriving by car can park at Lewes Station and get the train back there from Berwick; or park at Berwick and get the train to Lewes.

Jim.


The Last Ride: Sunday 17 May 2015 – Boots, Bluebells, Birds and Spurs

20 May 2015

Sunny day & bumper tally of eighteen at Polegate station & I’ll now attempt the roll call. Sue of Lewes [rather than Sikka] was our leader & had planned a brilliant mid-May ride. Quite a late start as she had to deal with her horses first, so by noon, Chris, her partner & Chris from Patcham, David Jezeph, from Shoreham & Dave, who’s a CTC trained ride leader, Roger & Susanne, Sue [Sikka], Sean & Jane, Jane, who’s a friend of Sue & Chris from Lewes, Julian, Corinne, Julia, Leon & Joyce, Nick & me makes 18, so hope no-one is missed out.

No photos of the station start as we had hopes of pics at Arlington Tea Gardens coffee stop. We trouped onto the Cuckoo Trail & turned left after the bridge over the busy motorway. The trail turned into a bridleway complete with horses,

DSC00308

through the woods & path was, fortunately, not too muddy. In fact it was filled with millions of bluebells & undulated through delightful woods until we reached the tea gardens. Due to the late hour & some hungry tums Sue took a vote on whether or not to stop at the Tea Gardens & it was almost even, but glad the stoppers won!

May 17, 2015: Arlington Figure 8

Arlington Tea Gardens was a joy & a treat & real find for most of us. We had to split up though into 3 or 4 tables for our refreshments, so not sure if there will be a group photo. There were plants for sale at good value prices & would have liked to buy some; glad to see Corinne festooned with tomato plants decorating her paniers afterwards. There were quail eggs for sale too & charming fluffy chicks & their parents to admire, as well as an exotic golden pheasant & his less colourful mate in another enclosure. There was even a [wooden/spoiler] koala bear to see looking down at us from a eucalyptus tree. Food looked good too with vast array of cakes, veg soups [2], & fine fayre for all, but we [mostly] stuck to the liquid refreshments, although there may have been some scones, cream & jam consumed by those who knew the gardens & didn’t need to explore.

We left there around 1pm but still had many miles to go before the lunch stop at Arlington – all most pleasant. Most were able to sit on the very long picnic table at the reservoir & eat our picnics, while listening to the birdsong, chattering & quacking. Julian identified the species; reed warblers, while others explored the area. Some food was shared around & Sue [Sikka] had made some tasty flapjacks for us all. It is [was] her birthday today [18th] so we sang Happy Birthday, along with the bird chorus. By the way I would recommend a Radio 4 programme from last week on Birdsong & linguistics; “What the Songbird Said” to anyone interested in neuro-linguistics, Profs. Chomsky & Miyagawa and/or birds. Julian also told me that we heard “en route many chiffchaffs, robins, wrens and blackcaps”.

May 17, 2015: Arlington Figure 8

Discussion on the grassy knoll next to the picnic table was an inquest into why Labour lost the General Election 10 days ago & thus we are stuck with another 5 years of austerity, cuts, destruction & despair.

May 17, 2015: Arlington Figure 8

At 3pm it was time to move on & the job of shepherding 18 cyclists back onto the road, then along the woodland trails replete with bluebells & devoid of cars resumed. All went fine for 5 miles or so, then, as we were about to enter another lovely wood from a quiet road, David’s bike unfortunately fell into a large pothole tipping him off into the road. He said he was fine & remounted & rode again. But not for very long as the chain & derailleurs were damaged. Dave was backstop & I stayed with the two of them, as did Suzanne. It seemed as though David would be able to proceed & 1st Suzanne & then, eventually, I, resumed the ride, expecting David & Dave to follow. I couldn’t see Suzanne in front of me, but soon Chris headed towards me, having come back to look for stragglers. He told me to carry on the path & then turn left at the T-junction [at least that is what I thought he said], so I did. Back on a quiet road again with the usual charming cottages alongside was pleased to find Dave catching up with me & even more pleased that he said he thought he’d seen someone else ahead of me. He explained that Chris had decided that David’s bike was beyond repair & that he would cycle back & fetch his car to take David & his bike back to Polegate. Sue would phone Dave to report on progress of the both sections of riders. We emerged at a big roundabout at Upper Dicker & tried 2 A roads both up & down in search of the elusive Cuckoo Trail & direction home. The A22 section was particularly hairy as white van man raced past us giving us both close shaves, even though we were in the gutter already! After less than a mile we were able to turn off into Hailsham, but even here, we had a few ups & downs both before, & after, finding the Cuckoo. Passers-by frequently giving the wrong directions & cycle route signage not being helpful enough [or invisible].

DSC00309

As I approached the station, relief at hand, I told Dave I was going to race ahead to cross the level crossing before barriers prevented access to Brighton trains & expected him to follow me. I reached the right platform just as a train pulled in & met Roger & Suzanne who urged me to alight, as did the guard, but I thought I ought to wait for Dave whom I assumed was taking the Brighton train too. So the train pulled out & I went out to look for Dave. He had been to the car-park looking for David, Chris & Sue, but could see none of them, so, after conferring, & explaining that his car was parked down the road at Polegate, not down the road from Brighton station, I went back to the bench on the station platform & awaited the Brighton train, eating the remnants of my picnic lunch in the May sunshine. I phoned David when I arrived home & he was OK although his bike needs repair. Roger phoned me in the morning & explained what had happened at the front, with Sue trying to phone both ends of the ride, but not having connections. David had told me that Chris had raced back to his car & fallen off in the woods in the mud, so that was very unfortunate too. Sue said we would do 18 miles, Julian told me his Garmin said they did 22 miles & I reckon Dave and I must have done another 8, making a round 30, but all of them were enjoyable, some more adventurous/challenging than others & I thanks Sue & Chris for providing a wonderful Mid-May ride for 18 fortunate Clarion Riders.

Anne


The Next Ride: Sunday 29th June 2014

21 June 2014

Cuckoo Trail Summer Meander

Polegate – Abbotts Wood – Arlington – Ripe – Berwick – Polegate

Distance: Approx 18 miles.

Hills: None to speak of.

Off road: a couple of shortish sections at Oggs Lane and Hempstead Lane. Should be suitable for all but the skinniest-tyred roadworthy bikes but can be muddy if there has been recent rain.

Meet: 10.55 outside Polegate Station

Trains: 10.20 from Brighton; 9.47 from London Victoria. Returns to Brighton approximately half hourly: 15.42, 14.06 etc.

Amanda


The Next Ride: Sunday 15 December – Berwick Circular c 14 Miles only

4 December 2013

We welcome people who want to try one or two of our rides before joining. If you would like to join the Clarion club, click here to download a membership form.

The shortest day for one of our rides this year and probably the shortest ride. Our now traditional  last ride of the year  is a really short and flat one that  maybe will tempt everyone out unless the weather is atrocious – like it was in 2010 when I had to cancel it. [Finally did it in February!]   Before that we had mixed experiences – only two of us on the first, 2004 ride and things have not been without variety since

Last year it was lovely and sunny and, carried away by the winterwonderland of it all I lead the ride straight past the pub for about half a mile!  As Leon’s report put it

“Ian’s story was that they were possibly in a state of enlightenment as they passed the pub, or was it true that they were just daydreaming, or blinded by sun reflection off the road. Who knows.”

Who does, indeed!

It had been bright enough the year before, but that 2011 sunshine was misleading.  As Jenny later reported

“The sky was clear and blue, the sun was beautiful and bright, but the temperature was still deceptively low even at 10.30 in the morning, and ice was lurking on the country lanes. As I discovered when I turned right at the Langtye Lane crossroads on the way to Berwick – the bike slid from under me and I hit the deck. Luckily I was going pretty slowly but it was a shock to the system nonetheless – no lasting harm done though, and most importantly the bike was undamaged apart from a dislodged chain!”

Will we have better luck this year?  Fingers crossed!   But wrap up warm in any case.

We’ll do the usual loop round the Berwick, Ripe, Chalvington area  and stop for lunch at the Yew Tree pub. There’s no point trying to “book” at such a popular pub at this time of year, but we should be there by 12 (or soon after) and if it was too full we could always try the Lamb at Ripe, which would add just a couple of miles to the ride or just wait until we got back to the Berwick Inn.

Distance: c 14  miles.
Hills: If I say there aren’t any  hills, someone is bound to point out that the road went ‘up’ for 30 or 40 metres at some point – but it really is pretty flat
Off road:  None
Traffic:  Quiet roads
CateringYew Tree  for lunch.* Possible tea stop (depending on train times and our own progress) at the Berwick Inn  for tea

*see ride outline

Catch the 10.20 from Brighton station or meet at Berwick station at 10.43 

[There’s only one train an hour –so I can’t suggest an alternative.] Train  back at  14.48   reaching  Brighton at   15.12  or 15.48  (16.12)

(Be at Brighton Station by 9.50 for Groupsave – I assume that’s still going)

My mobile number is 07770743287 

Ian

 


The Last Ride – Sikka’s Report: Sunday 24th March 2013 – A different Berwick Circular

25 March 2013

Three stalwarts on bikes, Jim, Angela and Sikka,  left Berwick station on a freezing morning (snow flurries forecast).   We started off with a birthday card for Jim from Clarion members  (mostly absent)  and a hearty singing of ‘Happy Birthday to You’ much to Jim’s embarrassment.   We then cycled along quiet country lanes, through the village of Ripe with our fingers and toes becoming painful with cold.   There was talk of stopping for coffee to thaw out, when we were fortunate to encounter a couple outside Laughton village hall.  

Trying on maternity wear at the Nearly New Sale

They invited us to join their Bring and Buy Sale (babies, toddlers and maternity wear!) and warm ourselves up with hot tea and fairy cakes. No luck though looking for extra socks big enough for a grown-up!

A terrible place

We soldiered on refreshed and encouraged, past ‘Terrible Down’ and reached Uckfield, the Station pub, precisely as planned at 1pm.   Here we were able to warm up once again and enjoyed excellent service and good reasonably priced food.

Lunch at the Station Inn Fellowship is ...

The afternoon felt warmer, perhaps the cold wind was behind us?  I was personally not looking forward to cycling another 16 miles after lunch but we all managed the somewhat hilly cross-country section and reached our next refuelling stop at Chiddingly in time for another warming hot drink and some of Jim’s birthday chocolate.  The pub was full and warm, a very pleasant sociable atmosphere.  One of my favourite pubs.   Lovely fires, dogs, bikers, etc.

Tea Stop at the Six Bells

The route was attractive, with lots of lovely distance views, we saw tiny new lambs in the fields, Angela saw a fox, Jim thought he saw a hare (or was it a rabbit?) and I noticed primroses, daffodils, wood anemones on the verges and Jim photographed a fine topiary duck and duckling.

Topiary

The route back from Chiddingly was an easy flat ride and we reached Berwick station just in time to see Angela back to her car and to catch the 5.48 train to Brighton.    (Coffee from Jim’s flask on the train to complete the alimentary delights of the day).

Jim’s computer registered 29.5 miles by the end of the day and Angela was pleased to have completed the longest ride she has undertaken with Clarion so far.  Well done Angela and many thanks to Jim for coming out on his birthday to lead this very satisfying ride.

Sikka


The Last Ride: Sunday 16th December 2012 – Berwick Circular 14 miles

19 December 2012

Those who attended were: Ian (our ride leader), Joyce, Ann, Linda, David, Mick, Nick and myself Leon.

Well now, as you all know, this was our last ride of 2012. The route was our traditional loop around Ripe and the Chalvington area with lunch at the Yew Tree.

It has been a habit of mine to wait until I’ve seen the weather on the ride day before making up my mind if to venture out or not. The sun this morning was breaking through the clouds that gave us heavy downpours last night. So my mind was made up, a quick breakfast and bike check followed. A text to Joyce so that the group would know that I was on my way by car with my Brompton.

Then the complications started; a ticket was obtained for me at Brighton, thinking that I was arriving at that station (what wonderful and thoughtful people we have in our midst). Chance had it that Nick turned up after the realization that I was going direct to Berwick and the ticket wasn’t wasted.

The next part in this was my journey time to Berwick. Slower than expected due to surface water on the lanes between Hassocks and Berwick. The only drained areas were Lewes town.

I arrived about twenty-five minutes late. The group was waiting for me in the station car-park, what a sight, bright yellow clad cyclists some with smiles, others looking a little cold. Thank you all, you are so kind.

Starting out at Berwick Station

As a penance for keeping everyone waiting, I was selected in my absence to write this report. As it turns out that this will be my last report it’s not such a penance after all.

We all finally set off toward Ripe at about 11.15am. Bright wet roads and heading north with no sun reflection to dazzle us. This section has some very narrow country lanes, beautiful even when strewn wish gravel wash and large puddles.

The group had split into two, dare I say fast and slow ? Well, yes, but when the tail-enders arrived at the Golden Cross, our most northerly point on the ride; the lead group were there waiting for us. This always refreshes in my mind, your club motto, Fellowship is Life.

Now turning south the sun is reflecting from the wet black road and causing the use of sunglasses to be more a hindrance than of use. The tail enders Ann, Joyce and myself made our way, as we do fairly slowly toward the lunch stop at the Yew Tree.

On arrival we were greeted with an absence of cyclists. Where was the lead group? Had we encountered a time warp and passed them so slowly that we didn’t notice them? Joyce and Ann went into the pub to make enquiries, was there another Yew Tree pub in the area? Yes there is, but it’s on the other side of Berwick station. We just stood for a moment wondering what to do when suddenly the lead group arrived.

Ian’s story was that they were possibly in a state of enlightenment as they passed the pub, or was it true that they were just daydreaming, or blinded by sun reflection off the road. Who knows.

Bill & his dog, Ben.

The first question when entering the pub is: where should we sit, inside or outside? Most decided to sit inside although it wasn’t cold outside. Ann had spotted a ’Flower-pot man’ en route about one mile back up the road and decided after ordering her lunch to backtrack to take a photo of it; Linda went also.

Pub garden extraordinaire!

The food was delivered to the table quite a while before their return, but they seemed quite happy that they’d been back to take the photos.The food was good as can be seen in the photos. The conversation was stimulating as usual and we all enjoyed being there together.

Linda & Nick at the wishing well

It was decided that on or way back to the station at Berwick that we had time to visit the Arlington reservoir to compare haw it looked now against the memory of last spring when the water level was about twenty feet lower. Then on again the short distance to the coffee stop opposite the station while waiting for the next train.

Joycw takes some deep breaths

I had to pick a seat that had been previously broken and when I touched it the top of the back came away in my hand, not quite a red face but keeping a low profile for a while.

December 16, 2012: Berwick circular

Lots of chat and laughter about previous rides and this one followed. I’m confident in saying that we all had a splendid day and many thanks to Ian for leading it once again.

Leon