Wednesday is becoming very popular as a better-weather alternative for Monday/Tuesday rides. The ride on 12th February was also trying a new starting point, a layby at Malling Pits Nature Reserve, just along from Earwig Corner. The only problem is that neither names are on any maps!
However, five riders started in bright sunshine and a cool westerly wind – which was fine going east to Ringmer and then across to Barcombe Mills and through the village.
The private road/bridleway to The Anchor was delightful, sunshine, following wind and the river flowing alongside. A brief walk at the end on to the old railway track brought us to Anchor Lane which meandered up to Mount Pleasant and Spithurst. A gradual climb up to Newick Park was followed by a descent through a narrow road cut deeply into the local sandstone – spooky and reputed to be haunted.
The change to 10 am start has had an unfortunate effect on our lunch arrangements, arriving at a splendid Newick pub 45 minutes before they start serving meals. Time for a hot drink and round to the bakery to pick up a tasty pie.
The next aim was for a 2 km bridleway called Cockfield Lane. A forced dismount at the top of the lane gave the opportunity to feast in the sun and out of the wind. The bridleway was very good – down hill and a hard surface beneath the occasional mud curving down through light woodland. On down towards Offham there was another bridleway, Birdshole Lane. We went for it but regretted – it was a stream and deep mud -so it was walk, ride, walk and ride up to the top where my deraillleur bracket snapped off and bent the chain. Fortunately, I had a link extractor and split link, so in 10 minutes I was underway as a single speed!
From Offham, a track descends steeply down to the river valley and Landport Estate, The Pells and back to South Malling.
An interesting ride on a beautiful day though only 21 miles. The stop at Malling Pits is accessible but very popular for dog walkers. However, there was a rapid turnover over of vehicles so it will be worth trying again. But Birdshole Lane is definitely off my Recommended List of Bridleways.