The Last Ride – Angelika’s Report

9 July 2013

Sunday  7th July 2013   Redhill Circular

(Nutfield Marsh – Caterham Viewpoint – Woldingham – Godstone – Redhill)

A very personal bike ride

Instead of having a personal trainer Linda and Angelika had Jim as their personal cycle tour guide. For Linda it was a journey down memory lane, having grown up in Bletchingley.

The three set off from Redhill train station in glorious hot sunshine. They cycled through Spynes Mere Nature Reserve. Spynes is a very old word for “fattening pasture”. That was the time of fattening the cows before WBB Mineral changed it into a sand quarry. Well, now it is a fully restored wildlife area with three lakes.

Linda walking on water

Heron at the Moors Nature reserve

The reward for pushing the bikes uphill to the Caterham Viewpoint was the magnificent view of the countryside while hearing the muffled sound of the M25 far below. It is a place popular with people having a picnic and lazing around. Well, not for the Cycle Trio. Off they went flying downhill passing only one house.

Along shaded paths and through cool woods they headed towards Woldingham Girls School and its grounds. There was the first surprise for Linda. She recognised the care takers house and remembered a friend living there whose parents had rented the house when she was a child.

Woldingham School

Not this house though! This is the main school building.

From there the way to the Cafe in Knights Nursery in Woldingham was a flat smooth ride through a valley with pastures, cows and trees further up. A picture of English idyllic landscape sizzling in the heat of the day.

Lunch at the garden centre

A pleasant lunch and rest. The recharged batteries were needed for another ascent to Woldingham Village and then down to Godstone …………. not steep ………… but eternal.

Godstone’s old church and surrounding architecture give an other-wordly feel.  One would not be surprised if a door opens and Hansel and Gretel step out. Or Rapunzel would open a window to let her hair down.

St Marys Chapel, Churchtown, Godstone

Not far is the village green with its Sunday cricket and onlookers. Another idyllic English scene.

The intention was to have tea in the local “The Green Room” where Linda used to work in the restaurant 30 years ago. Unfortunately they were just closing and the trio opted for a cool drink at the pub across the road.

On they cycled through Bletchingley. Jim made sure to take a photo of Linda at the street corner leading to the house where she grew up.

Linda discovers her roots

Once again they cycled through the Nature Reserve and stopped to enjoy the view at one of the lakes. Three bathers could be seen in the distance. One was just wading to a little island. Once he stepped onto the island it was a bit of a surprise to see him hiding from his friends view behind a bush squatting down showing us his bare bottom. Not something he had anticipated………..

Nearly home

Then back to Redhill station. Jim and Linda back to Brighton and Angelika to London.

Arty bike rack at Redhill

Linda spotted this arty bike rack at Redhill station.

Thanks Jim for such a beautiful varied bike ride with such magnificent views


Angelika waiting for the London train

The Next Ride: 7 July: NCN21 – The Final Onslaught (nearly!)

24 June 2013

Redhill Circular via Nutfield Marsh, Caterham Viewpoint, Woldingham and Godstone

Over the last two years I have led a series of rides featuring cycle route NCN21, which in its entirety runs from Eastbourne to Greenwich, via Polegate, Heathfield, Eridge, East Grinstead, Three Bridges, Gatwick Airport, Redhill, Caterham, Warlingham, Norwood and Lewisham. In the blurb for the final leg on 1 July last year, I confessed that I had “cheated and cut out about 7 miles” of the official route, to avoid a big hill. However this omission niggled me, and I eventually decided that I’d have to plug the gap with a “final final” ride.

This, however, is not that ride. The logistics of incorporating all of the missing bit, from Caterham Viewpoint to Spring Park in Shirley, were just impossible, given the need to get home avoiding too much of suburbia (and definitely East Croydon) while making the ride manageable. So on this ride we’ll do a further 4½ miles of NCN21 only; that means there will eventually have to be a “final final final final” version to include the rest of what I think should really have been described as a 12, not 7, mile gap. (Watch this space!)

This time, then, we’ll repeat the rather nice bit of NCN21 that we did on 15 May 2011, across the newly reclaimed Moors and Spynes Mere Nature Reserves (including the path that is still almost permanently under 3 inches of water – good news is they’re building it up, hope they’ll have finished by then!) and ascend the 80 metres onto the North Downs (walking!) in one fell swoop at an average gradient of 1 in 18. We’ll stop briefly at Caterham Viewpoint to admire the view and get our breath back (but no coffee unless you bring some!) After crossing the A22 (by bridge) we then have a continuous gently-downhill stretch nearly 3 miles long (remember school geography – the Downs have “inward facing scarps”). Much of this goes through the very opulent-looking Woldingham School, who have very kindly allowed the plebs to cycle through their grounds.

We’ll then say goodbye (for now) to NCN21 and have lunch at a garden centre (a Clarion first?) – Knights Nursery at Woldingham, who do light lunches including soup, sandwiches and jacket potatoes, as well as Spitfire bitter. Feel free to pick up some potting compost as well – but remember that you will, unfortunately, have to lug it back up the hill (remember, what goes down must come up!) This will be another 10 minutes of walking (100m ascent; average gradient around 1 in 15). But the good thing about this ride is that there really are only those two hills; the rest is flat to within a good approximation (as we scientists say). So after Woldingham village it’s a big whoosh (on the scarp) down to Godstone where there is a nice tea room on the green. Finally back to Redhill, the last 5 miles being the same as the outgoing route.

Meet at Redhill Station (Platform 3/Down Side exit, Redstone Hill) at 11:00.

Length: 25 miles
Duration: 7 hours including stops
Terrain: Mostly good, hard off-road paths. Some quiet lanes. Only 2 metres underwater!
Getting there: From Brighton take the 10:00 Victoria train (arr. 10:48). From London Victoria take the 10:27 Brighton train (Clapham Junction 10:33; Redhill 10:57).
Getting home: To Brighton direct at 58 minutes past the hour; with changes, also at 12, 14 and 34 minutes past. To London at 14, 37, 49 minutes past the hour.