Thursday, 11 September 2014

11 Sep: Thursday ride Ashwell and Benington

Edward writes: This Thursday it was something of a surprise to arrive at Haslingfield Green to find nineteen riders as quite a number of regulars were away cycling in Derbyshire. This of course was good news, but even better news was the reappearance of Peter W who was to go on and enjoy a full day's ride. Our leader today for our ride out to Ashwell and Benington was Belinda who was making her debut for the Thursday ride, but this didn’t stop her starting the ride with a climb up Chapel Hill into Barrington. The weather, incidentally, was overcast following early morning temperatures of about 7 centigrade, so quite cool compared to recent days. The wind was barely discernible, probably north easterly in direction.

When we topped Chapel Hill the usual view was a little obscured by the misty conditions. We passed through Barrington and as we arrived in Shepreth we were briefly held at the level crossing for a passing First Capital Connect train - on the last week before they lose their franchise.


We negotiated our way through Meldreth, busy with the refuse collection, and headed up to Kneesworth and Bassingbourn. Rather than go straight through to Litlington we veered off at the church and did the loop round Abington Piggots and then came back to Litlington leaving the climb up to Steeple Morden and then coffee at the bakery in Ashwell.

As usual when the weather is dry it’s always nice to sit out under the tree; the little cottage garden was unavailable to us as the volunteers were doing their autumn clear up cutting back all the plants that had flowered during the summer. After coffee only five returned home leaving fourteen to head for Benington and our lunch stop.


On leaving Ashwell we did the big climb out of the village and headed out to the A505 which was very busy and very fast as our crossing point is in the bottom of a dip.

South of Ashwell towards the A505

Nevertheless we all got over safely and we passed alongside fields which, having been harvested, are now in the process of being prepared for a new season. This took us us through the villages of Redhill and Rushden where we crossed over the A507 and now we were in very narrow lanes as we turned to go through Luffenham and then on to Walkern.


After leaving this village we took the track past Walkern Hall, thus bringing us out in Benington and the Lordship Arms for lunch just before 1 pm and 29 miles.


We all sat outside in the garden and as we waited for the food to arrive it felt a little cool especially as a bit of a breeze had sprung up and there was no sign of the sun. Those who had beer with their lunch were able to choose from a fine selection of real ales and when the food arrived it too was all very pleasant and adequate for cycling.

After lunch Mike CC and John J left us to make their own way home and the remaining twelve left Benington and made for Whempstead followed by Dane End. Now we were facing north and the slight breeze and the hills required a lot more effort than the morning session. However, we still made good progress to pass through Great Munden and Nasty, both rural villages with many old cottages.

Towards Great Munden

After Cherry Green we came to Aspenden and then back to urban life as we entered Buntingford and went along the path where the topiarist has cut animal shapes into the yew hedge, but sadly on this occasion they were badly in need of a trim.


Now back onto rural roads we went through Wyddial followed by a couple of miles on the B1368 to Barkway where we turned off through Shaftenhoe End and back to the B1368 at Barley. This left us with the downhill to Flint Cross and another crossing of the A505 and two more miles into Fowlmere followed by Newton where the ride effectively ended with Belinda taking about half the group back to Haslingfield and the remainder to head for home through Great Shelford. Our thanks to Belinda on a very successful first outing as leader and all those who came out enjoyed a very pleasant ride covering a regulation 57 miles finishing at 4.30 pm. Edward Elmer

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

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