New route to Newick

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 fish ladder at Barcombe Mills

The Fish Ladder at Barcombe Mills

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.

Tony Rowswell


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