The Last Ride: Sunday 5th October – Rye to Battle

8 October 2014

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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?!

Paper lady

A passenger waiting at Rye Station

Many, many thanks to Jim for a memorable ride and a seriously fun day out.

Angela

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The Last Ride: Sunday 29 July, Rye to Hastings

1 August 2012

At the former collapsed culvert
From Rye station, Angela, Annie, Elaine, Jim and Rob made our way to the Café on the Quay, which we shared with the Udimore chapter of the stone-carrying Hell’s Angels.* Cycled along by the Brede Valley, past Dumb Woman Lane (which entailed discussion on the origins of the name) – luckily the collapsed culvert had been repaired. Discussed whether chickens have wombs and birth canals. Saw old windmill and new windmills in distance.

Rye

Wind Farm

Had tasty nutritious lunch at King’s Head before re-mounting for the next leg of the journey through some wooded glades.

Tree-covered Lane 3

This is where it started to get hilly. We opted for tea at a vineyard instead of a wine-tasting session (why?), then cycled up (and down) some more hills, though it seemed there were more up than down. Finally saw the sea and cycled down to Hastings (give or take another hill or two).

The sea at last

Despite the hills, weather and scenery and company made for an enjoyable day.

Annie.

* See Jim for details. [Jim adds: if you can’t find me, try googling Udimore]


The Next Ride: Sunday 29 July 2012 – Rye to Hastings via Brede Valley

17 July 2012

Udimore – Brede – Cackle Street – Sedlescombe – Westfield – Ore

I had this ride on the list a few weeks back, but removed it when I realised it would be, to borrow a phrase of Roger’s, too hilly for some. Then along came the Olympic bike ban on London trains, and this ride came back into the frame because it doesn’t involve any London trains. OK, it is hilly, but I reckon out of our huge membership there ought to be a posse of stout fellows and fellowesses who can manage it (I did, after all!). And it’s not as hilly as Polegate to Eridge – far from it! It’s also a very pretty ride – not just good views from the high points, but many tree-covered slopes which dapple the sunlight most agreeably.

The Brede is one of the two rivers that flow into the sea at Rye (or at least they used to, when there was sea at Rye). Its valley runs eastwards from Sedlescombe to Rye, with the railway joining it after Doleham, and we will follow it for 10 miles on the north side, initially at river level and then climbing to the ridge with the lane. We cross it at Sedlescombe, pass the Pestalozzi International Village, and then turn south-east towards Westfield (not the shopping centre!) and south to Ore and Hastings.

Lunch will be at the King’s Head at Udimore, which has splendid views across the valley. There is a possible tea stop at the Carr Taylor vineyard between Sedlescombe and Westfield. Tea and cake are reasonably priced, and there is also wine tasting on offer!

If all that doesn’t tempt you … I will be trying out a new facility with this ride: as we can now put each ride’s photos into a separate “set”, I will be posting some photos before the ride. (They are photos from the practice, of course!) I’ll put them up as soon as the previous ride is out of the way; so take a look and decide whether you can bear to miss it.

Details:
Length: about 20 miles.
Duration: about 5 hours.
Terrain: Some hard-surfaced (stony) cycleway, part of NCN2. Otherwise mostly quiet lanes. 2 miles of B2089. One very short stretch of the A28, on the pavement.
Hills: Well, although we are mainly cycling alongside a valley, the Brede has tributaries and these tributaries also have valleys … but we do not go above the 70m contour until right at the end, when we climb to the ominously named “ridge” at Ore. There will be at least four or five places we will need to dismount and walk.
Start at 12:00. (See below for location.)
Getting there: Train to Rye. Because of the limited bike-carrying capacity of the Brighton–Ashford trains, I suggest Brightoners divide themselves between the 9.20 and 10.20. I will be getting the 9.20, and heading for the Café on the Quay (directions below) as some of us did last time; this café is on our route, so I suggest we start the ride from there. Londoners may not be able to make this ride due to the bike ban, but you could try your luck via Ashford on the 9.37 from Victoria (southeastern side – not calling at Clapham Junction) or the 9.40 from Charing Cross. Those with cars can park at either end and use the train (note that this is not a circular ride).
Getting back: Trains from Hastings to Brighton at 3 minutes past the hour and London Charing Cross at 50 minutes past.

Directions to the Café on the Quay:
From the front of Rye station cycle up the wide one-way street at right angles to the railway. Turn right at the top, then carry straight on till you come to a roundabout on the A259. The café is on the corner to your left.

Jim.


The last ride: Sunday 1 May 2011 – Rye to Hastings

3 May 2011

[More photos on Flickr]

The new idea is to spread Clarion groups over several trains to avoid the wrath of the station staff. The problem with this ride was that trains to Rye only leave once an hour, which means spreading is not straightforward; meanwhile each train is only two coaches, which makes spreading all the more advisable.

May Day celebrations 030

As it turned out, we did very well. Suzanne and I caught the 8:20 giving us plenty of time for a nostalgic, pre-ride spin from Rye down to Camber Sands, where Suzanne had spent several family holidays as a child. Angela, Jim (our leader) and Wilma were on the 9:20 arriving at Rye in good time to enjoy breakfast at a café by the harbour. Anne (happy birthday!), Joyce, Mick, and Sue were on the 10:20 and their arrival completed our group of nine riders.

May Day celebrations 049

We were out of Rye in just a few minutes and off the busy main road onto a pleasant track, which took us past Camber Castle, built by Henry VIII around 1540 as a defence against invasion from France. The track then took us on to Sea Road, leading Mick to say that it was good to be avoiding the A and B roads; we all politely collapsed laughing and tried to think of ways to discourage further comments of this kind. The first part of Sea Road proved to have quite a few bumps and potholes, but the wind was behind us and it was flat (like the sea).

May Day celebrations 038

At the end of Sea Road is the small village of Pett Level, which, Angela assured us, has a fossilised dinosaur footprint on the beach. Unfortunately there wasn’t time to stop and look for it; we all had more serious things in mind, namely hills and lunch. The rumour was that the latter was at the top of the former.

May Day celebrations 048

We toiled up Pett Level Rd; it was pretty steep and a few people resorted to walking. Then into Warren Road, which was pretty flat, until it became extremely steep and Jim said we could all get off, except Mick who was forced (by means of a challenge from Jim) to see how far he could cycle up it. He made it all the way to the top of what could well be the steepest climb ever on a B&H Clarion ride.

Coastguard Tearooms

The treat at the top was the Coastguard Tea Room at Fairlight, which not only served tea, but also hearty meals, beer etc. A round picnic table for eight had been reserved for us on the patio, which meant that Suzanne (being backstop and therefore number nine) was the only one who got a proper chair. The round table naturally encouraged discussion, which focused mainly on the AV electoral system and whether or not we could stop talking about the AV electoral system and get back on the bikes.

Drummers1

It was pretty much downhill all the way to Hastings. Some riders sped off to the station to catch the 16:03 train, while others decided to seek out some of the joys of the Hastings Jack-in-the-Green Festival.

Glorious weather, yet another new and interesting ride, and good company! What more can you ask for? Many thanks Jim!

Roger


The Next Ride. Sunday 1 May 2011: Rye – Hastings

21 April 2011

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

Sunday 1 May 2011
Rye – Winchelsea Beach – Pett Level – Fairlight – Hastings

In the first circular of 2011, Ian asked: “Can we think of something really appropriate for 1 May?” So I looked on the Internet and found the Jack-in-the-Green Festival at Hastings (www.hastingsjack.co.uk), and suggested we go there. However it did not quite fit the bill, because it turned out that (a) what Ian had in mind was the political, rather than the pagan, aspect of Mayday; and (b) there is not much going on on the Sunday of Jack-in-the-Green anyway. (Political activities tend to take place on the bank holiday of course, and so too does the main event of Jack-in-the-Green, because, as its website stresses, it is a modern re-invention of a traditional festival and certain concessions have been made to modern ways of doing things.)

Jenny suggested instead the Celtic Festival at Michelham Priory; but by now I had got the Hastings bit firmly between my teeth, having gazed longingly at all those contour-free areas on the OS map to the north-east of the town. (As distinct from the contour-rich areas, which include Hastings itself.)

Mere mention of Rye may, of course, strike terror in the hearts of some Clarionettes, but to them I would say, “Calm down! This isn’t July 2008, and anyway we are going the other way!” And mention of a climb from 0 to 160 metres above sea level may strike terror in other hearts, so I won’t mention it, other than to say that most of that is a short steep bit that we will walk up. In fact, as I implied earlier, we cling to the “0” contour for a whole 6 miles before setting our sights any higher, so there is a reasonable degree of flatness in this ride. And the climbing will be worth it when we get to the top!

It is only 11.5 miles from Rye to Hastings Old Town, so we will arrive in time to see some morris dancing and an exhibition about the festival. At 4 pm there is a concert by the Copper Family (£5) for anyone who wants to stay on, or, for those who prefer it, drumming in the streets (free). Later, Robb Johnson will be giving a concert at 8 pm (£8). The last train to Brighton leaves Hastings at 10.18 pm, so it will be possible to see at least some of this, and if you do it will tick Ian’s “political” box as well because Robb is one of our foremost socialist songwriters, and definitely worth seeing. Those of a more traditional bent may prefer Les Derniers Trouvères (£8).

Lunch will be at the Coastguard Tea Room (150m a.s.l.) before the descent into Hastings; I have booked a table, but need to know numbers, so please tell me if you are planning to come (j.r.grozier@btinternet.com). Oxygen cylinders will not be supplied.

Length: about 12.5 miles. (The last mile is from the Old Town to Hastings Station.)
Duration: about 3 hours (including lunch).
Terrain: Lanes and bridleways. (The bridleways are the grassy sort and unlikely to get muddy.)
Start time and place: Front of Rye Station, 11.50 am. (If you don’t want to have to carry your bike over the footbridge, leave the platform at the Ashford end and go along the path, over the level crossing, then take the second right and go through the car park to the front of the station.)

We will have to be careful about trains, not only because of the barrier line jobsworths, but because the Rye trains are only 2 cars. The 10.20 from Brighton will arrive in time, but I will be on the one before it (the 9.20) and will have a coffee or two at the “Fat Controller” café while I wait. Londoners can travel to Rye from the opposite direction, via Ashford, but will need to leave London Bridge at 9.16 and wait for nearly an hour at Ashford. The wait is shortened to 30 minutes if you can get the High-Speed from St Pancras International at 10.12. When you contact me to confirm attendance, tell me your preferred mode of travel and I will check that we are not squeezing too many onto one train.

Return trains to Brighton leave Hastings at 3 minutes past each hour; to London Bridge (via Tonbridge) at 13 minutes past; and to Clapham Junction and Victoria at 18 minutes past.

Jim. (Mobile 07742-963239)


The next ride: Mayday – Rye to Hastings

5 April 2011

Sunday 1 May 2011
Rye – Winchelsea Beach – Pett Level – Fairlight – Hastings

In the first circular of 2011, Ian asked: “Can we think of something really appropriate for 1 May?” So I looked on the internet and found the Jack-in-the-Green Festival at Hastings (www.hastingsjack.co.uk), and suggested we go there. However it did not quite fit the bill, because it turned out that (a) what Ian had in mind was the political, rather than the pagan, aspect of Mayday; and (b) there is not much going on on the Sunday of Jack-in-the-Green anyway. (Political activities tend to take place on the bank holiday of course, and so too does the main event of Jack-in-the-Green, because, as its website stresses, it is a modern re-invention of a traditional festival and certain concessions have been made to modern ways of doing things.)

Jenny suggested instead the Celtic Festival at Michelham Priory; but I had by now firmly got the Hastings bit between my teeth, having gazed longingly at all those contour-free areas on the OS map to the north-east of the town. (As distinct from the contour-rich areas, which include Hastings itself).

Mere mention of Rye may, of course, strike terror in the hearts of some Clarionettes, but to them I would say “Calm down! This isn’t July 2008, and anyway we are going the other way!” And mention of a climb from 0 to 160 metres above sea level may strike terror in other hearts, so I won’t mention it, other than to say that most of that is a short steep bit that we will walk up. In fact, as I implied earlier, we cling to the “0” contour for a whole 6 miles before setting our sights any higher, so there is a reasonable degree of flatness in this ride. And the climbing will be worth it when we get to the top!

It is only 11.5 miles from Rye to Hastings Old Town, so we will arrive in time to see some morris dancing and an exhibition about the festival. At 4pm there is a concert by the Copper Family (£5) for anyone who wants to stay on, or, for those who prefer it, drumming in the streets (free). Later, Robb Johnson will be giving a concert at 8pm (£8). The last train to Brighton leaves Hastings at 10.18 pm, so it will be possible to see at least some of this, and if you do it will tick Ian’s “political” box as well, because Robb is one of our foremost socialist songwriters, and definitely worth seeing. Those of a more traditional bent may prefer Les Derniers Trouvères (£8).

Lunch will be at the Coastguard Tea Room (150 m. a.s.l.), before the descent into Hastings; I have booked a table, but need to know numbers, so please tell me if you are planning to come ( j.r.grozier@btinternet.com). Oxygen cylinders will not be supplied.

Length: about 12.5 miles. (The last mile is from the Old Town to Hastings Station)

Duration: about 3 hours (including lunch).

Terrain: Lanes and bridleways. (The bridleways are the grassy sort and unlikely to get muddy.)

Start time and place: Front of Rye Station, 11.50 am. (If you don’t want to have to carry your bike over the footbridge, leave the platform at the Ashford end and go along the path, over the level crossing, then take the second right and go through the car park to the front of the station).

We will have to be careful about trains, not only because of the barrier line jobsworths, but because the Rye trains are only 2 car. The 10.20 from Brighton will arrive in time, but I will be on the one before it (the 9.20) and will have a coffee or two at the “Fat Controller” café while I wait.  Londoners can travel to Rye from the opposite direction, via Ashford, but will need to leave London Bridge at 9.16 and wait for nearly an hour at Ashford. The wait is shortened to 30 minutes if you can get the High-Speed from St Pancras International at 10.12. When you contact me to confirm attendance, tell me your preferred mode of travel and I will check that we are not squeezing too many onto one train.

Return trains to Brighton leave Hastings at 3 minutes past each hour; to London Bridge (via Tonbridge) at 13 minutes past, and to Clapham Junction and Victoria at 18 minutes past.

Mobile (07742-963239)

Jim