Last night we had 25 riders of widely varying ages and abilities congregate on The Flying Fish, some joining us en-route from as far away as Polegate. It was great to see some newcomers to Thursday’s regular pub ride: welcome to Lou and her son Cam (13), Alan, Steve, and Fergus.
A number of members and guests rode over from Newhaven via the Ouse Estuary Trail (the walking and cycling track between Newhaven and Seaford), so they had already completed half of the ride and wouldn’t need to join us on the return journey after the pub. We set out on the 4-mile ride from The White Lion, a popular meeting place for our rides, and headed en-masse along Belgrave Road towards the mini roundabout, turning left up Firle Road. After about 250 meters we waited for everyone to re-group before turning left along the bridleway that goes past Costcutters on Princess Drive, continuing a straight line onto Grand Avenue where we stopped again to regroup and catch our breath.
One of the benefits of using quiet bridleways is that it’s easy to stop just about anywhere without fear of blocking the way for motor vehicles, and we always put this benefit to good use on our easier rides where we need to stop regularly to allow everyone to keep together. It’s much more fun in a big group, and the faster riders know it’s an easy ride so are happy to wait and encourage new riders.
The route into Bishopstone was along Silver Lane, passing the long flint wall to our left which is embedded with the Pelham family badges (a diamond shape and a buckle, click for Historical info), before the descent to St Andrews Church.
The above map of the bridleway between Firle Road and Bishopstone is from the East Sussex rights of way map, which can be viewed here: http://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/leisureandtourism/countryside/rightsofway/rightsofwaymap/LargeMap.htm
After another breather we turned right along the quiet road towards Poverty Bottom pumping station. With a tarmac surface all the way to Norton, this road turns into a bridleway with a short but steep climb to the top of Cantercrow Hill. Once at the top crossroads we all stopped for another breather before heading downhill to the pub.
The above map of the bridleway between Norton and The Flying Fish is again from the East Sussex rights of way map.
Once at the pub we were treated to huge plates of superbly roasted potatoes and gravy, all supplied free to the riders courtesy of the Pub. The roasties didn’t last long enough for pictures to be taken of them.
On the return journey we waved goodbye to the Newhaven-based riders who didn’t have far to get home. The rest of us rode along the Ouse Estuary Trail to Seaford and The White Lion where the ride ended – but the evening’s laughter continued.
Next week’s ride is to the Eight Bells in Jevington. Twice as far but still a gentle pace.