A late September ride from Redhill focusses the mind on the close of the 2021 summer season. The all day rain forecast for Wednesday at the previous weekend had already come and gone, (somebody up there likes us), leaving us a bright cool day, with just a bout of cold rain at about 5pm. A few Wayfarers were missing: some falling recently to colds and other perils, and John B. who missed the ride due to a puncture on the way to Redhill. We heard later he was around to meet the A1 group for tea at Denbies.
A2's were Dave F., Abi, Ged, Sue, Neil C. and me.
We waited +5 mins in case John arrived, I again had an annoying start problem on my Garmin 830, then we were off, stopping for a brief visit to the old looking C of E church on the Redhill side of Outfield. Inside is a display of its own history, and a display of local history - archaeology shows people were in the area from 4000 years ago. The outside looks several 100s years old, so why is the interior redbrick? Well, it was build in 1867 with a classic design. Not sure what that would be called, mock-17C? retro?! As we passed other old mansions some guesses were "built in 2019"!
We rode the mix of minor roads with a few busy sections inbetween ok, passing thru Ashurst Wood village onto the small roads characteristic of Ashdown Forest. The trees were not as yellowed as I expected, the horse chestnut leaves are on their way, and the ferns were proper autumnal.
We did see great views. At the top of the Priory Road climb we turned right onto Legsheath Lane, the long downhill section to the Wier Wood Reservoir was a welcome change.
Next summer I hope we can do a longer ride of Ashdown Forest, with lunch at the Compass Inn Hartley, and take in the nearby AA Milne PsOI, with Kidd Hill's 23% section. The return from there is along Hindleap Lane, a high ridge with excellent views north towards London and Sevenoaks, continuing onto Legsheath Lane.
After the reservoir was a punchy climb to get to the Old Dunning Mill pub, our advance lunch orders were served with little delay, the outdoors seating area was very agreeable.
The return was free of big hills, we had a headwind, and some legs were spent as we got to Brockham so we had tea there. At Brockham Sue said she had been apprehensive in case the ride proved too long or fast, but she did well thoughout finishing strong. Abi was super cautious downhill, I think she is in her element uphill, sprinting ahead up some hill sections.
Thanks to Dave and Ged for handling backmarking on my group.
Thanks to Mike Reynell for leading the A1 group - Janice, Patrick, Mark G., Dave B., Dave W., Steve D.
I heard that Dave B. said somewhere on the minor forest roads 'I have absolutely no idea where we are' - sounds like appreciation for finding some good new country roads to ride 😊. Riders said they liked the new territory we covered, the extra effort of a Redhill start was rewarded.