Category Archives: Surrey and Sussex

245. London to Brighton, and back

Well, almost. London to Brighton to Guildford, anyway.

wey and arun canal near billingshurst west sussex england by roadsofstoneTravelling home with the bike on the car roof was a comfortable way to rest weary legs after the London to Brighton Bike Ride. And then, somewhere along the bleak A23 south of Crawley, I saw them.

Lone cylists, still carrying their London to Brighton numbers, pedalling along the bleak dual carriageway and working their way through the late afternoon across Sussex. Heading north and back to London.

The idea was born — to complete the 54 miles of the London to Brighton Bike Ride, and then glide (or limp) home to Guildford afterwards. That would make a long day’s ride of perhaps 100 miles in all.

And the last four years, I’ve done that — although on different routes each time.
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238. Guildford is Olympic – torch relay 2012

The Olympic torch is coming to Guildford in 2012 as its last stop before London.

stoke park london road gate guildford england by roadsofstoneThe grass running track in Stoke Park was laid out again recently. It’s from here in Guildford that the Olympic torch will begin the the final leg of its journey into London for the 2012 games.

There’ll be an evening celebration in Stoke Park on Friday, 20th July next year.
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228. Twin peaks in the Surrey Hills – two classic cycle climbs to Winterfold Heath

barhatch lane climb mid section cranleigh surrey england by roadsofstoneOver the summer I’ve discovered two more tough ascents in the Surrey Hills.

Both lead through the woods up to Winterfold Heath, deep in the Hurtwood Forest set high above Cranleigh.

footpath in winterfold forest roman road cranleigh surrey england by roadsofstoneThe Hurtwood is one of the largest privately owned estates in Surrey.

Mercifully, most of it is accessible on a dense network of footpaths, one of which is an ancient Roman road.

Maps below:
Alderbrook Road (A to B); Barhatch Lane (D to C)
barhatch lane alderbrook road climbs cranleigh surrey england google maps satellite view barhatch lane alderbrook road climbs cranleigh surrey england streetmap co uk

The two ascents are different.
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225. Running on Roman Road 2 – from Stane Street to Guildford

stane street roman road slinfold sussex by roadsofstoneIt’s late on a summer’s evening and I’m cycling homeward along one of the most beautiful country roads in England.

This morning’s London to Brighton bike ride is well behind me now and I’m rolling towards the sunset on the longest day of the year.

Eighty miles are in my legs by the time I pass the pretty Saxon village of Slinfold, with twenty more ahead to Guildford.

Beyond the church, I slowly climb a steady rise and turn right onto the main A29. One of my favourite cycling stretches, this — perfect blacktop, arrow straight, and for now at least, heading gently downhill towards the river.

This is Stane Street — the Roman road from Chichester to London. Built in the 1st Century AD, it’s more than good enough for me now. I pause to eat and think at the bridge across the Arun. Here, inside the meander of the river, the Romans built a staging post or mansio.
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223. Cycling on Surrey and Sussex hills – from White Down to Ditchling Beacon

climbing ditchling beacon london to brighton bike ride sussex england by roadsofstoneDitchling Beacon is the high point of the London to Brighton Bike Ride each year, in lots more ways than one.

A whole year of training is finally distilled into one breathless blur of uphill climb.

cycling ditchling beacon london to brighton bike ride sussex england by roadsofstoneAnd no matter how many hills I’ve toiled all winter, it never seems that success on Ditchling is guaranteed — because it’s the toughest ascent I do.

Here’s a map and a profile of the hill, and a comparison with White Down, the steepest climb in the Surrey Hills close to where I live, and the last training test I do before setting off to Brighton each year.
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214. Three years of Roads of Stone

past and present high street rye east sussex england by roadsofstoneThings have been slow around here, for a little while now, and in more ways than one.

I’ve had less time for running, and less still for writing. I’ve been unfit, distracted and slow.

And yet — there’s been real progress, too, hidden not far beneath the surface.

Our 95,000 visitors this year may have found only 22 new posts to read, but it’s been a momentous year of change, both in London and abroad.

the old mill horsham sussex england by acirfa virtual tourist comThe great crash formed the backdrop to the year, but it was in America that destiny was decided.

A changing political landscape marked the 2008 US election and the new opportunities that brings, for America and the whole world beyond.
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209. A dragon slain on Doomsday – Horsham 10 km

dragon in horsham park maze west sussex england by captain tarmac flickrDragons used to roam in St Leonard’s Forest, or so the local legend goes. Today it’s only runners, and me amongst them, burning with limbs afire in the 25th running of the Horsham 10 km.

We’re on my regular lunchtime route, or at least the tricky part of it, where the Lower Cretaceous clays of the lush Arun Valley rise eastwards towards the sandstone plateau of the forest.

horsham 10 km 2009 at horsham rugby club sussex england by roadsofstoneWe gather on Horsham Rugby Club’s playing fields in bright spring sunshine, and when the siren goes we head off dutifully around the touchline of the first team pitch.
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