Thursday, 2 October 2014

2 Oct: Thursday ride to Horseheath and Kentford

Edward writes: Possibly the last ride in the glorious weather we've had since the beginning of September, as the forecast for the next few days reckons we are in for a change to more seasonal weather. So it was that seventeen members, including Yasmin making her first Thursday ride, assembled in Hauxton for a ride out into the Suffolk countryside pausing in Horseheath for coffee and the Animal Health Trust in Kentford for lunch, with Jacob as our leader.

Whittlesford

Although we left Hauxton and on to Whittlesford, instead of using the cycleway over to Sawston, we went on a little further and joined a bridleway adjacent to the recreation ground which took us over the railway and the Sawston bypass eventually bringing us to the south end of Sawston close to the Pampisford turning. After going through Pampisford we came to the still new cycleway alongside the busy and very noisy A505 which took us to the science park in Great Abington.

Great Abington

We managed to get over the A1307, also very busy, and down into Hildersham and Linton for a return crossing of the A1307. Just over this road we headed for Bartlow but Stuart had the first of the day's three punctures and about seven us of stayed with him to help out while the leading group, unaware of the problem, continued on their way. Once on our way again we sent through Bartlow and began the climb up towards Castle Camps but before getting there we branched off to Shudy Camps. This of course took us through Shudy Camps and the following two hamlets of Mill Green and Cardinal's Green and finally a third crossing of the A1307 to bring us into Horseheath.

Shudy Camps

Horseheath means the Old Red Lion which for a long time now has been one of favourite coffee stops and today, despite the large number, they again excelled with individual coffees and a selection of biscuits and cakes - such a pleasure to come here. Although we started with seventeen there must have been twenty four of five, with the new arrivals, for coffee. By now the sun was making an appearance, burning off the slight morning mist, and it was very pleasant sitting outside on the terrace.

Horseheath

Of course we had to move on and Jacob led us away to West Wickham and a crossing of Wratting Common up to Carlton and then Great Bradley where we had a second puncture with Stuart again being the unlucky one. We all knew of this puncture and we waited in the village for it to be fixed and get underway again, but it wasn't long before the third and final puncture of the day happened and I was unlucky one this time. We were not able to alert the lead group and when we started again we had become a group of fourteen and so we made our own way through Kirtling and Saxon Street.

Great Bradley

It appears the lead group in Kirtling turned for Upend and Ashley, whereas our group went from Saxon Street to Cheveley, before we both came to Moulton. So in the end we ran more or less parallel to each other and from Moulton it was only about two more miles to our lunch stop in Kentford.

Kirtling

Our staggered arrival was probably a help to the staff in dealing with all of our orders and once again it was really nice sitting out in the courtyard enjoying the still warm sun and it was noticeable that there was barely a breath of wind to rustle the surrounding trees.

Animal Health Trust, Kentford

Animal Health Trust, Kentford

After lunch we went down the B1506 for about half a mile to enable us to cross the railway the A14 and A11 in quick succession, thus taking us through Kennett and on to Chippenham. This was an uncomfortable ride with many heavy vehicles vying with about twenty cyclists for the same limited space on a twisting road. As we approached Chippenham it was a relief to leave the road and take an off-road route around Chippenham Park which brought us on to the road to Snailwell. With the nice weather this has been an opportunity for the farmers to get ahead preparing the fields for next years's crops and in some cases we can already see new growth; many fields were occupied by heavy farm equipment busy at work as we witness another change in the farming year.

Snailwell

After Snailwell we came to another very busy road, the A142 which runs between Newmarket, Soham and Ely, and it took us some time to cross but eventually a truck driver took pity on us and allowed us to cross. Now we were in Exning and another favourite off-road diversion to take us to Heath Road and on to Burwell. The weather was still nice and there was no appetite for a more direct route home so we went on to Reach where we joined the Lodes Way which was very pleasant as we rode through a typically flat fenland scene finally coming out in Lode.

Lodes Way

Our journey was nearly over as we went into Bottisham so that we could join the cycleway along the A1303, past Quy, down Airport way, Cherry Hinton, the DNA path from Addenbrooke's and into Great Shelford. This left Craig, Martin, Sharon, Belinda, Andy and Sarah to ride back to Hauxton where they would have cycled 67 miles. If this was summer's swansong it was certainly a nice way to finish with a most enjoyable ride through the lovely Suffolk countryside and a special thanks to Jacob for giving us such an enjoyable day. Edward Elmer



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