On Monday, it was my day off. My older son (just back from university for Easter) and I set out on our bikes. We went down to the sea-front, along the eastern arm of Shoreham Harbour and crossed at the lock gates. At Shoreham, we turned up the old railway line, now a trackway, and cycled along the river bank to Bramber. Then through Upper Beeding, Edburton, Fulking and Poynings, where we had lunch at Rushfields Garden Centre and stocked up on supplies at their farm shop. Then we toiled up Devil’s Dyke and then coasted down back into Hove, barely having to pedal.
It was a dull day but mostly dry. These little Sussex villages are so pretty and the countryside is just super, breath-takingly beautiful. We really enjoyed our ride. One of the things I love about cycling is that if you want to stop and look at something, you can. You don’t have to find a parking space. The freedom is half the exhilaration. Physical achievement and going fast down a long hill combines for the other half.
Most of Sussex is covered by licences to explore for oil and gas through fracking. I know that the landscape is already post-industrial (it used to be covered by trees – hence “Weald” from the Saxon for wood – which were cut down for ship-building, construction, iron-smelting and cleared for agriculture). However, I think that it would be a crime and a sin to turn this beautiful countryside into a gas field – not to mention the harm that would do to the environment at large by burning all that gas and by the extra road traffic on the little winding lanes. It seems a bit simplistic, maybe even sentimental, but is the beauty of the earth the best reason to look after it?
Talking of sentimental, I took some pictures and put them into a film. It’s a bit rough and ready, but I enjoyed putting it together and I hope you’ll enjoy watching and listening. One day I might part with some money to upgrade this blog so that I can embed video. For now, you’ll have to click this link.