Another ten days passed before I was able to get out on the next section of the
I shall ignore the early section of the ride in this report, which was covered in detail last time. In truth I didn’t linger for any part of it, wanting instead to get to Shoreham as quickly as possible so that I could properly explore the onward section. The weather at the start of the ride was almost identical to the last time out, with a stiff breeze at my back (helping progress considerably!) and clear sunny conditions (although a fair amount of sea spray hampering distance views beyond Brighton from
At Shoreham I ignored the beach this time and crossed the footbridge once again. Most walkers tales describe the awful route along the A259 from here into Southwick but since I was on my bike once again I decided to try out the relatively new signposted route for bikes through Shoreham. This passed around the old
Believe it or not this is the first ‘proper’ lighthouse that I have come across on my travels along the
I continued along the coast road into Southwick and upon reaching
The port at Shoreham is still relatively busy, in comparison to the inactivity nowadays at Littlehampton and even at Newhaven (still to come). Aggregate traffic still uses the port and a couple of these ships were berthed not too far from the locks, which control the water level in the port. There are still quite a lot of fishing boats using the port as well as the inevitable pleasure craft. As a pedestrian it is quite difficult to get any good views of any but the closest ships, since most of the wharves are off limits and surrounded by some very tall metal fences.
On the spit I turned right initially to take another look at the mouth of the River Adur and the eastern breakwater. This is a great vantage point for views eastwards and
Eventually I reached Hove Lagoon after detouring round a few large houses on the seafront itself. These are owned by among others, Norman Cook (aka Fat Boy Slim), Nick Berry (once of Heartbeat and Eastenders) and Heather Mills. They guard their privacy quite closely (and who can blame them), with lots of ‘private’ signs up to make sure you don’t accidentally think their drive is part of the esplanade. The Esplanade is quite a surprise changing the coastline almost instantly from working port to pleasure coast. The promenade is wider than many roads but rather disappointingly this end is prohibited for cyclists, even though it is quieter than closer to
The lagoon was built in 1930, originally for sailing model boats but is now a watersports venue, especially for training on various pleasure craft including dinghies and windsurfs. Some of the shelters looked as if they could do with being refurbished, both around the lagoon and on the seafront. Maybe the presence of Heather Mills new café next door to the lagoon will attract some public finance as well as visitors to this far end of
On the way in towards Hove the seafront got generally busier and as well as the great long line of ubiquitous beach huts, other attractions such as small children’s rides etc started appearing. I passed the very shabby looking King Alfred Centre, supposedly due for replacement (although I’ve heard that for most of my adult life) and then on past the large blocks of flats that are unusually built on the south side of the coast road.
Once I had got beyond these Hove Lawns opened up ahead of me and were absolutely thronged with people playing all manner of ball games and exercising. Teams of people were doing circuit training and jogging activities and I watched with fascination at this spectacle, which I am pretty sure is unique in
At the end of the lawns my attention turned to architecture. Hove seafront is one of the grandest in
On the landward side many of the seafront apartments were glowing in the sun and against the dark skies behind looked absolutely stunning. They were a photographer’s dream, although my shot didn’t really do them justice, partly because of my vantage point on the wrong side of the road. As I headed more into the city I passed the wreckage of Brighton’s West Pier, once the finest pier in
On the landward side are the great monolithic hotels, the red coloured Metropole (where I have stayed, and very nice too!) and the more famous Grand, scene of one of the IRA’s greatest outrages when it was bombed in 1984, killing several prominent political figures and narrowly missing the Prime Minister, Mrs Thatcher, during the Conservative Party Conference.
Just past the Grand and I headed up