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If you enjoy undulating country lanes passing through the most peaceful and idyllic countryside the Weald can offer, then this ride by Nick Marks is for you. Do it this weekend and you’ll catch the last of the daffodils; leave it a month and you’ll see the best of the bluebells.
1 - Take the train to Haywards Heath. When you come out of the station, turn right, go up over the roundabout and take the second exit, following the signs to Lindfield. Pass the picturesque village pond, then turn right at the butcher’s and follow the road south until you reach East Mascalls Lane.
2 - Follow the lane along past Great Walstead School, then up through East Mascalls Farm. The road bends round to the right through quiet woodland and heads east. This is where the ride takes on its own character.
As you continue east towards East Sussex the road starts to rise and fall: the climbs are no longer than a minute, and straight, so you can see the tops, while the descents are wonderful freewheels you can really savour.
If you are in the mood to push yourself then you can treat the climbs as mini sprints, with the descents the perfect length for the recovery. If you are simply out to see the scenery, then the little climbs will not get in your way.
3 - Pass under the railway line, then cross over the next road you get to, continuing down Ketche’s Lane for another three miles. Look out for the oast houses, a beautifully restored gypsy caravan, and woodland that will soon be thick with bluebells.
Then you reach the immaculate and idyllic village green at Splaynes Green.
4 - Go straight on along Daleham Lane, and ponder the relationship between the carefully preserved, solid reassurance of the lovely old houses along the route, and the rather crass ostentation of the Porsches that invariably sit in front.
5 - When you reach the junction with Down Street, turn right and follow the road all the way down to the A272. No need to join the cars, though; just cross straight over and continue on Down Street, which soon becomes Golf Club Lane.
The road climbs up through woodland on Buckham Hill, then turns to the right as you start to head down to Lewes.
As you enter Isfield look out for the old train station, one end of the Lavender Line, a stretch of railway track run and maintained by enthusiasts, and kept in impeccable order. Just after you leave the village you pass Isfield Mill, which is also well worth a look.
6 - Isfield Road unfortunately leads you on to the A26, which you have to follow for a while until you can turn off right towards Barcombe.
Then take the first left down Wellingham Lane, winding down between the fields until you reach the A26 again.
It can be a bit nerve-racking to be on such a fast road, but it is wide, and the visibility for drivers is good, so you are safer here than on a twisting country lane: don’t panic.
7 - The last descent of the ride is a nice downhill swoop into Lewes. Cross over at the big roundabout and follow the road past the Harvey’s brewery, then round to the left and through the bottom of the town.
Go past Waitrose, then carry straight on until you reach Station Road. Turn left and go over the railway bridge to the station, where this ride ends.
* Distance/Time: 19.5 miles/three hours at a relaxing pace.
* Difficulty: Easy.
* Your bike: Any bike, but I’d recommend smooth tyres.
* Thirsty work: Nothing much along the route, but there are plenty of nice pubs in Lewes.
* So you don’t get lost: Print off the route map from here: www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=4349622.
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