Edward writes: This morning started dull, oppressive and damp but there was no rain in the forecast and the temperature was a degree or so higher than previous days so no reason not to expect a good day out into the Essex and Suffolk border area for our trip out to Great Bardfield. In the event about a dozen riders assembled in Hauxton and included in this group was John J, with us for the first time and Robert who was making his second Thursday outing, and we extend a warm welcome to them both.
Not unexpectedly we left Hauxton via Little Shelford and Whittlesford, down to Duxford and the A505 and en route we were joined by Mike B. We went through Duxford via the factory area, over the railway and ford into Hinxton and then to Ickleton and the climb up to Coploe Hill for our regular regrouping spot in the lay-by at the highest point.
We left the lay-by to enjoy the rapid downhill but this time we didn’t go through to Catmere End but instead turned left to go past the bluebell woods (wrong time of the year) and down into Littlebury. Unfortunately John J had a puncture and also Clair developed a problem (possibly a slow puncture) with her bike. Therefore, we split into two groups with the advanced party heading off to the coffee stop and the remainder following on behind. Wimbish isn't a good place to get to for an 11 am coffee stop using quiet roads so we went through Littlebury and entered Saffron Walden via Windmill Hill and out again via Radwinter Road with its climb up to Sewards End. That put the worst of the journey behind us and, more or less, we were on pleasant country roads for the rest of the day. Eventually we all arrived at the Elder Street Farm Shop in Wimbish and this proved to be another very good venue and, as Rupert suggested, may be a possibility as a lunch stop for the winter rides.
At about 11.50am we set off again, this time without Clair and Mike B who returned home, but with the addition of four or five others who had made their way independently to Wimbish giving us about seventeen in total. From the coffee stop it was downhill to the Debden turning and then uphill into Debden, followed by Debden Green where we turned to head for Henham, but turning off for Broxted.
This gave us a very pleasantly rural couple of miles before meeting the Thaxted Road where we turned right to bring us into Broxted and the road into Tilty, another narrow and delightful country lane. We notice of course at this time of year how rapidly the farmers change the fields around from harvesting to preparation for next year’s crop. This brought us to the B184 for a short run before turning into Little Cambridge and then Lindsell and the final three miles into Great Bardfield and a very welcome lunch break at the Blue Egg.
Although it was 1.20pm when we all arrived service was fairly quick and we were able to leave about an hour later to go back into Great Bardfield followed by the chocolate box village of Finchingfield and the turning and long cross-country stretch to Helions Bumpstead. Along here David Ms was unlucky enough to get a puncture but it didn’t take long for it to be fixed and get under way again. After Helions next up was Castle Camps, where Jacob left us, and a little detour by way of Nosterfield End, Mill Green and Cardinal’s Green before pushing our bikes over the treacherous A1307 to bring us into Horseheath.
We were nearly home now and it just left Balsham, where Rupert, John F and David Ms left us to go into Cambridge via Fulbourn and the remainder of us made for home via Hildersham, Great Abington, over the farm track and an incredibly noisy A11, into Babraham, Sawston and Great Shelford. This gave a ride of 62 miles in what turned out to be a very pleasant riding day. Edward Elmer
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