Tuesday, 18 June 2013

18 Jun: Senior cyclists' ride in Thetford Forest (car-assisted)

Adrian writes: Seven riders, Vic S, John T, Bob B, Terry, Roger and Lesley B arrived at Santon Downham for today’s ride which would take us both on- and off-road through Thetford Forest and through the countryside north of Thetford.

The weather was sunny and warm with hardly any breeze, which was good for cycling but leading to lots of flies in the forest.

I was the leader today. We started off by going north out of village and just after the railway crossing turned right through gate for the first bit of off road parallel to the railway, stopping to read along the track to read the information board about the Roman church that use to in the nearby hamlet of Santon. We followed the track up to the busy A134, turning right and riding for about half a mile in single file didn’t cause any problems but were glad to turn off left down next traffic free track.

This led to tarmac road T junction at the north end of the village of Croxton where we went straight on until we reached the junction with the 'Harling Drove' and become a track to the right which we took, this is quite sandy which is tricky with some tyres but no casualties, this track carries on for some way crossing the A1075 before joining with the 'Peddars Way' just north of the railway and where it crosses the A11. We crossed the railway by the underpass but had to cross the duel carriage A11 by the carriageway, a bit hazardous! A 100 yards after crossing the A11 we turned left onto the path which goes into the Bridgham Heath picnic centre for morning coffee and something to eat at the burger van.

It had taken a little longer to get to coffee so I decided cut out an off road loop I was going to do before lunch.

We left the coffee stop by the path we came in on back to the 'Peddars Way' turned left till we reached the road to Bridgham, we followed this into the village turned north to the hamlet of Roudham with it's ruined church and carried on to the main road at Harling Road, turning left and over railway crossing we then turned right down track to come out opposite The Larling Angel pub which is on the old A11 where we were stopping for lunch. After a very nice lunch we went north-east along the old A11 which goes over the new A11 by a bridge from which we stopped briefly to watch the motor bikes racing round Snetterton Circuit, then followed the lanes through Snetterton South End and North End to a track that took us to the roundabout on the A11 at the southern end of the Attleborough bypass where a minor road heads north to Gt. Ellingham, we followed this road to the first turning left, Swangey Lane which carried on past Rockland All Saints churches (one used with a church hall in the churchyard and the other in ruins a few hundred yards away) to Stowlay Lane and the village of Stow Bedon and right on the A1075 for a short distance till we reached the bridleway on the left which was the trackbed of the old railway to Watton, although it was ridable it runs through swampy ground and was not in a good condition which is not how I remember it a few years ago when we used it.

We carried on down the old railway track to the 1st road bridge and turned west on the road till we met the 'Peddars Way' again and turned south to Stonebridge on the A1075, on reaching Stonebridge we rode down the cycle/foot path on the right had side which is route 13 and followed it back to the 'Harling Drove' junction (we turned at in the morning) and took the opposite direction (west) past 'New Buildings' and straight over at the A134 onto the track that leads to the lane going back to Santon Downham and the end of the ride.

It was gone 6.00pm when got back to the vehicles, but everybody seamed not to mind saying they had had a good time, thanks to all who came. Adrian Lee

Photos by Roger Bassenger

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