Thursday, 18 February 2016

18 Feb: Thursday ride (village start) to Saffron Walden and Dullingham

Edward writes: All week, even up to last night, the weather forecast had predicted rain or snow until well into the morning. Not a bit of it; true, there had been plenty of overnight rain but after a cloudy start it was sunshine all the way. So, at Hauxton thirteen gathered (and nine at Brookside) for today’s ride out to Saffron Walden and Dullingham for lunch. The original plan had been to have lunch at the Chestnut Tree in West Wratting but because of a kitchen refurbishment we had to rearrange the ride.

(Read Mike P's report of the parallel ride from Brookside to the same destinations: Thursday ride (city start) to Saffron Walden and Dullingham.)

We started the ride through Little Shelford and Newton and Thriplow where, with so many flowers appearing early, the daffodil weekend organisers, which is April 16 and 17, must be concerned if there will be any left to flower. We had to leave them with that problem as we passed through the village on our way to Fowlmere and to the A505.

Chrishall Grange

We didn't have to wait long to cross the A505 today and we crossed safely and made our way towards Chrishall Grange. We took the left turning at the foot of the hill which put us on Royston Lane with its very steep climb, but worth it for the views it afforded, especially under the bright sunlight.

Royston Lane

This took us to the last bit of Coploe Hill and Catmere End where we saw a herd of deer in the field next to the road (photo below).

Coploe Hill

Catmere End

A long downhill swoop of Chestnut Avenue brought us to the B1383, past the mansion, into Saffron Walden, arriving at the Temeraire at 11am.

Deer at Catmere End

Edward continues: Already at the Temeraire we found Craig, Frances, Joseph, David W and Peter W and it was only a few minutes before Mike P brought in the Brookside group. Refreshments were served quickly and at 11.40 am we were ready for the next session.

From Saffron Walden to Dullingham we took entirely separate routes; Mike took a group via Ashdon, whereas our group went out of the town up to Little Walden and the fairly easy climb up to the former RAF Hadstock airfield.


A nice descent into Hadstock and a sharp turn at the bottom of the hill and we were on the road to Bartlow going under the former railway to Haverhill.

The former railway between Hadstock & Bartlow

Another gentle climb to a crossing of the A1307, still climbing gently, took us over the crossroads between Balsham and West Wickham and a final flourish of climbing (a bit steeper here) took us into West Wratting. By now the temperature had shaken off the cold of early morning and with the beautiful sunshine, little wind, cycling was really pleasant.

Bartlow to West Wratting Crossroads

Bartlow to West Wratting Crossroads

After West Wratting we came to Weston Colville and a bit more easy climbing to Carlton. We joined the B1061 to go through Burrough Green and finally the B1052 for the descent into Dullingham and The Boot for the luncheon interval, at 1.20 pm.

Weston Colville

Although we had called ahead with an estimate of the numbers we made it very difficult for them as the pub has a very small staff but even so they coped very well. For another time they wondered if we could ring ahead with our orders as it seems their menu is always the same. This is a nice friendly pub and perhaps we should consider helping them in this way.

Anyway, by 2.30pm we were all ready to start the return journey and, with Dullingham being so close to Cambridge, Mike took a group on a more direct route home while our group of nine, keen to stay out in the nice weather, went down the busy B1061 into Newmarket; luckily it’s only just over two miles but with a lot of fast moving traffic not a nice ride. In Newmarket we went into Hamilton Road which passes close to the racecourse and many of the stables and also avoids most of the busy road to Exning. We soon came to Exning and on to a quiet Heath Road which took us into Burwell and then Reach.

On the Lodes Way

The weather was still bright and sunny and everyone was happy to join the Lodes Way for a traffic-free ride to Lode. We went out to Bottisham so that we could cycle along the cycle path beside the A1303 all the way up to the airport where we considered the ride at an end at 4.30 pm and 56 miles. Edward Elmer

Download GPS track (GPX).

1 comment:

  1. I think the idea of ordering in advance is a good one - too many pubs are disappearing and they are very friendly and try hard.