Sunday 25 February Ride to Midhurst

It was a beautiful clear blue sky day though with a strong NE wind and very cold minus 2 when I left home. It had dropped low enough for a grass frost but there had not been much rain of late and there was only the occasional melting icy puddle on the route. Plenty of woolly hats and many layers in evidence though.

Sam was the leader and he was joined at Chichester Cross by Bob and Edwin and Jeff and 2 friends of Jeff, Chris and Tim from Selsey.

We headed out via West Street and then on the quiet route along the Centurion Way coming across only the occasional dog walker and jogger. There were a few ice puddles before Lavant but the unmade part up to West Dean was much improved from a few weeks ago being fully dry. Unusually we did not have to go to the difficult exit as the farm gates were open

This enabled is to go straight across onto a lane through the village which made for a pleasant bypass of some of the main road. Then it was a a short stretch of main road to the Wattle &Daub Cafe at the Weald and Downland Museum, Singleton. The cafe is a new building before the Museum pay point next to a beautiful pond. We got there early enough to avoid crowds in the cafe. The Cafe opens at 9.30 about an hour before the Museum.

I had decided to make it a half day ride and headed home from Singleton gaining the benefit of a tailwind and a gentle downhill on the cycleway. Part way along I encountered Chris Dart coming the other way. I directed him to the Cafe the others had said they were aiming for in Midhurst. My mileage from and back to Pagham was 31.


Jeff continues the story for the main group

Sam relented on his planned longer route and took us left at Cocking westwards along the foot of the downs in glorious winter sun with the wind behind.  We turned right for Bepton and on to the usual ‘old prison cafe ‘ Gartons Cafe Midhurst for a very early lunch.

Again after lunch we had a wind assisted ride back to Bepton then the pine forest Severals road to the A272.

A quick ride followed to Elsted then a slow up the steep back road to Harting hill. We then cut through Uppark and afternoon tea in the sun at Compton was also good

Usual route back and a very  enjoyable  38miles


One of my recent pictures was taken on a Camera Club day trip last Sunday to Kimmerage Bay in Dorset. As the Tide goes out rock platforms are exposed all along the bay

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Sat 24th Feb, Ride from Chichester Library to West Dean Gardens Café

Seven cyclists (Philippa, Bev & Colin, Steve & Carol, Jill and Maureen) gathered at Chichester Library for a ride to West Dean Gardens Café.

 The weather was lovely and sunny, although extremely cold with a north east wind blowing.

We left the library and headed west towards Westgate.  Before the level crossing, we took a right hand turn to go along Centurion Way.  We carried on along the cyclepath, using the new extension which brought us out in West Dean opposite The Dean pub.  We then used the pavement to do the final part of the journey to West Dean Gardens.

After stopping briefly for a photocall, the group went into the café, which was surprisingly busy, with some brave (or mad?) souls even sitting outside!  There was no room at any of the tables in the café, so we were content to sit in the foyer instead.  We were grateful to be in the warm and also for Colin’s seemingly endless supply of Lidl chocolate which has a habit of appearing out of his TARDIS-like cycle bag!

Reluctant to go back out into the cold, we stayed at the café for some time and Philippa took another photo of the happy crowd.

Eventually venturing back outside, we all agreed the temperature had dropped even lower and, in unison, we promptly pulled up our snood scarfs over our heads to keep our ears warm.

On our return to Chichester, we took a slightly different route, using the original Centurion Way route which took us along a path which bordered the road.  On arriving at Lavant, we stopped to admire the old station building, converted into flats in the 1990s.

We carried on along Centurion Way and arrived back in Chichester at approximately 4.30 pm.




Sunday 18 February Ride to the Harrow Inn, Steep

Today’s ride was to the Harrow Inn, at Steep near Petersfield. I was the ride leader and was joined by Sam, Bob and Mike, so four out today. Although the thermometer read 8C, reaching 10C in the afternoon, which is considerably milder than most recent rides, the dampness of the air made it feel cold all day.

We used an all road route to our elevenses at Compton, where it was just about warm enough to brave sitting outside. From there we cycled up the Compton Down lane, avoiding a descending group of sportive cyclists, to join the Finchdean to Buriton road. This road is magical at anytime of year, but it has a quite desolate feel in late winter. It was then on into Petersfield using the cycle path, a few urban streets and shops and out onto a quite muddy Harrow Lane and our lunch time destination. Knowing the ‘petit’ status of the bar room at the Harrow Inn, I had planned to arrive promptly at midday opening, which we did. However a queue of thirsty locals was already forming, so when the door was unbolted and we were welcomed in to place our orders, the bar was quickly filled to capacity. The tiny bar-room was superheated by a lovely roaring log fire.

Post lunch , a hearty soup and wedge of bread, we rode south up the hill through Steep, crossing the busy A272 at Stroud, up the climb to Ramsdean and eventually taking us  back to the Petersfield/ Queen Elizabeth Country park cycle path. By now it was threatening to drizzle so it was a brisk ride back to Chichester via Rowlands Castle, where Sam stopped to top up his caffeine intake, whilst the rest of us pushed on. We arrived back at 3.20pm.

Total mileage for the ride was 50 miles.

Russell Sopp

Sunday 11 February Ride to Rotherhill Nursery, Stedham

It was a beautiful clear blue sky day with a westerly wind and very cold. The weather was very similar to last Sunday except for the wind being in nearly the opposite direction. Plenty of woolly hats were in evidence. It started at 3C and later reached 7C though windchill made it feel colder. Sam was the leader and he was joined at Walberton Pond by Russell, Bob and Edwin.

We headed out on the lane up to Fontwell and then the path under the A27. Then it was Slindon Bottom Lane among the trees. After climbing towards Eartham we stopped briefly to regroup and for a picture in the beautiful light.

Then it was on through Eartham and on via a stretch of the main road to the top. We took the ridge road into the cold westerly headwind but with beautiful views towards Halnaker Mill and the coast. Then past Goodwood Racecourse and the steep downhill of Singleton Shoot and on to the Wattle and Daub Cafe at Singleton Open Air Museum and a welcome warm break. The cafe which opened last year provides an additional stop for our rides. We had beautiful views across the small lake from inside the cafe

Jeff Lander had sent texts to say that due to a cold he could not make the ride but would come by car and see us at Singleton. However with the 9.00 start we had arrived at 10.15 and Jeff and Bea arrived just as we were leaving at 10.45. Still Jeff was in time to get a picture of the full group.

I had decided to make it a half day ride and headed home from the Cafe.

The rest continued via Cocking and then lanes via Bepton and on to lunch at Rotherhill Nursery Cafe, Stedham. They then planned to head over towards Harting including a climb up Telegraph Hill and across to Uppark and back via Compton.

My mileage from Pagham was 34 and it would have been 45 miles Walberton and back to Walberton

One of my latest pictures was constructed during the cold and wet of yesterday. The Landscape is Lanzarote and the stars were in a picture taken from Pagham Harbour Wall. The planet and moons were constructed using a rock texture taken in Lanzarote. The planet rings were created starting with some clouds in a picture taken in France. I call the picture “In a Galaxy Far Far Away”


Sunday 4th February Ride to Ashington

It was a beautiful sunny day today marred only by the cold temperatures from 2 to 5C and a strong NNE wind bringing a high windchill. I headed out to the start at Walberton stopping briefly near Bersted to take a picture of the Bognor Rife.

I was the leader and I was joined at Walberton by Sam and Bob in high spirits.

Then it was on via Madehurst and up to Whiteways. Then a steep descent of Houghton Hill and on via backroads  through Amberley and Rackham. We stopped briefly in the sunshine taking due note of a sign cautioning us about Hedgehogs crossing.

Then it was on to Wiggonholt to warm up and an early elevenses and spotting from the widows a herd of Deer in the field below. When I took a picture Sam and Bob decided the Blog needed an injection of drama

Then it was on via Stream Lane and West Chiltington. Sam was cutting down on the use of electric assist so as to warm up. Then it was on to the Coolham road and for a direct route we turned off on the Billingshurst Road straight to Ashington. The Jungle Tea Rooms is just south of Ashington in the Big Plant Nurseries. The Tea Rooms opened last year and was suitably warm. We all had a hot soup.

For the return route we headed south via Wiston and then a stretch of the A283 to Washington. We climbed the Downs on the old road (the old Hill Climb Event road) Then it was a fast descent on the A24 to Findon and west on the Long Furlong Road with some great views but a bit too busy. Then it was a turn off on the empty road of the old A27 past the turn for Patching and on to a road under the A27 and down to Angmering. Then backroads via  Rustington and Littlehampton seafront. As we approached our tea stop we coincidently met John Maxim on the way back from Rowlands Castle. He decided to join us for tea at the Look and Sea Centre Cafe.

After tea we headed back with us spitting at Yapton as I took a left towards Middleton while Sam and Bob headed straight on towards Chichester.

Mileage from and back to Walberton would have been about 40. My mileage from Pagham was 55.

My latest picture is taken from Bognor Beach and is not sunrise but the Supermoon rising on Wednesday. The yellows and reds came because the moon was partly obscured by clouds coloured by the sun which had set 15 minutes before in the opposite direction. Moonlight also gains colour when it is low in the sky having more atmosphere to pass through. Taken with a 300mm lens.

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