*****Organised by Ken and Li

zFive tandems and one solo set off from Haywards Heath station promptly at 10 o’clock on a sunny but windy morning. A short loop to the north and east took us past a magnificent display of crocuses on the recreation ground at Lindfield and up and down a few little bumps to get us warmed up. After a very short spell on the A272 we headed south on Slugwash Lane to Wivelsfield and then on towards Plumpton Green. We had a brief stop to look at the Polish War Memorial which commemorates the fighter squadron that was based at Chailey Airfield whilst giving air support for the Normandy Landings. The memorial stands outside the ‘New’ Plough Inn, the original of which had to be demolished to make way for the runways.

Next came a short section of bridleway with good views to the South Downs, the surface is a concrete track but there was quite a lot of surface water and sloshy mud on top, perfect for taking the shine off the clean tandems. After a short section on road beside Plumpton Racecourse another bumpy and wet bridleway brought us out onto the road at Streat and then on towards Ditchling. There were mock cries of disgust as we turned away from Ditchling Beacon, but no-one took up the offer of a detour up to the top before lunch. They looked after us well in the White Horse and nobody seemed in much of a hurry to leave. Christopher spent a while trying to work out how to play the pub game ‘toad in the hole’ – see link for details. http://www.benward.tv/toad_index.asp

As we headed off after lunch through Clayton it looked as if the weather forecasters may have got it right for a change. A bank of cloud was rapidly approaching from the west and we stopped to don waterproofs in Hurstpierpoint. The lanes heading northwards parallel with the A23 were quiet (apart from a very yappy Jack Russell that chased us all as we passed his home) and increasing hilly. We entered Borde Hill gardens via the back bridleway entrance and stopped for a good tea at the café which, usefully, is now open all year.

By the time we left the café the cold front had passed through and the sun was out again for the short, mostly downhill run back to the start. Ride distance about 36 miles.

At Plumpton Green - photo by Liz

On the bridleway - photo by Liz

Mind the mud - photo by Liz

Outside Borde Hill tea rooms - photo by Liz

route 8th march

At the start - Photo by Dave

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