Sunday, 22 June 2014

22 Jun: All-day ride to Wimbish, Hatfield Forest and Braughing

Nigel writes: The day after the summer solstice was a fine summer's day, dry and warm and sunny all day with a light breeze to prevent it becoming uncomfortably hot at any time. There were seven riders at Brookside for today's all-day ride: Mike CC, John, Klaas, Lynn, Rupert, Martin, Conrad and me, with Conrad taking the lead. We set off south out of Cambridge along the busway to Addenbrooke's where we joined the DNA path to Great Shelford.

Departing Cambridge along the busway

From Great Shelford we continued in familar fashion to Little Shelford and then south through Whittlesford and Duxford to Ickleton. We climbed Coploe Hill to Catmere End and then dropped down along Chestnut Avenue to Audley End House.

Coploe Hill

We rode past Audley End into Saffron Walden and then quickly left the town along the road to Debden. A few miles later we arrived at Wimbish where we stopped for coffee at the Elder Street Farm Shop Cafe.

Elder Street Farm Shop Cafe

At the cafe we found David, Adrian, Malcolm and Mick and were joined a little later by Edward. After a pleasant half hour sitting outside, trying not to get too hot in the sunshine, we set off on our way once more, with Rupert leaving the group and David and Malcolm joining.

We retraced our steps to the Denham road and then continued south through Debden and Henham to Molehill Green on the northern edge of Stansted Airport. From here we followed the road that leads round the edge of the airport to Takely. The airport itself was hidden behind trees, with only the continual progression of EasyJet and Ryanair aircraft overhead betraying the existence of a major airport close by.

When we reached Takely Conrad led us onto the Flitch Way. We followed this west for a short distance before leaving it to turn south into Hatfield Forest.

Flitch Way

We rode into the Hatfield Forest park and where stopped for lunch. Several of us had brought sandwiches whilst others bought food from the kiosk. Most of the group sat at a large table in the shade at the back of the cafe whilst I preferred to sit on the grass nearby.

Hatfield Forest

After lunch we left the forest and rode west through Little Halingbury, Sawbridgeworth and Green Tye to Much Hadham. We crossed the River Ash at the ford, some of us using the footbridge and others splashing through the water.

David and Klaas in Much Hadham Ford

Mike and John in Much Hadham Ford

A warm midsummer day

A few miles further west we reached Barwick, which boasts a particularly wide and impressive ford through the River Rib. Again some of us used the footbridge whilst others braved the waters.

Mike in Barwick Ford

Klaas in Barwick Ford

From here we headed north to Standon and Puckeridge and a few minutes later arrived in Braughing, where we stopped for tea in the Church Hall. The club visits quite a few volunteer-run village tea places but this has long been one of our favourite, with a fine range of cakes served with hearty mugs of tea at very reasonable prices.

A few minutes later we were joined by John F and the afternoon ride, which today consisted of about half a dozen riders.

Tea in Braughing Church Hall

After tea we all set off towards Cambridge.

The all-day and afternoon rides prepare to depart after tea at Braughing

Our two groups rode together to Furneaux Pelham and on through Berden to Clavering. There we divided into our constituent groups once more, with John taking his group to Catmere End and over Coploe Hill (where we had been in the morning), and Conrad leading us on a more westerly route to via Langley, Elmdon, Chrishall Grange and Fowlmere.

On the way home

After last week's fast-paced "longer" ride, today's ride had been conducted at a satisfying but more moderate pace, so I was still going strong when I arrived home at 7.10pm, having cycled an excellent 91 miles.

View this GPS track on a larger map. Download GPS track (GPX).

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