Four of us gathered at Walberton Pond on Sunday for the ride to the Parrot Inn at Forest Green: myself (Bob) leading, with Paul, Sam and Harvey. The weather was dry if a bit cloudy, and only a moderate wind.
We went by the Madehurst route, and were surprised to come across Mike a couple of times, near the start and at Whiteways, as he was attending a classic car rally there. From Whiteways we went down Bury Hill and thence via West Burton to Fittleworth, then over the hill by Bedham to Coldharbour and Wisborough Green, where we had coffee at the Old Mill. We had made quite good time, as the route, though hilly, was very direct, but I wondered whether Forest Green was feasible, partly because, despite a couple of attempts to scout the route, I hadn’t managed to get there due to various setbacks. Sam had raised the idea of going instead to the Milk Churn at Rudgwick, and as that was on the way I thought we’d make a decision when we got that far.
So we set off to Rudgwick but in fact made much better time than I had anticipated, so that when we arrived at the Milk Churn it was barely 12, and the cake I had had at the Old Mill was still in full occupancy of my stomach. So we carried on to the top of the hill above Rudgwick. As that was about as far as I had got trying to scout it out, I asked Sam if he knew the way, but he didn’t. So we set off fairly blindly; I knew there were Surrey Cycleways, one of which would be helpful but there were several and they forked. We went through Cox Green and turned right into Ellen’s Green, then at the junction with the Horsham Road Sam said he thought we should turn left and take the right hand fork, but that seemed to be going to Dorking. I thought we should take the left fork, so we did, but later came across another junction which we nearly missed, where it was necessary to take the right hand option, so perhaps that was what Sam was remembering. After a few miles we started to pass signs promising Forest Green, and after going through Walliswood got to the Parrot Inn not long after 12.30. I was extremely chuffed at this Navigation Triumph and I think I should be awarded the non-existent medal of Geographer Extraordinaire at the next AGM.
We got a pretty decent lunch at the Parrot Inn, but left in good time as I wanted to be sure of getting to Kirdford for tea before they closed. We returned the way we had come as far as Buck’s Green, and I was intending to continue that route to Wisborough Green and then leave if for Kirdford. What followed was a classic of confused communication. Sam started to tell me of an alternative route to Kirdford, but being hard of hearing I couldn’t quite get what he was saying, and did my usual but not very helpful thing when I can’t cope with a conversation of just grunting. I thought he was just telling me of some alternatives and I made a mental note to look them up on a map later. But Sam thought I had agreed to go a different route with him. So when we got to Drungewick Lane I was expecting to turn left 9and in fact did so) but he and Harvey went straight on, despite my shouting. Paul and I stopped a bit bewildered, but then followed them, however they thought we had decided not to follow so didn’t wait. We thus found our way through Loxwood and after getting trapped by a dangerously fast convoy of motor bikes, took the right hand turning into Skiff Lane and thence to Kirdford Village Shop. The route was really nice, apart from the motor bike bit, and missed out Wisborough Green, though I was making various uncomplimentary remarks about Sam along the way. However Paul and I caught up with Sam and Harvey at the shop, where the muddle was explained. I wonder, perhaps I could be given some new ears along with my geography medal?
And after a good tea break we returned via Byworth and Duncton Hill
Harvey left us at the Upwaltham turning, while Sam, Paul and I went down the Lavant valley to the Centurion Way at West Dean, My mileage from and back to Chichester was 77, so probably about 69 from Walberton.