A good turnout for the long ride to Durleighmarsh on Sunday: myself (Bob) leading, with Mike, Sam, Maureen, Martin, Russell, Michael and Paul, on a cheerily sunny day, if also a bit cold, and Michael dragooned another cycle club to take a picture of us, returning the favour for them:
We went the usual way through Rowlands Castle to our coffee stop at Keydell’s, Horndean, Martin and Sam pointing out a golf club along the way I’d never noticed before, as by that stage in the journey my attention is already focussing on the joyful anticipation of the George VI post box along Links Lane. We sped past both of these notable landmarks however, and made good time to Horndean in the light winds.
After coffee we turned right off the main road to go through Blendworth and down the hill to Chalton, where sadly Martin left us to return home. The rest of us went up the hill towards Idsworth, but at the junction just past the railway bridge turned left to go up past Ditcham School, as it was still half term. The stop for a breather at the top was especially lovely, the bright weather making the stunning views from there quite fabulous. After the downhill to Ditcham we turned left onto the main road; I had a wobble of confidence just before the fork at Nursted, wondering whether I had taken a wrong turning at the junction with the main road (I had ridden the route last Tuesday but had thought I would be able to remember it better than turned out to be the case). Anyway Sam assured me that we were on the right road, and after the fork went round the expansively beautiful countryside to Durford, where the Rother os crossed by a narrow stone bridge, with several arches. Looking it up just now, it seems Durford Bridge was constructed about 1600 and is a scheduled monument.
The good weather had begun to cloud over a little, but was still fine enough for us to eat outside at the Tea Barn; you do get a good lunch and service there. Michael managed his usual trick of persuading someone to abandon their wife and children to take our likeness:
After which we returned over the road back to Durford but then continued through West Harting. I added a bit at the top of South Harting, to turn left instead of right so as to go up and right through East Harting. Sadly my memory wobbled a bit again at some of the turnings, but with Sam’s prompting we arrived at Turkey Island. I had intended to go up the hill there, but was feeling a bit knackered so turned off left to go through Elsted. Russell had intended to leave us and go up the Turkey Island hill if we did that to take a shorter route back, but in the event stayed with us as the hill road surface looked a bit grotty (it had been so last Tuesday and after the heavy rain on Saturday was bound to be worse). But the route through Elsted and Treyford (where I was careful to point out the VR post box to everyone’s delight, encapsulated eloquently by Sam’s comment of “Oh for God’s sake don’t you start”),
to Bepton and Cocking does take in some of the best of Sussex countryside.
The Moonlight tea rooms at Cocking were shut for some reason, so we went up the hill and decided on a split: Maureen and Mike turned off at Singleton to go back via the Petworth road; Michael and Russell at West Dean to take the Centurion Way, Paul and Sam at Hunter’s Lane, but I alone, heroically and steadfastly carried the Flame into the very centre of Chichester where I bought some socks.
My mileage was 47 (75 kilometers).
There follows the Route taken from Michael which was longer as he started from Bognor