Thursday, 20 October 2011

20 Oct: Thursday ride to Saffron Walden and Puckeridge

Edward writes: Today was gloriously sunny, although cold early on, and importantly very little wind, and this encouraged another large turnout when we met at Greta's house in Hauxton. Maybe this would be the last opportunity for an invigorating ride in good conditions before winter and the shorter days are upon us. This large group set off towards Whittlesford where we were joined by Mike B and then on to Duxford after negotiating the A505. After Duxford we rode to Ickleton and up Coploe Hill where we stopped to regroup. The views over the field under the strong sunlight were very special and what little wind there was blew a little harder here and reminded us that it was still a cold day.

Coploe Hill

Catmere End

On our way again we climbed to Catmere End followed by the long descent down Chestnut Avenue and its suffering trees to the A1383 before turning past Audley End Mansion and on to Saffron Walden for our break. Quite a few of us sat outside on the patio sheltered from any wind and felt warm in the sun. The group at this point had grown to 18 as Bob B had now joined us.

After coffee we left Saffron Walden and headed towards Debden but not actually reaching the village as we turned right and made our way to Widdington. Unfortunately two or three of the leading riders went on to Debden and had to be retrieved by Mike whilst the main group carried on. After Widdington we descended to the road running beside the M11 and turned right to head towards Ugley and the A1383 which we travelled along for about 400 metres before taking the turning to Rickling Green and Rickling where Rupert and Eva left us. We then climbed up to Berden followed by the Pelhams and the long run down to Braughing through particularly rural and sunlit countryside. We arrived at our lunch stop in Puckeridge just after 1pm having covered 37 miles. We were soon joined by Mike and the others and we were at full strength again.

Lunch stop

The Crown and Falcon is a very pleasant stop with good food and very friendly service and we finally left at 2.20 pm. After lunch the group took on a very different complexion with only five riders taking the official route home and the others having to be home early or wishing to go off-road. The remaining five went out of Puckeridge and into the village of Standon, followed by a short but stiff climb to Wellpond Green and through wonderful country lanes before reaching Little Hadham and crossing the A120, the crossing where you are advised to expect a long wait! We got across and shortly after we turned right to make for Upwick Green. Although just outside Bishop's Stortford and close to Stansted Airport we felt as if we were in the depth of the country cycling in narrow lanes and it was extremely pleasant. We then rode through Farnham and onto Munuden where we all did a little scrumping as we found a walnut tree with plenty to glean.

Scrumping

After gathering as many as we could we set off again going through Clavering. Just before Clavering Malcolm left us as he needed a shorter route home so as to get there before dark. We then followed a familiar route home via Langley Upper Green where the road bisects the cricket field. Fielders on the boundary have the road between them and the wicket so it's as well these are quiet country lanes. After Langley it was Duddenhoe End followed by a fast descent and a slow climb up to Elmdon. After this it was all downhill, going through Chrisall Grange, Duxford, over the A505 and back to Hauxton at 5.10pm with a total distance of 67 miles. Edward Elmer


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