Windmills and Rivers – 4C MTB ride report

The warm sunshine and sheer numbers added to the excitement of the Thirty One (yes, 31!) MTB riders who met up at The White Lion for an 8:30am start on Sunday 2nd April. Our group of 20 club members who were riding the longer 4C route left first to head up to Bopeep, then onward past the two aerial towers above Firle Beacon. The views were still partly shrouded in mist, but this gradually cleared throughout the 28-mile ride.

Heading towards the aerials above Firle Beacon

Our usual route (after dropping down to Southease) is to follow the Egrets Way rider-side trail to Piddinghoe then up through Peacehaven via valley road, but this time we stayed on the South Downs Way (SDW) for the more challenging climbs up Mill Hill, Front Hill and Iford Hill – that’s a lot of hills. At the top we stopped for a quick refuel before heading further West along the SDW.

The chalky descent to Ashcombe (Kingston) is rather technical, with deep ruts and rain gulleys to negotiate. Despite this, everyone rode with skill and confidence to Kingston Ridge and the Juggs Road, pausing for a photo-stop at Ashcombe windmill at St Anne Without. From this half-way point we had done all the climbing and could now look forward to drinking in the views on the flat return journey.

Warm sunshine and great views at Ashcombe windmill

After crossing a narrow bridge high above the A27 we took some back streets (Morely Close & Cluny St.) to The Cockshut, then we followed the river banks to Egrets Way back home to Newhaven & Peacehaven.

This ride was really great fun with some marvellous personal achievements, wonderful weather and great company. Thanks to Tim & Chris for co-herding such a large group.

You can see the route we took by clicking on this link.

MTB 3C – Standean Bottom

Starting at 8am on Sunday at The White Lion, Seaford, 12 riders braved the icy conditions to ride the Ouse Esturay Trail (the gravel cycle path) to Newhaven to pick up another rider at Denton Corner. With thirteen of us in the group we rode along the cycle paths past Denton Island and round to the back of the Jolly Boatman. We crossed the C7 road and headed up Valley Road past the school, then tackled the short but very sharp climb to the A259 cycle path. We saw that the conversion of the footpath (to a surfaced cycleway) from the A259 to Ashington Gardens is now underway, and we’re looking forward to its completion in 5 weeks. Until that time the path will be closed.

Footpath clearance, ready for the cycle way


We cycled through The Big Park then along quiet roads up to Telscombe Road, out onto Teslcombe Tye then along the bridleways to Harvey’s Cross. It was very chilly out there in the open countryside, with some thick ice on the puddles but, despite the light fog, the views were worth it.

Ice breaker

The group continued on towards Standean Bottom then the long, slow, circuitous climb up to Woodingdean – being a long meandering route makes it less of a daunting climb, and the valley is both beautiful and quiet. My favourite place. We met a fellow rider who joined us for part of the ride. It’s great when you bump into other riders en-route, and you soon get to recognised familiar faces taking advantage of the amazing countryside we have around here.

Frost and sun at Standean Bottom

After the climb we heading down a farm track bridleway into Rottingdean and onto the under cliff to Saltdean. The climb out of Saltdean to Peacehaven is always a challenge, especially after 18 miles of cross-country riding, and the clifftop path is not as flat as you’d think.

Having encountered thick ice, sloppy puddles and slippery mud, we got back to Seaford safely and exactly on time at noon, the 26 miles and 1700 feet of climbing taking us four hours. A huge ‘well done’ to the riders who stepped up their game to do this challenging ride in tricky conditions.


GPS Video of the route we took:
Cycle Seahaven calendar:
History of Harvey’s cross:
Footpath Peacehaven 12:

PS. Next week’s ride options are a 2B to Bopeep trig point, and a 2.5C ride to Bopeep and Friston Forest. More details in the calendar at

2B Sunday Morning Beginners Ride

This Sundays ride saw the beginners group and the intermediate group set out together for a relaxed poodle along Seaford seafront to the car park at Tidemills, where the groups split. This left the beginners ride with 17 of us heading for the youth hostel cafe at Southease. A second beginners group was to follow on behind as afew riders were running late. We carried on to Newhaven and then along the riverbank to Piddinghoe where we passed the intermediate group, nothing to do with the speed we were riding at, more to the fact they had all stopped as one of them had picked up a puncture. Shortly after this one of our group also picked up a puncture, however the main group carried on whilst the puncture was repaired, thanks Gus for coming to the rescue.

After a short hop on the C7 we joined the Egrets Way to Southease, having made good time we were to early for the café, so we carried on up the Erget Way until the hard packed surface ended. Turning round we rode back to, and over the bridge crossing the river Ouse and on to the Cafe. The look on the poor waitress’s face when see saw all 17 of us ride up was a picture, a mixture of surprise and fright. Shortly after arriving the second group turned up – all 8 of them…. WOW We couldn’t believe it 25 riders on our beginners ride – a record – as you can see from the photo.

After coffee and cake we returned via the same route, back to Seaford, where people split off at different points to head home, hopefully having enjoyed a very pleasant mornings ride.

I would like to add a personal thank you to those ride leaders & more experienced riders who assisted me on this ride. It is greatly appreciated.  

Paul Sandles


Friston Forest Family Ride – April 2016

31 riders took to the forest for the April Forest Family Bike Ride. We started at the Exceat Forest car park and headed down to Friston Pond. Then along to the Candy Canes where we did a short section of the Red Route before rejoining the Family Trail. We headed up towards the Lookout where the group split with the more adventurous going down the Snow Run, while Mark led the calmer group down to the fire road. We paused where the Snow Run ends and cheered the more adventurous riders on as they crossed the fire track and headed down the Final Descent. We all met up at the bottom to head back towards the car park. On the way we had a short pause at Friston Pond for the kids to have a go shooting down through the trees on the opposite hill, slamming on their brakes to stop going head-long into the pond.

The weather was great and it was a really enjoyable ride. We had two new club members join us for their first club ride who brought their kids along with them, so hopefully we will see Tim and Karl out again soon.

GroupShot GroupShot2

See these pictures and all the others in hi-definition on our new Flickr site:


Wednesday Night Beginner’s Rides

wed group pic

Following our winter break the Beginner/Family Ride has started back up with all the original friendly faces and a few new ones.

Our last 3 rides have had 13 members enjoying some gentle cycling around Seaford, Newhaven and Peacehaven.

This is a very social and friendly group of riders who are already building up their cycling strength and road skills after a few months break.

The Beginner/Family Ride is all about getting people out on their bikes and every member of the group is more than happy to accommodate all levels of riders. There is great support and camaraderie within our group.

One of our regular riders has now become a new Ride Leader and as the group progresses it is our aim to run 2 Wednesday night rides of different abilities but starting and finishing together.

We meet at 7pm every Wednesday night and ride for about 2 hours so if you are thinking of dusting of your old bike or starting cycling as a new hobby then please come along and give us a go. You can always contact the ride leader, via the website, if you have any questions before joining the ride.

We look forward to seeing you on our next ride.

Joanne Barlow


Ride Report – Easter Egg Hunt 2016


The Cycle Seahaven Family Forest Rides for 2016 started this Easter Saturday as just over 50 cyclists took to Friston Forest for what is becoming an annual Easter Saturday bike ride and Easter Egg hunt. 28 children braved the dry but windy weather for the promise of finding a hidden Cream Egg as they rode round the forest.

Lead by ride leader Mark Woodgate and supported by ride leaders Jo, Ray and Paul from Cycle Seahaven, the group started in the Exceat car park and headed around the Family Trail, stopping at regular intervals to hunt for the Cream Eggs that had been hidden at specific locations. Two bonus eggs were also given out to children who knew the answers to 2 questions that were posed as they rode round. The first was who is the land owner of the area we are riding around? Answer: South East Water. The second was how many trees are there in Friston Forest? Answer: lots!


Again this year we had a great age range out on the ride with the youngest being just 3 and the eldest at 75, showing that all ages and abilities can get out and enjoy this wonderful countryside we have right here on our door step.


This year’s ride was given an additional fun element courtesy of Mr Cycles in Seaford who lent out 2 full suspension demo e-bikes (normal bikes but with an additional electric motor that makes climbing the hills in the forest epic fun!). It was wide grins all around as people discovered the thrill of the electric motor kicking in as you power down.

This lovely video was sent in by one of the dads on the ride. In his words: “I hope you enjoy the video. You organised it so well. You children are a credit to you. There is a crash at 2:46min. He and his dad wanted it in the video. A epic crash. “. Enjoy…

We very much look forward to next year’s Easter Egg Hunt

Ride Report – Brighton Races – 4C

Thirteen intrepid riders set out form the White Lion at 8am on Sunday morning, 20th March. It was a breezy day and just warm enough for shorts, but only if you also wore a few layered tops.

We took the Ouse Estuary trail from Seaford to Newhaven, then the cycle track past Denton Island and onto the Jolly Boatman. A nice flat warm-up to get the legs and heart going. The long, slow, gentle climb along Newhaven’s Valley Road is a club favourite, and is a way of getting to Peacehaven on quieter roads. After a final short/sharp climb up to the A259 cycle track we road through the Big Park and up to Telscombe Road. We then go to the bridleways that took us on to Woodingdean and the lovely new cycle track down ‘The Drove’ to Brighton racetrack. The descent to Brighton Marina was long and fast, and a terrific reward for all the height we gained.

A short stop for coffee (free refills) and cake at Weatherspoons was a bargain at only £2.75. Suitably refreshed we rode the lovely undercliff route back to Saltdean. The warmth of the pub was a stark contrast to the cold wind. Was a Seaford morning really that much warmer than a Brighton afternoon, or had we got too cosy in the pub? The short and steep climb up from the underfcliff is always a shock, but it was over quickly. That left us with a very scenic ride along the cliff top through Peacehaven and up The Highway past Rushey Park. We descended Upper Valley Road right back down to Valley Road to return to Seaford via Valley Road – the same way we had started out.

Another great ride with lovely company.

Route map and timings:

Brighton races

Brighton races

Mind the puddles

Mind the puddles

Jelly babies

Jelly babies

Cliff Top, Peacehaven

Cliff Top, Peacehaven

Smile for the camera

Smile for the camera

Steep descent

Steep descent

Sunday MTB – Ride Report 15th March 2015

Ten riders started out from The White Lion for our usual Sunday morning ride. This time we planned to ride to the Courtyard Café at Southease Youth Hostel. The ground was dry & firm and we had a following wind for much of the outward journey. All that winter riding in rain and over soft ground had paid off:  we arrived half an hour before the café opened. We did however use the new public workshop facilities outside the café to inflate a tyre with a slow puncture. It’s handy to know these facilities exist for emergency repairs.

Debbie shows off the cycle tools at Southease YHA

Debbie shows off the cycle tools at Southease YHA

Rather than wait in the cold for the café to open we carried on to the new café at The Big Park in Peacehaven for coffee and cake (and bacon sarnies) (and bacon & egg rolls).

The Bridleway from Telscombe Village to Bullock Down

The Bridleway from Telscombe Village to Bullock Down

Bikes at the Big Park Cafe

At the Big Park Café. Bikes on the outside, coffee and cake on the inside.

Our return route was via the popular Cycle Seahaven route for road and off-road riders: turning left off the busy A259 down Valley Road and past Meeching Valley School,  to pick of the cycle lane behind the Jolly Boatman and back to Seaford. At over 20 miles this was certainly one of our longer rides,  but the improving conditions are making lengthier outings much easier.