The Last Ride: Sunday 13 December 2015 Hassocks Circular – Twineham and Wineham

17 December 2015

Well, we were just a little band of four today as Ian, Julian, Delia and I left Hassocks station on a warmer than usual December morning.  We followed a familiar route out towards Hurstpierpoint where hymns could be heard as we cycled past the church at the crossroads in the village. The congregation was certainly ‘giving it their all’ for us to be able to hear them from the roadway.  Then, on through Albourne towards Twineham through some very pretty lanes where Julian identified the birdsong of a green woodpecker, robins and possibly a song thrush, who were also ‘in good voice’.

At this time of year the winter landscape allows views through the trees that, of course, with trees covered in their summer leaves, you do not see in other seasons.  Between Twineham and Wineham, (what a lovely rhyming couple), we had a view of something unexpected, a massive electricity sub-station which crackled its energy supply along the wires between the concrete supports. Not the prettiest of sights, but at least it is out of view for that part of the year when the trees are in leaf.  Other views through the trees were more pleasing to the eye – the wintry, grey outlines of the Downs and a patchwork of pasture and arable fields.

Always along these routes are some very pretty houses and cottages and also some very large properties which I often find make me wonder what people do for a living to own such large places.  Well, Ian came out with a theory that made us all laugh. He reckoned that many were owned by retired drug dealers who, having evaded the law, wanted a quiet life in the country in their old age!

At Twineham we stopped for lunch at the Royal Oak which, according to the landlord, dates back to the 16th Century and has been a pub for over 200 years. The historic building prompted a conversation about the dangers of travelling by horse drawn coaches back in the day of highwaymen.  Ian, Delia and I have been watching the recent programmes on the tele about smugglers, pirates and highwaymen and the dastardly deeds they got up to. Worth a look on the iplayer if you haven’t managed to see them.

After lunch, (three delicious plates of ploughman’s and one bowl of spiced carrot soup), we began the journey back through Woodmancote towards Albourne and Hurstpierpoint, and we decided not to stop for tea as the light was beginning to fade and Delia was concerned that I do not have any lights on my bike.  So, we got back to Hassocks mid-afternoon in order to make our way home after a very pleasant winter ride and even more pleasant conversation.  Thanks to Ian for organising and leading the ride and may he and all other ‘Clarionistas’  have a very lovely Xmas and I look forward to a New Year of many more rides.


The Last Ride: Sunday 4 December – Short and Sweet but with lots of “nots”; Hassocks to Wineham

8 December 2011

[ More photos on Flickr]

The happy band at Brighton station (Corinne, Joyce, Roger and Suzanne) learned that the 10.44 would not be stopping at Hassocks and that they would have to get the 11am train. Happily, the rest of the band (Angela, Ian, Jim, Leon and Rob) had not pedalled off without them, having been forewarned by Joyce and her trusty mobile phone. For once, no hapless passer-by was stopped to take a photo, so the group mug shot was duly taken by Leon who had not forgotten to bring his camera. And then it was off through Hurstpierpoint where not one single puncture was experienced (not like Hurspierpoint 9 January 2011 – what a joy it is to read those old ride reports on the website – thanks Fred).

Group photo. Hassocks Station.

A not-at-all-slow sweep down Wickham Hill and College Lane brought us to Hurstpierpoint College where we were not able to watch the lads playing soccer as they had just packed up for the morning and were being whisked away in the parent’s giant 4x4s. Along the meandering lanes until we crossed, from east to west, the roaring A23 (where we definitely did not want to be) and along Bob Lane (not to be confused with Jobs Lane east of that mighty highway). Jim pointed out that, both before and after lunch, the meandering river we crossed was not the West Adur but the cunningly named East Adur.

6. The Eastern Adur at Wineham

Although we were not expected by Mein Host when we arrived at The Royal Oak in Wineham (not Twineham, of course) he was not at all fazed and found a niche for us. There were definitely no “nots” about the lunches – pumpkin soup was supped, platters of ham, beef, salmon and pork pie were eaten clean. At one end of the table, no definite conclusion was reached upon how sea mist differed from land mist, and at the other end, there was no consensus of opinion on the best aspects of the Avenue Verte from Dieppe. We were not the quietest of guests – a crescendo being reached when we could not agree on the pronunciation of … well large chunks of the English language. So with some of us saying “potato” and others insisting on “potaaato”, we called the whole thing off (mainly as by then the landlord wanted not our company but our room for his 1.30 booking for 9 people) and creaked out way back on to our machines. Muscles were not reacting particularly responsively by now: the December temperatures were not as low as usual, but low enough to cause a few twinges here and there, Suzanne, and occasionally Angela, deciding that not cycling up the hills was preferable to cycling up them: Shanks’s pony coming into his own.

Henfield road, Albourne.

It did not rain.

And not forgetting to thank Ian for being our Good Shepherd for the day. Many thanks


The last ride: Sunday 29 May 2011 – Shermanbury

31 May 2011

[More photos on Flickr]

The first “BOOTS” greeting of the day was called out as I approached Ian on Station Approach West, Hassocks railway station at 10.48am. Amanda was waiting at the station entrance, we both greeted her with “welcome, it’s good to see you.” Rob appeared from behind us: BOOTS again. Within a few moments the Brighton to London train pulled in with Suzanne, Roger, and Angelika on-board. Jim had told Ian that he would be on the 11.10am train because he started his journey at Preston Park.  Now we were eight bright and happy Clarionettes eager to get underway, but first the photo, Leon took the photo.

Hassocks station 29 May 2011

The sky was looking a little unsettled and the wind was a fair southwesterly, not warm, but not cold either. We set off up to Stonepound and Hurstpierpoint with the wind in our faces.

At each and every turn we were treated to a slightly different wind strength but nothing to make things too difficult. The roads were slightly more busy than usual but we all powered on at our normal pace. When we reached the A281 Shoreham road, north of Henfield I broke away from the group to back-track down Wheatsheaf Road to Wineham Lane and up to Frylands Lane to rejoin the group as they came out of an off-road section that I chose not to ride due to my thumb injury.

Track between Shermanbury and Frylands lane Wineham.

Heading along Frylands Lane there were black Damselflies performing a fairy-like dance in the breeze, true perfection in motion. Left into Wineham Lane and a moment later we were at the Royal Oak where we were to have lunch. The weather was cool enough to add another layer. We were told that ‘there was a large party that was being attended to and that we would need to wait a while before we could order’ but we did get our drinks in quickly enough. Angelika sorted out the menu and we all paid her our share, this worked well and we were served with good food in quick time. It’s difficult to keep an ear in every conversation so much is missed out here. Jim’s bike problem did get raised and some tools were produced to strip his bike there and then but Jim was not very happy to allow this to happen; I wonder why?  Some photos were taken and a video or two but Angelika couldn’t remember how to play her camera’s videos so we couldn’t see them.

Lunch stop at the Royal Oak, Wineham.

Time to set out on our return journey, Wineham Lane into Bob Lane and this was so pleasant without motor traffic. The sun was now breaking through and the wind was following us home. Albourne and Hurstpierpoint with just tiny hills to climb before reaching Hassocks again. The total distance was recorded as 20 miles.

We all extend our thanks to Ian for planning this ride, thanks Ian.


The next ride: Sunday 29 May 2011 – Shermanbury – only 19 miles

17 May 2011

Please be clear that while all are welcome to join us we each take part in rides at our own risk.

This is the one intended for last October when I had to make a last-minute change because of the non-availability of trains to and from Hassocks.

We leave Hassocks station and follow the road to Hurstpierpoint, where we turn south once over the A23 and follow the old London road down as far as Shaves Wood where we take the road up to High Cross. The last bit into Shermanbury involves a short stretch of busy main road, then we take the bridleway through Shermanbury, emerge onto a lane near Wineham and make our way to the Royal Oak for lunch.

Then it’s Bobs Lane – but in the opposite direction from the way we typically ride it, Twineham and down to High Cross, then Albourne and retrace our route back to the station.
As Roger wrote recently, it always seems to be sunny when we go to the Royal Oak (fingers crossed) and there are plenty of outside tables – so I’m not going to try “booking” this time.


Meet: Hassocks station at 10.53.
Getting there: Catch the 10.45 from Brighton station. That’s the train I’m working to – there is an earlier one at 10.15 which arrives at 10.23 – but the best plan in case of train problems might be to get the 11.00 (arrives 11.10) having sent a message with others or given me a ring – mobile number below – I will make sure to switch it on!
Distance: 19 miles.
Off road: Just the bridleway at Shermanbury – shouldn’t be a problem.
Hills: Not many and only little ones.
Catering: Lunch at the Royal Oak. But if anyone prefers to bring sandwiches etc it should be possible to picnic nearby. Possibility of tea at the Hassocks station pub (or a diversion to Washbrooks Farm).
Getting back: Trains at 03, 33 and 43 minutes past the hour.

My mobile: 0789 985 1172


The Last Ride: Sunday 23 January 2011

25 January 2011

Lewes – Barcombe – Lewes

‘For whom the tolls?’

[You can find our Flickr group, containg more photos here]

Jenny described her ride as short but sweet and that is precisely what it was. Lewes Station car park made an excellent meeting point for both train and car-borne members, despite the shock of a new £1.00 fee being expected on a Sunday for actually parking a car there. Jenny set off in a north-westerly direction happily followed by Tessa, Ian, Richard, Angela, Roger, Suzanne, Fred, Janet and Sue. From the quaint delights of Cliffe High Street we quickly found that Tesco’s car park made a quick and easy escape from the bustle of the town centre. Suzanne and Fred vied for ‘Straggler of the Week’ by preferring Shanks’s pony to get them up the hill at Mayhew Way – so much better than these new fangled bi-cycle machines. In no time at all we were strung out in Indian file, along the pavement along Malling Down … and where the pavement narrowed we skimmed past our first toll house.

The start at Lewes station.

It was lovely to get off the busy A26 to amble along Wellingham Lane and left into Barcombe Mill Road. Jenny made sure we had plenty of time to admire the fish ladders at Barcombe Mills and then on to the toll bridge. Four wheels and one horse would have cost a whole 1/6d, so our 20 wheels would have cost us the whacking sum of 7/6d, but as we were not in the company of an equine we managed to cycle over for free.


A quick whiz past the late lamented station (1858 – 1969) -> café (1969 – 1980?) -> restaurant (?) and the even lamenteder pub still nostalgically remembered in its heyday as the Anglers Rest (the pub formerly known as … wait for it … the Railway Inn) was followed by a slow struggle up the hill to Barcombe Cross. This brought us to the delights of the Royal Oak and its brand new publicans. After the traditional Clarion ‘moving of the tables’ (not an attempt to get in touch with the supernatural, merely a natural desire to sit all together) we settled down to wait for our selected meals when our Carshalton contingent TJ and Joan joined us. Chat ranged from that nice man Mr Portillo, to plans for future rides, to the vagaries of the English language (according the Americans, the Canadians and the Australians).

Joan and TJ

After a long, leisurely lunch it was off again through the quiet lanes. It was overcast. It was cold. The wind tended to whip. But how lovely to be able to see through the newly trimmed, winter-bare hedges over to the swell of the Downs ridge to the south and across rolling countryside in almost every other direction. Brown and grey were the predominating colours, but what a huge variety of browns and greys they were. (End of purple passage – Stella Gibbons, eat your heart out.)

And whither did Jenny lead us? Very kindly, it was to her own home, where those who could stay were plied with tea, biscuits and probably sympathy for those with overstrained muscles. A welcome end to a welcome bit of exercise with friends.

A big thanks to Jenny for organising the ride and ‘going the extra mile’ by providing afternoon tea.


Tessa adds: When we arrived at Jenny’s house in Cooksbridge, our numbers diminished. Roger, Suzanne and Janet had work commitments to get back to. The rest of us fitted nicely into Jenny’s dining room to drink large mugs of tea and eat biscuits. We formed a circle of chairs and conversation bounced back and forth, ranging from anecdotes of Berwick Church frescoes to stuffed badgers.

As the light began to fade, we set off on the busy A275 with our new leader Sue. We forked left to Lewes where Ian left us to ride fast to the station to drive back in daylight. Rather than follow the streets, Sue led us through a series of tiny lanes and snickets, past the Pells pools, over a steep bridge (‘Another hill!’ said Fred) through the park alongside the Ouse. At the station, Angela, TJ and Joan left us and our groupsave of 4 did not have long to wait for the Brighton train. We all decided we had cycled the perfect distance that day.

Thank you Jenny!