On a really beautiful but rather chilly morning, Jim, David, Julian and I met at Rye Station to begin the 16 mile ride to Battle. We began on the NC2 and climbed the ridge, skirting the wood known as Brede High Woods. It was very noticeable that the trees still look quite lush and green.
Autumn seems barely here despite it being October, but the weather looks to be changing tomorrow from today’s warm sunshine. On the way we saw many houses which had attached the typical Kent oast house. I have never been in an oast house and would be fascinated to do so, but we did not knock on anyone’s door to ask!
Eventually we came to The King’s Head pub in Udimore where we stopped for lunch. Jim had a very amusing story to tell about how the village got its name, something to do with the site being ‘over the moor’. No, it didn’t make a huge amount of sense to me either but, bless him, Jim does make you laugh.
At lunch, being a small group, we got into some very interesting conversations about all sorts of things and David, who knows a thing or two about pipes, explained to us the workings of the Newhaven Incinerator and how the stuff that eventually goes out to sea is almost as clear as drinking water. It was all very fascinating. Julian, who knows a thing or two as well, told us about the work that he used to do and we got into a very interesting conversation about the pros and cons of this TTIP thing (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). It’s amazing what you can learn about on a Clarion ride.
Something unexpected … Spilstead Farm in Stream Lane
After finishing our lunch, we started down a road which Jim told us had the same number as the last four digits of the first telephone number he ever had. Now, that’s astonishing. How has he managed to remember the last four digits of his first ever telephone number? Sometimes, I forget the last four digits of my current number!
The view from the ridge
The next bit of the ride was very pretty and very undulating, but those hills were worth it, with views over the Kent countryside in the gorgeous afternoon sunlight. We noticed how quiet the route was, with very little traffic noise, there being no major roads near to the route that Jim had planned, and it was lovely to be able to hear the birdsong without that noise in the background and for Julian to be able to identify what kind of bird was singing.
The Brede Valley path
After a great ride, we came sailing down into Battle where we found the most lovely teashop, and sat outside for tea and scones, right opposite a fantastic view of Battle Abbey. Unfortunately, it was too late in the day to go for a visit round the Abbey. It was then a short distance to the station for the journey home which, like the rest of the day, proved to be enormously enjoyable, as David has an app on his phone to do with identifying bird song. Julian is really good at this and it was seriously good fun. I hope the other passengers enjoyed the birdsong too?!
A passenger waiting at Rye Station
Many, many thanks to Jim for a memorable ride and a seriously fun day out.