Gazette Articles

Gravelling with John Diamond

John promised an interesting route from Farthing Downs Car Park to Eridge near Tunbridge Wells. The claim that the route was mostly downhill or flat so the sceptic in me was of course awakend but it was true (if you ignore the climb up to Farthing Downs Carpark).

The trail was actually quite pretty and included Hextalls Lane at the bottom of Hilltop (we usually fly past this one on our way down the hill across the M25 bridge). This track was typical of the whole route, mostly dry, hardpacked mud with some gravel.

Mostly hard packed mud

We reached the Worth Way after some more interesting tracks around Hedgecourt Lake.

Hedgecourt Lake is an ancient mill pond resulting from the damming of the upper Eden Brook. At about 800m long, it is the largest body of semi-natural open water in east Surrey. There is an interesting wildlife reserve here although there is no parking should you choose to visit.

We eventually joined the Worth Way before cycling through East Grinstead to the Forest Way. This is where a bit of slog kicked in until we reached Pooh Corner.

Surprisingly the owner/manager at Pooh Corner was not very friendly, there was no space indoors so she offered us outdoor seating before commenting that they no longer allow bikes in the garden and also as a group of 6, we had to pay together. This had the effect of making us get up and go to the Anchor Inn where we received the warm welcome that we hoped for.

The last leg to Eridge Station was only about 5 miles so we leisurely sauntered there in good time for the train back home.

Eridge Station is also on the Spa Valley heritage line which operates throughout the year but mainly from April 1st onwards. A good option for a bike ride plus a cream tea on the train in the summer.

There was a sad twist to this tale. Myself and Alan managed to contract covid while sitting in the pub. Perhaps we would have been better off freezing outside a miserable Pooh Corner after all…