Edward writes: This Thursday we didn't meet at Greta's house but, because of road resurfacing, we started today's ride at the village green in Hauxton. The weather had been good all week and today, although rarely sunny, was always warm and very little wind, so all you need for a good ride, and this one certainly was. Today, Richard B was in charge for our excursion into Hertfordshire and the Lordship Arms at Benington. No doubt the good weather was responsible for the turnout with eighteen riders leaving Hauxton in two groups.
We left Hauxton and in Little Shelford we turned right to take us though Newton and followed this with the two miles out to Fowlmere and we were soon riding past the bird reserve just outside the village and then into Melbourn.
This soon brought us to Meldreth, Bassingbourn, Litlington, Steeple Morden and Ashwell for our first break of the day. Coffee was at Day’s where we overwhelmed the staff a little but they coped very well with all our requests and we took our drinks and cakes to the little green and its new tree. This was all very nice and another group sat in the little public garden which was looking stunning as, in fact, were many of the gardens that we passed today; after all the grumbles about the weather maybe it’s been just right for the gardens. In Ashwell we were joined, for coffee at least, by Vic (always good to see him out), Doug and Mike S. This gave us twenty one cyclists although after coffee a number returned home leaving about fourteen to carry on to Benington.
From Ashwell and all the way to Benington we followed lovely country lanes looking almost at their best, if only the local authorities would leave the grass verges alone at let the wildlife flourish. We climbed out of Ashwell and down to the A505 and, heading south, we had the benefit of the following breeze and cycling was very pleasant in an almost ideal temperature. We travelled through the likes of Sandon, Wallington and Cromer before reaching Walkern and finally a last little climb up to Benington and the Lordship Arms where we arrived at 12.45 and 33 miles to the good.
We all enjoyed a light lunch out in the garden and at 2pm we set off again still going south to Whempstead which was our most southerly point before turning north to Dane End, Great Munden, Westmill, Aspenden and finally Buntingford.
This was a really nice section of the ride with much to admire in people's gardens and of course the changing countryside which has now lost the vivid yellow as the oilseed rape flower fades away. In Buntingford we stopped briefly to admire the topiary on the yew hedge.
We now started another fine section of the road which took us to Wyddial and then on to Anstey. This gave us an opportunity to look at the stained-glass window in the church. A week or two back a lady we met in Newport told us about this window which is a memorial to the American airmen of the 398th Bomb Group based at Nuthampstead during World War II. It’s a fine tribute with the names of the casualties written onto the wings of butterflies - well worth a visit.
Anstey (more photos below)
It was fitting that our next village was Nuthampstead where four riders stopped for tea at The Woodman, leaving eight to push on for home. This took us through Shaftenhoe End and Barley and, remarkably, the Flying Fortress from Duxford flew overhead which seemed somehow fitting. This just left us with the run down to Flint Cross, Fowlmere and finally Hauxton where the ride ended with 64 miles to our credit. This was a superb ride, right out of the top drawer, and a big thank you to Richard for a well thought-out route. Edward Elmer
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More photos of Anstey Church by David Marsh: