Mike C was today's leader for our ride out to Ashwell and then on to Ardley Farm which lies midway between Stevenage and Bishop's Stortford.
With so many riders we had to divide into two groups which started with a climb over Chapel Hill into Barrington and so nice to appreciate the views under sunny skies.
Chapel Hill, Haslingfield
After Barrington came Shepreth and Meldreth and the longish climb up to Kneesworth, and this was all very pleasant as we appreciated a ride without a constant battering from the winds.
Between Meldreth and Kneesworth
Between Meldreth and Kneesworth
Kneesworth cum Bassingbourn
With Mike at the helm it would only be natural for a loop round Abington Piggots to take us to Litlington and another gentle climb as we approached Steeple Morden. This really felt like a Spring day with many daffodils lining the grass verges and now of course we are starting to see the appearance of celandines. Also very evident is to observe how far advanced the winter sowing of wheat has become, now standing almost a foot high.
After leaving Steeple Morden we arrived in Ashwell and left Day's bakery to cope with this huge influx of cyclists wanting coffee. Most sat outside on the green whilst others sat in the little village garden and all enjoyed the warmth of the Spring sunshine.
After coffee we made our way out of Ashwell on the very nice undulating road which leads down to the A505. Once over this road we now travelled almost due south towards Rushden and then Cromer again on narrow hedge-lined lanes.
As we arrived Cromer we branched eastwards and went past the windmill which seemed to be under maintenance. Shortly after passing the windmill we soon found ourselves approaching Ardley Farm and our lunch stop.
The farm was very busy as we are now into the first week of the school holidays but those who had lunch didn't have an undue wait to receive their food. Once again it was very pleasant sitting outside and enjoying the sun.
Church Farm, Ardeley (Photo: Belinda Borneo)
Shortly after 1.30pm we started our journey again by going through the tiny villages of Moor Green and Wood End and eastward to Great Munden. It was only a few weeks back we did this stretch from Great Munden and then it was against the wind and always climbing. Today was in total contrast as the wind was more or less behind us and of course going downhill, thus being a much more pleasant experience.
Now heading north we passed through Nasty, Westmill and Aspenden and on to Buntingford. After Buntingford we climbed up to Wyddial and on the other side of the village we came to the B1368.
We now headed towards Nuthampstead by going by Anstey quarry and soon after we encountered David W who had cycled out to meet us and to join us for the ride into Shaftenhoe End and on to Great Chishill. It's nice to note that the appalling fly tip that had been dumped by the road had now been removed. We finished the ride through Heydon and a final flourish down to Chrishall Grange, over the A505, Fowlmere,Thriplow and Newton where a group of eight went on to Haslingfield and a small group returning to Great Shelford. This was a journey of 56 miles and especially enjoyable thanks to some welcome benevolent weather and Mike's skills, and this combined to give us all a splendid day out. Edward Elmer
Download GPS track (GPX).