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.
On a humid and sticky morning, Russell Chidwick led seven riders on a very lumpy route, skirting Tunbridge Wells, to Bewl Water. Dee and Linton decided, very sensibly, to bail out of Russell’s planned ride, after tackling Castle Hill, claiming that “it was too hot”. Undeniably correct; the remaining troupers continued unabated, enduring the sun’s harsh glare which was only interrupted, briefly, by some leafy shade. The Matfield Village Fete provided Allan with the unique opportunity to swap his carbon for a late-19th century Belgian trike. Jo also took a fancy to a mid-50ies child’s Raleigh. The stallholder, however, was not that naïve. The group encountered the expected disruption close to Dunorlan Park, which was hosting the Pub in the Park Festival.
Bewl Water’s shimmering expanse was the ideal spot to lay on the grass, under a tree, to take on some much-needed fluid and sustenance. While devouring ice creams, Russell and Tony took the executive decision to shorten the return which, very conveniently, avoided tackling even more big lumps.
A distance of 33.2 miles at 13.0 mph average speed with elevation gain of 2,534 feet.
An absolutely beautiful day for a ride, 23 degrees as we set off and a little more by the end. Four turned for the ride at Lenham, with a new member to this group, Billy Edwards normally an Inters rider.
We set off to Headcorn up via Liverton Street, down the steephill along the Headcorn road. This part of the ride was very down and flat and this was the route character until we reached Rock Hill Road. A little pulse raiser to the top, Billy had a mechanical problem so that was nice to get the breath back. Problem solved off to Betheresden via Pluckley, again mainly down and flat.
Our café stop was at Footprints Café at the Singleton Environment Centre. Lovely place with good food and service. Worth a visit.
A slight uphill route back heading towards Great Chart and up to Hothfield and up to Pluckley. Down towards Charing, but cut along left to Charing Heath with the intentions to get to Sandway, but I got a little disorientated (ie I got lost!). But on hand was Russell, to bail me out. Got a few words from Tony who was very quick to reduce my marks for the overall lead.
We all got home safe and well with smiles on our faces, 38 miles, 14.8 mph and 508m climb. Good ride, good weather and even better company.
Six riders, smothered in sun block, departed from Appledore Village heading in a westerly direction towards Wittersham on a lumpy route which passed through Peasmarsh, Udimore, Icklesham and Pett to Winchelsea Beach. The wooded lanes selected by Tony Palmer provided shelter not only from the sun’s rays but also neutralised the effects of the prevailing westerly breeze. Most of the lanes had been resurfaced recently making the ride conditions more pleasurable (and faster) than the normal pot hole dodging routine. After descending down the very steep Pett Lane and riding along Pett Level Road, now supported by a tailwind, the group, having clocked up over 27 miles, lunched at the Winchelsea Beach Café. The group continued along the traffic free coastal path through Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, with views over Rye Bay, to then return to Rye beside the River Rother. Phil decided to leave the group at Rye to return directly while the group opted to head on through Camber to Lydd. The steady pace was aided by a strong tailwind and the flat landscape. Tony missed the left turning to Brookland which called for some extra map reading. The unplanned scenic loop through Old Romney, Ivychurch and Brenzett in the glorious sunshine was an unexpected bonus. A distance of 56.2 miles at 14.7 mph average with an elevation gain of 1,940 feet.
Phil Harvey led four riders in a westerly direction towards Collier Street on a cloudy and chilly morning. Setting a steady pace the group soon warmed up by Laddingford as they headed into the wind passing Yalding Station and negotiating the A228 roundabout. The group continued through East Peckham and Hadlow where Ian opted to turn back towards home as he had clocked up many miles already. The remaining three riders then exchanged pleasantries with the D+ Group when passing at Dunks Green. After crossing the A227 at Shipbourne and riding along the familiar Hildenborough Road, Riding Lane route Phil then elected to turn right along Vines Lane towards Underriver. We continued along Philpots Lane, Copping Road and Camp Hill to reach Chiddingstone Causeway. A sharp left took us back towards Penshurst passing the Little Brown Jug Inn on our left. While it was tempting to stop at Penshurst Place we pushed on through the estate road back toward Leigh. After passing under the A21 along Powder Mill Lane, Phil came up with a neat new short cut which avoided riding down the B245 into Tonbridge. There were many twists and turns as we passed through Haysden Country Park to eventually surface at Barden Road which took us on to the roundabout at the bottom of Tonbridge High Street. We stopped at the Old Fire Station Café which is behind the castle and is well worth a visit. On our return we navigated our way through the old town and then passed the magnificent Tonbridge School Big School Hall and recreation ground to come out opposite Dry Hill Park Road. Now with a strong tailwind we quickly passed through Golden Green, East Peckham and Claygate and reached Marden where the sun decided to make a late appearance. A distance of 47.5 miles at 14.1 mph average with an elevation gain of 1,215 feet
Four riders assembled at East Malling on a warm sunny morning to ride to Shorne Woods Country Park. Mark Phillipson’s announcement that the route involved tackling Vigo Hill was met with a stifled groan. We passed through West Malling, Offham and Addington to reach the base of our impending challenge at Trottiscliffe. Congratulations to Mark and Jonathan for successfully conquering the beast. Tony’s over indulgence in Jersey Cream Teas took its toll on him at the bridge and he had to stagger breathlessly by foot to the summit. Brigitte didn’t quite overcome her mental block, another day perhaps. The advantage of reaching the top of Vigo Hill, declared Mark, means that its downhill to anywhere from there. With lungs re-inflated and with long descents we used the quite lanes to speedily pass though Stansted and New Ash Green. Still heading downhill we passed through Hartley to quickly reach the bottom of the valley at Longfield. Our route continued through Dickens’ territory via New Barn, Meopham, Sole Street and Cobham to our scheduled break. As we consumed our ‘vittles’, we were treated to a fine spitfire aerobatic display in the clear blue sky. Our return route took us over the Medway Bridge and then along the lumpy lane to Burnham, Eccles, Aylesford and Ditton. As we had all ridden to the start at East Malling a general consensus was reached, by comparing Garmins and Strava recordings, that the distance of the group ride was 38.3 miles at 14.1 mph average with an elevation gain of 2,408 feet.
It was really blustery on arrival at Lenham,and surprisingly Tony P,turned up after returning from holiday early due to bad weather. He joined,Brigitte,Gary,Ray,Jonathan and Richard.It was decided to go to Wye,and with Richard leading,the out route went through Charing and Westwell along the very quiet Pilgrims Way before the busier A251 and Boughton Aluph to the cafe in Wye village,a nice relaxing stop. With the sun really warm the return was more wind assisted going to Brook and the A20. Richard managed to miss a turning,and the group ended up going through Ashford town centre before returning to the quieter lanes of Great Chart and Pluckley and the climb to Egerton and return to Lenham. A distance of 38 miles at about 14 mph average.
Jonathan led the four riders on a glorious morning, although the air was a lttle chilly. After navigating the short stretch down the A21 we were soon meandering down the lanes heading towards Bells Yew Green. From there we made our way to Frant where we took advantage of a bench on the green and had a well deserved breather taking in the lovely views and to give Tony's heartbeat a chance to get back in sync. We then took the undulating A267 to Mark Cross before turning off and going through Wadhurst and on to the Courtyard Cafe in Ticehurst where we were able to sit outside in the warm sunshine. The cafe was very quiet with the local community engrossed with the royal wedding.
After the break the ride was more lumpy and the average speed started to come down from the 15 mph recorded before the stop. We headed towards Hawkhurst and turned down Park Lane, a gravel path through the Bedgebury Forest. Road bikes were hardly suitable but we took it slowly and came out unscathed the other side taking in the magnificent scenery. After exiting the forest we made our way up the steep incline to Goudhurst, and after pausing for breath made our way back to Brenchley via Horsmonden. We completed the 38 miles at an average of 13.5 mph, and climbing over 3,000 ft.
Tony Palmer led the group of four riders on a cloudy morning with rain forecasted at 11:00AM and at 2:30PM. The plan was to ride along the sea wall basked in glorious sunshine with a gentle westerly breeze pushing us along from Lydd-on-sea to Hythe; however, this idyllic activity didn’t materialise. We headed south through a series of narrow lanes to Brooklands and then took the lane, tucked behind the church, across Walland Marsh, towards Lydd. After encountering a few spots of rain crossing Denge Marsh we climbed the largest incline on the route, which was the ramp over the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway Line at Lydd-On-Sea.
The sea was calm and there was little breeze but there was no sign of any sunshine. We travelled through Greatstone and Littlestone and then took the narrow sea wall towards the sluice at St. Mary’s Bay; however, the broad red sea wall path onwards was strewn with large pebbles, flotsam and jetsam. BriKav suffered a puncture which called for Plan B. So, we rode along the A259 through Dymchurch to the Light Railway Café at Hythe. Our return route took us along the quiet country lanes through Botolph’s Bridge, Newchurch, Ivychurch and Brenzett and we arrived back before the forecasted rain. We maintained a steady pace throughout our ride; however, where the recorded elevation gain came from is a mystery.
A distance of 45.1 miles at 14.6 mph average speed with elevation gain 375 feet.
Phil Harvey led the group of five riders on a route that looped around Bewl Water with a scheduled break at the Greedy Goat Café in Ticehurst. As promised by Phil, the route was nice and lumpy with climb up Knowle Road being the first of several ascents. Reaching the top of lane after Sparrow’s Hill, however, gave the group a splendid panoramic view of Bewl Water, as it glistened in the sunlight. The route included many shaded lanes through wooded valleys; however, after 24 miles it was time to take on refreshments. Phil had negotiated with the proprietor of the Café to stay open after midday to cater for our group, so we have the place all to ourselves. We headed back along the B2087 crossing the A21 at Flimwell on to the A268 to turn left on to Slip Mill Road just before Hawkhurst. Joining the A229, at Tubslake, we then turned left on to B2085 through Glassonbury. The route deviated to admire the architectural beauty of Blantyre House Prison before descending to the flat Weald. The faster main roads, with fewer potholes, on the return journey, enabled the group to maintain a steady pace.