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 Next Ride: Sunday 13 December –  Twineham and Wineham

2 December 2015

Since our usual end-of-the-year ride – the short circular based on Berwick – is not possible because of lack of train availability, I’ve been thinking about an alternative – short and easy – substitute and this is what I’ve come up with.

We meet at Hassocks station and make for Hurstpierpoint, Albourne and High Cross, taking the Twineham road as far as Twineham Green, then along Bob Lane to Wineham and (an early) lunch at the Royal Oak – always a favourite stop. Back at High Cross on our return leg, we’ll take the road down to Shaves Wood then the B road back to Hurstpierpoint with a possible tea stop at Washbrooks Farm before returning to Hassocks.

Quietish roads, no-off road, no big hills, a few minor “undulations,” only  about 16/17 miles

 Catch the 10.14 from Brighton station or meet at Hassocks station at 10.23.

Best trains from London would be the 9.36 from Victoria – arrives at 10.37 – or the 8.56 – arrives 10.41 from London Bridge.  It always takes a while for us to get going but if you’re planning to take either of these routes please let me know so we can be sure not to start without you. 

My mobile number is 07770743287 and it will be switched on (!) as soon as I get to the station.

Do check your emails at 5 pm the day before – if the weather looks like being grim I will cancel/postpone.


The Next Ride: Sunday 20 October – Shermanbury

9 October 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.

We first did a ride incorporating the Shermanbury Place bridleway back in 2005 and we’ve done it a couple of times more recently, but not for a  while.. I’ve kept it  as “flat” as possible, made the afternoon session a bit shorter than the pre-lunch one.

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, Twineham and down to High Cross, then Albourne and retrace our route back to the station.


Meet:      at Hassocks station at 10 54

Getting there:     Catch 10 45 from Brighton station (earlier train at 10 15 – arrives 10 24).   Anyone coming from London should catch the 9 32 which arrives at 10 52.

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 with possibility of tea at the Hassocks station pub (or a diversion to Washbrooks Farm)

Getting back:  trains to at 08, 37 and 52  minutes past the hour to Brighton and 14, 24 and 54 to London.

My mobile:          0789 985 1172


The Last Ride: Three Bridges to Burgess Hill, 23 June

24 June 2013


Linda, Marilyn, Richard and Tessa travelled together to 3 Bridges sharing tales of organised group bike rides abroad and ones planned for the future.

We met Jim, Leon, Rob and Rob on the platform and set off through the suburbs of Crawley on a cycle track to Furnace Green leading to Tilgate Park. The park had a scary adventure playground weaving through treetops, a golf course and other entertainments.


The bike track continued through woods dappled in sunlight, purple rhododendron petals scattered on the mud due to the recent high winds, though there were plenty to be seen on the bushes too. As there had been rain recently, we voted for the A23 option rather than the muddy track when we came to a fork in the path.


[Leon and Jim “cooing” in Coos Lane]

We had a mile or so of A23 to Pease Pottage with a hairy roundabout to negotiate which we did in a group fell swoop before joining Cycle Route 20 to Handcross, a welcome quieter route. We crossed the A23 with a long swoop down Coos Lane to Slaugham Lake where we paused before the inclines that took us to charming Warninglid.


[Between Slaugham and Warninglid we went over a bit of the Ouse that I missed on my “Ouse rides” last year – so I thought I’d get a photo for posterity – Jim]

Strange sign

[We spotted this strange sign at Warninglid and wondered how the policy is enforced nowadays … Jim]

Spronketts Lane led to the A272, another hairy crossing, then straight on to Wineham and the Royal Oak for lunch.

Spronketts Lane

At some point in the morning, a fork in the road separated three of us from the rest of the group. Luckily Jim had a map so we rejoined the rest before straying too far. A resolve was made to wait at junctions and check for the person behind.

After lunch we set off down winding Bob Lane. Creatures with long necks were spotted momentarily through the high hedges, Alpaca? Llama? Ostrich? Not sure.

Job’s Lane was equally delightful and quiet then it was the dreary suburbs of Burgess Hill before reaching the centre. Five of us sat outside Nazar Cafe enjoying an abundance of chocolate and other cake, having been offered among other choices ‘Spotted Richard‘ with ice cream! Service and friendliness were great, Marilyn and Richard were even provided with bananas from the Polish Deli across the road.

Then home on the train, having avoided all rain, with even the wind behind us for the afternoon ride.

Thank you Leon for a splendid day out!


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


Clarion Mid-week Rides No. 1

3 May 2011

Thursday April 21st saw the first of Leon’s mid-week rides. The weather was glorious. I met Jim on the train to Hassocks, but he wasn’t coming on the ride: he was off to Gatwick to check out one of the rides for next month.

Leon and Mark were at Hassocks when I arrived and we set off for a 19-mile circular through tracks and country lanes. It was a bit hilly in places and we walked up one or two of the steepest.

The pace was a bit faster than a Sunday ride, probably because there were only three of us. My computer showed an average of 10.2 mph. I hope we weren’t too slow for Mark who is in training for his ride to Paris in July. It will involve several consecutive 75-mile days – good luck Mark!!

Lunch at the Royal Oak in Wineham was very good, as always. I can’t ever remember sitting inside at the Royal Oak, so obviously it’s always good weather when we eat there – ride planners take note!

I was pretty tired by the time we arrived back at Hassocks. Mark obviously wasn’t: he set off to ride back to Hove over Ditchling Beacon. I was glad to jump on a train.

Clarion mid-week ride 21-04-2011

Before separating we accosted two passing ladies who took our photo, which was on the website later the same afternoon!

Many thanks to Leon for leading a very enjoyable ride and for suggesting the idea of mid-weekers: more please!