Peter Collins led this very lumpy but enjoyable ride from Tunbridge Wells Mount Ephraim to Ashdown Forest with scheduled stops at Duddleswell Tea Rooms and Rothersfield. The route was mainly through thick forest roads and along leafy lanes which offered plenty of shade while tackling several challenging hills. We headed out down Fir Tree Road, passing the cricket pitch, along Hungershall Park to then join High Rocks Lane, which runs parallel to the Spa Valley Railway Line.
We negotiated our way around the back of Groombridge Station to then join the B2100 towards Withyham. On through Hartfield and turning left at Coleman’s Hatch, passing the inn, to then climb “the wall” which comes right at the top of the long ascent of Kidd’s Hill. Our efforts were duly rewarded with some stunning, but hazy, panoramic views across the forest. Further rewards were acquired after belting down the B2026 to the Duddleswell Team Rooms. We convinced ourselves that the extremely large wedges of cream cakes were essential to immediately boost our wilting energy levels.
Suitably indulged, we continued along the B2026 to turn left at Fairwarp, passing through wooded undulating lanes to then cross the A26 near Herons Ghyll. We went along Perrymans Lane, through Burnt Oak, skirted Five Ashes and up Castle Hill to our second break at Rothersfield. Our last stretch involved riding north down Eridge Lane, crossing back over the A26 near Eridge Green, along The Forstal and Eridge Road to retrace our outward route at Broadwater Forest Lane. A distance of 36.7 miles at 12.5 mph average with an elevation gain of 3,600 feet.