Thursday, 17 March 2016

17 Mar: Thursday ride to Newport and Great Bardfield

Edward writes: This Thursday we were fortunate with Rupert stepping in to lead the City Start ride from Brookside where nine started, and we at Hauxton started with sixteen, again justifying the new format of two start points.

Although the day started murky, overcast and a temperature of about five degrees the forecast looked promising with the sun breaking through by mid-morning. This ride would take us to Dorrington’s at Newport, where we rang to tell them we were on our way, and afterwards on to Great Bardfield.

Hinxton Ford


This is one of our longer rides so we took the straightforward route out to Little Shelford, Whittlesford and the A505. From here we went to Duxford, over the ford at Hinxton, into Ickleton and up to the summit of Coploe Hill. One disappointing aspect of Coploe Hill today was the amount of traffic which we have not experienced before.

Coploe Hill

Catmere End

It’s nice, though, to record that Greta came along with us all the way and only left us at Catmere End to go down Chestnut Avenue to the B1383 and the less hilly and more direct route to Newport. When the rest of us got to Catmere End we went towards Littlebury Green, but not right into the village, and then turned to take the twisting and climbing road to the top before the rapid descent on a very rough surface to the B1039 and Wendons Ambo.

Wendens Ambo

About a mile later we arrived at Dorrington’s and within ten minutes Rupert’s group arrived. As usual we met several others, including Sarah, Peter Wo, Doug; Craig and Frances appeared just as we were leaving. At coffee many chose to sit outside in the sun which was now out accompanied by a marked rise in the temperature.


After coffee we left in two groups and both of us went south to the motorway where we all branched off towards Henham. Rupert took his group of about eight up to Henham whilst the larger group of about a dozen took a more southerly route to Elsenham. We crossed the railway twice and then headed east on the B1051 Thaxted road as far as the turning for Brick End and now that we had left traffic to the busy roads we found ourselves on quiet lanes to Brick End, Broxted.

Brick End, Broxted

From here all the way to Great Easton we enjoyed quiet, pretty country lanes. To many of us (not Adrian of course) this was the first time we had travelled these roads which, under the bright sun, made them all the more attractive.

Leaving Brick End, Broxted

When we arrived in Great Easton we had to allow time out for the petrol heads to admire the vintage Rolls Royces and aeroplane engines.

Rolls-Royce Showroom in Great Easton

After all this love and appreciation it was now but half an hour into Great Bardfield and the Blue Egg farm shop, arriving at 1.30 pm after 34 miles.

Emus, after leaving Great Bardfield

As expected Rupert’s group, on a slightly shorter route, were already ordering their refreshments. It seems that on the way Sharon’s chain had broken and Sarah came to the rescue with the right equipment but sadly not the right knowledge; however Rupert was on hand to do the necessary and they were not long delayed. Out in the sun lunch was very pleasant and there was a certain reluctance to leave, but by 2.15 pm we finally got two groups underway. Rupert’s group left first and the second group with about twelve left shortly after. We went back into Great Bardfield to join the narrow lanes which lead through to Finchingfield and on the way we passed a farm with wallabies and emus. This is a really nice route, almost always free of traffic, although we did come across a car which had broken down with a pick-up truck already on the scene. Finchingfield, as ever, looked its picture postcard self.

Heading for Finchingfield

We turned north westerly on the five miles of quiet roads past Spains Hall to the B1054, which we crossed and then ran down to Helions Bumpstead. Quite often at this point we take the loop via Olmstead Green but today we chose to go on the more direct route through Castle Camps and with the climbs behind us it was more or less downhill all the way into Bartlow. This was quickly followed by Linton and Hildersham and we came into Babraham via Little Abington and the farm track over the A11. The ride finished through Stapleford and Great Shelford and those doing the complete circuit back to Hauxton, Ian B, David T, Susan, Sheila and Mia, would have completed 62 miles, finishing at 5pm. Edward Elmer

Download GPS track (GPX).

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