More good news for Egrets Way

Earlier this month the Prime Minister announced new funds from the Department of Transports ‘Linking Communities Fund’ to boost cycling nationally and which includes £3.8m going to the South Downs National Park, boosted to £5.2m with match funding from local authorities.

Neville Harrison, OVCN Chairman said ‘The really good news is that the Egrets Way is one of the projects on the list to benefit so following on from completion of the Kingston to Lewes link, the announcement of a grant from Natural England’s ‘Paths for Communities’ scheme for a bridleway section between Rodmell and Southease, we now have the real prospect of the riverside route from Lewes to Newhaven becoming a reality’

The news was posted on the SouthDowns forum with details on where the money will be spent: “A major new riverside recreational route between Lewes, Southease and Newhaven, linking the towns, the South Downs Way National Trail, a new YHA hostel and local and mainline rail stations between Lewes, Southease and Newhaven – for onwards ferry travel to France;”

More details can be found here: http://southdownsforum.ning.com/forum/topics/great-news-for-south-downs-cyclists

 

Lewes to Kingston Cycleway Opening

KL_Opening

Brighton Breezy Randonée

BrightonBreezyFancy a fun cycle ride? Brighton and Hove CTC are holding their first randonnée style event,  the “Brighton Breezy” on Sunday 8th Sept with a 70 km or 100 km bike ride in East Sussex and the Low Weald.

 

Ride starts between 9 – 9:30 ( Sunday Sept 8th ) , with registration open in the Sports Centre Falmer, Brighton University between 8:30 and 9:30.  Entries will be accepted until Tuesday 4th Sept.

 

Riders completing the 100km Route should leave approx 6 1/2 hours to complete the ride and it is quite challenging.  The shorter route should take less than 4 hours to complete.

 

Maps on how to get to the start by Car/Bike are on the website www.brightonandhovectc.co.uk

The  circular route starts from the Sports Centre at Brighton University then follows the A27 cycle path into Lewes where the ride will travel through the lanes past Barcombe Mills towards Ringmer. After 20 miles we reach the tea stop in the pretty village of Waldron. This is the halfway point for the shorter ride.

After tea and refreshments the ride continues along quiet lanes and returns back towards the centre of Lewes via Glyndebourne and Glynde.

For the more energetic who fancy the longer route with a few hills your ride continues from the Waldron tea stop  through old Heathfield and up through the Weald towards Mayfield and then Rotherfield, returning back to Waldron for your second tea stop before re- joining the shorter route  back to Falmer

The event is not for profit. The £5 entry fee is to cover the costs of refreshments and signage on the route.

See  http://www.brightonandhovectc.co.uk/entry-form/4577023677 Closing date for entries is Tuesday 4th Sept.  Organiser Robin Biswas is available on  07533879462  or at brightonandhovectc@gmail.com

This is a great introduction to an organised ride without the huge expense of more competitive style events. It’s got to be worth it just for the tea and cake : )

Leisure Cycling with a Car

This is the first of a series of articles aimed at leisure cyclists and families looking for enjoyable rides without traffic and few or no hills.  In general, too, it will mean the ability to carry cycles by car to the start and, equally inevitably, may mean an out and back route.  Still, things always look different going the other way!

 

The Forest and Worth Ways

These formed part of the railway line from Three Bridges to Groombridge.  I have found that a convenient place to start is Forest Row where there is a free car park with safe access to the route from which you can go eastwards to Groombridge along the Forest Way or westwards to East Grinstead and the Worth Way.

 

Car park at Forest Row.  Approaching from the south along A22, turn sharp right at the centre of Forest Row along B2110 to the signposted car park where there are toilets (although I’ve never known them to be open) and several adjacent cafés.

 

The Forest Way

Forest Row to Groombridge.  OS Explorer map 135 Ashdown Forest.  Google “Forest Way” to get many useful pages especially from East Sussex CC and GPS Routes.

A lane alongside Forest Row car park runs through a small industrial area to the Forest Way, turn right for Groombridge.  The picturesque route runs along the valley of the River Medway sheltered by trees for most of its length through farmland and historic villages.  It crosses only three minor roads along its length.  It is well signposted and the surface is smooth, fine gravel.  Approaching Groombridge, the route leaves the rail track, which is still in use, and has a dedicated path where there is a picnic area with tables. The end is on a minor road near a pumping station; Groombridge village is up the hill to the left about 1 km where there is a bakery and pub.  Total length of this section of the Forest Way is 7 miles (11.5 kms) so there is plenty of time for exploring the villages of Hartfield and Balls Green, as well as Forest Row and Groombridge.

 

The Worth Way

Forest Row to Crawley.  OS Explorer map 135 Ashdown Forest and 134 Crawley and Horsham.  Google “Worth Way” to get many useful pages especially from West Sussex CC (download excellent pdf) and GPS Routes.

Worth Way

A lane alongside Forest Row car park runs through a small industrial area to the Forest Way, turn left to complete the route to the outskirts of East Grinstead. There is a link signposted through the town to the Worth Way: it is a small town and it is not difficult cycling.  Turn left along Lewes Road, High Street, London Road and Station Approach to a large roundabout.  Here, carefully follow the signs to the station concourse.  You then have to dismount and walk your cycle up a few steps and across a narrow footbridge over the main line to the edge of the station car park and the start of Worth Way.  Alternatively, continue on from the roundabout to the right of the station and follow the signs to the station car park.

 

The Worth Way runs roughly westwards through wooded countryside with some interesting features such as Crawley Down Pond and Rowfant Station.  The surface varies but is sound with no mud! It crosses the M23 to Worth where there is a fine Saxon church (“worth” a look!).  To cross the M23, the path has deviated south of the rail route. From Worth Church, the route turns north along a road to regain the line of the track.  It then follows a gentle curve to Three Bridges railway station.  The total length of this section of the Ways is 10½ miles (17 kms).

 

The Avenue Verte: An Update

The Avenue Verte, a route between London and Paris for cyclists and walkers was signposted along it’s entire length just over 12 months ago. Ideally, you should now be able to jump on your bike in London or Seaford/Newhaven and just follow the signs to Paris but the signposting seems patchy so you could well get lost. However, help is now available in the form of the official guide to the Avenue Verte which has recently been published by Sustrans. It’s a good little book and has a wealth of useful information including maps, directions and accommodation addresses so would be an essential purchase if you’re going to cycle to Paris, especially if you’re doing it for the first time.

Avenue Verte signpost on National Cycle Route 2

Avenue Verte signpost on National Cycle Route 2

The route is still being developed and, at present, only about 40% is traffic-free although this proportion should increase over the next few years, albeit gradually. Some of the route is on quiet country roads which is fine but, some is on of bridle paths which are not suitable for road bikes, especially if loaded with panniers. I haven’t yet read the book cover to cover but is seems that alternatives to these bridle paths aren’t always suggested which is a shame as cyclists may either have to walk or spend time trying to devise detours.

The start/end points in the capital cities are the London Eye and Notre Dame Cathedral. The route from London to Newhaven makes use of National Cycle Routes 4, 20, 21 and 2 and includes the Wandle Trail, Worth Way, Forest Way and the Cuckoo Trail. The total distance is 99 miles. Then it’s a ferry across the English Channel from Newhaven to Dieppe and a further 148 or 188 miles to Paris depending on which way you go.

The route from Dieppe to Paris is in three sections. The first, from Dieppe to Gournay is 51 miles and includes the superb 27 mile traffic-free stretch between Arques-la-Bataille and Forges-les-Eaux. The second starts just south of Gournay where the Avenue Verte splits into two. There is a 74 mile option which takes a westerly approach to Paris or a 114 mile option which goes eastwards for quite a long way before turning south westerly towards Paris. The two routes join at St Germain on the outskirts of Paris. The third section, from St Germain to Notre Dame Cathedral is 23 miles.

Having the choice of two routes could be an advantage in that you can cycle to Paris on one route and return using the alternative. This could appeal to those of us living in the Seahaven area who just want to cycle from Dieppe to Paris and back.

You can buy the Avenue Verte guide book from Sustrans. The link is: http://shop.sustrans.org.uk/products/6353-avenue-verte–london-to-paris-by-bike

Bonne chance!

Clive Aberdour

BBQ Rides – 10th Aug 2013

A barbeque and two cycle rides were held on Saturday, 10th August, leaving from the Flying Fish at Denton as part of the day of fun and fund raising by Cycle Seahaven for the Ouse Valley Cycle Network (ocvn.org.uk) – a planned network of walking and cycling routes between Newhaven and Lewes. The weather was ideal, bright with a gentle breeze.

One of the rides was for families, especially young children and those who wished to have a gentle easy ride to Seaford. This ride attracted 16 riders, some very young indeed, one on a child seat, and several on their own cycles aged 6 upwards. The family route took the group along the Ouse Valley cycle trail through the nature reserve, along the new section of cycleway under Bishopstone Bridge and then to the Martello tower in Seaford. The return journey was back the same way with the youngest forging ahead, showing great enthusiasm.

The other ride was attended by 10 riders, including two 13yr olds. This was a cross-country ride of 11 miles from the Flying Fish to Bishopstone, Grand Avenue in Seaford, Bo-Peep, along the South Downs Way to Firle Beacon, and back . The views were stunning – the weald on one side with Arlington reservoir and Firle Folly, and sea views on the other side with Seaford Head and Newhaven Marina on the other.

Prizes were raffled, donated by Mr. Cycles of Seaford and The Flying Fish of Denton , and all riders and non-riders enjoyed a fabulous BBQ while sitting in the Pub’s garden listening to live music.

The event was a great success raising a grand total of £230.00

– a relaxing and beautiful day.

Cyclists gather at the Flying Fish for the bike rides

Cyclists gather at the Flying Fish for the bike rides

Heading west from Seaford Golf Course towards bo-peep

Heading west from Seaford Golf Course towards bo-peep

Enjoying a BBQ and live music in the gardens of the Flyting Fish

Enjoying a BBQ and live music in the gardens of the Flyting Fish

All smiles on Seaford beach

All smiles on Seaford beach

Taking a rest on the South Downs Way at Firle Beacon

Taking a rest on the South Downs Way at Firle Beacon

Chef Denis prepares the food for when the hungry riders return

Chef Denis prepares the food for when the hungry riders return

Touring Road Ride to Littlehampton – 6 August 2013

We’re quite lucky in Cycle Seahaven as we have a national cycle route going through our area as well as a ferry port on our doorstep. Cycling past the iconic East Beach Cafe at Littlehampton_800This means we can easily cycle to London or Paris using the newly signposted Avenue Verte route or cycle along the south coast on Route 2 (The South Coast Cycle Route).

So, with this in mind, four of us met up at the Martello Tower at 8.30 am. It was a beautiful morning – sunny, a gentle onshore breeze, calm sea and the ferry was in. Shame we didn’t have our passports! A ride to Paris will have to wait until another day!

Never mind, the cycle route to Littlehampton is great, being virtually flat and largely traffic-free although the section between Newhaven and Peacehaven is a disaster; the problems will be well known to Cycle Seahaven members.

After managing to get through Newhaven it was plain sailing from Peacehaven onwards. We followed the cycle route signs through some back roads, crossed over the A259 near the Smugglers Rest, then cycled along a shared cycle/foot path for a short distance before going down to the undercliff pass just before Saltdean. We soon passed Brighton Marina, a short incline there, then along Madeira Drive towards Brighton Pier. It wasn’t long before we were pedalling along the cycle path adjacent to Kings Rd, reaching the Peace Statue at Hove by 10.00 am where a fifth member of Cycle Seahaven joined us.

After that we cycled through Portslade, crossed over some locks at Shoram Harbour, diverted through Shoram due to some repairs to a bridge, then along the promenades of South Lancing and Worthing where we had a café stop by the beach. The next section, between Goring-by-Sea and Rustington entailed cycling on some fairly quiet roads before returning to the coast to cycle into Littlehampton along the promenade. (It’s legal to cycle along these promenades; why not at Seaford)?

It was 1.00 pm and time for a leisurely lunch which we decided to have on the Climping side of the River Arun at The West Beach Cafe. Good spot. The return journey was back along the same route, reaching Seaford just after 6.00 pm. That may sound like a long time but it was a round trip of 75 miles conducted at touring pace, slower along the promenades, and included four refreshment stops.

It had been a superb cycle ride; good company, perfect weather conditions and excellent route, apart from the ‘Newhaven to Peacehaven’ bit.

Must remember to take my passport next time!

Happy cycling,

Clive Aberdour