Chelmsford YHA Group


The Monthly Newsletter of Chelmsford YHA Local Group

December 2014

Cycling the South Downs

Jim spent ages looking for a good place for a cycling weekend before he found the Cuckoo Trail. This trail links Heathfield and Hailsham to Eastbourne Park and because it is a former railway line it’s pretty level. The obvious place to stay is Eastbourne hostel, a favourite from a couple of year’s back, but positioned high on the chalk ridge over the town. On Saturday morning this gave the cyclists a speedy start to our ride, but promised a sting in the tail for later in the day.

The ride through Eastbourne to get to the start of the trail was a bit trying. There was a cycle path of sorts most of the way, but it was navigationally challenging at times. Eventually we emerged on the far side of the town, pedalling along a pleasant riverside path to join the trail at Polegate. To get over the trauma of working our way out of Eastbourne we almost immediately stopped for morning coffee and a reviving piece of cake.

Now we were on the trail proper, the going was pretty easy - it was a good surface and the only hills were for road crossings. A good few miles were covered before our lunch on one of the many benches by the side of the path. Being a railway line the route was lined with trees, which made an October ride suitably autumnal.

The far end of the trail was our halfway point, so we celebrated with another round of coffee and cakes at the old station at Heathfield. It had been pretty hard work getting this far, but at least on the way back it was mostly downhill. At least it was until that last punishing uphill to the hostel. Only Dave, Jim & Tom truly pedalled all the way to the top, but we were all rewarded by a fabulous bolognaise, courtesy of Robin and Sarah.

The walkers also deserve a mention: John and Caroline took on the undulations of Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters and made it back to the hostel before us.

After that last hill up to the hostel, there weren’t any takers for a bike ride on Sunday, so the groups joined forces for walk over to Jevington. It was a wonderful Autumn break.


See a short video of our ride on the Cuckoo Trail.


Report from the AGM

Nineteen members attended the Annual General Meeting on 22nd October.   The full minutes are available from the secretary, Dave Julian.  Here’s a short summary:

Dave Julian gave the Secretary’s Report which noted that membership had increased from 55 to 56, including 2 new members and 3 old members re-joining.

Jim Dixon presented the Chairman’s Report and ran through the year’s trips with particular mention for Berlin, Easter in the Lakes and Darsham. He also noted some other events such as the midnight moon walk, anatomical walk, Flitch Way cycle ride and numerous other Sunday walks, Wednesday meals and slideshows. He thanked Dave Plummer for all he does, Cress for her contributions (especially Berlin) and all other walk leaders and event organisers.

Dave Plummer delivered the Treasurer’s Report which showed consistent subscriptions and a surplus greater than last  year. The surplus arose due to well supported Easter and Darsham trips which more than financed losses on a few other trips. No increase in subscriptions is proposed. Post costs are expected to fall as some members opt to receive their newsletters by e-mail. Dave pointed out that our reserves are needed to ensure funds are available to finance future trips in advance. He also advised that 550 sausages were consumed.

Election of the committee: Helen wished to stand down, but the remainder of the committee were willing to take stay on, and were re-elected en bloc.

Jim Dixon stood down as chairman but remained on the committee to be replaced as chairman by Mike Patton.

Other business included a discussion of online advertising, the ageing membership, and promoting health and safety.

Please send any comments on these pages to Dave Plummer