Thursday, 14 July 2016

14 Jul: Thursday ride to Newport and Great Saling

Edward writes: After a few days of mixed weather we met in Hauxton with the promise of a dry and warm day. Although the light breeze was from the North and would be helpful for the morning session, by afternoon as we headed roughly northwards it wouldn’t present a problem. Today’s ride to Newport and then on to Great Saling is always one of our most popular and longer rides and today fourteen riders set off under the guidance of Andy, our leader for the day.

At the start in Hauxton (Photo: John Ferguson)

Greta's Garden (Photo: John Ferguson)

Greta's Garden (Photo: John Ferguson)

Leaving Hauxton

Our route from Hauxton to Newport doesn’t offer many alternatives, especially when there is going to be a long ride after coffee. Therefore we took the most direct route through Whittlesford, over the A505 into Duxford, then via the ford through Hinxton and Ickleton, ready for the climb up Coploe Hill.

Approaching Duxford (Photo: John Ferguson)


Between Duxford and Hinxton

Coploe Summit (Photo: John Ferguson)

Coploe Hill was the first of many climbs today; in fact over the day we climbed about 2000 ft; not Ventoux perhaps, but still climbs. After the usual rest and recovery at the summit we careered downhill and up again to Catmere End and followed this with more climbing before another fast descent to Wendens Ambo.

Descending Coploe Hill

Descending Coploe Hill

Littlebury Green (Photo: John Ferguson)

Between Littlebury Green and Wendens Ambo

From Wendens Ambo it was only a mile or so into Newport for our first break at Dorringtons.


The group of ten from Brookside led by John R must have taken their riding more seriously and some of them overtook before we reached Newport. Possibly eager to get near the front of the queue and have first choice of the cakes. Two days earlier we had called Dorringtons to expect us and they pulled out all the stops to get us served quickly and a very successful exercise it was too.

Coffee at Newport (Photo: John Ferguson)

So successful that within half an hour we were able to assemble for the next session to Great Saling for lunch. John took his group along the B1383 towards Henham and Andy led his group up the hill so that we could take the route via Debden. After Debden, Debden Green, in fact, we turned towards Henham but turned off just past Hamperden End onto a very undulating road to Sucksted Green on the B1051.

As we passed through Broxted Church End we were directly under the flight-path of a continuous flow of aircraft landing at Stansted Airport.

Landing at Stansted

But by now were into delightful countryside passing through Tilty, Duton Hill, Little Cambridge and Lindsell. From Lindsell to Great Saling is really a lovely ride along quite lanes, one of which is called Lumberhedges Lane, finally bringing us to the airfield at Great Saling, arriving at 1.15 pm, to find John’s group already enjoying their lunch.

Great Saling

Judging by the number of motor cycles lined up it seemed we may be in for a long wait, but luckily they had already ordered and we didn’t have to wait long for our food. It’s always enjoyable coming here; the staff are always friendly and there is never a problem in allowing those with sandwiches to sit on the outside tables.

After lunch Andy led a small group home towards Thaxted. This left John to lead about a dozen on the return journey up to Shalford where we joined the four miles of quiet lanes right through to Finchingfield.

In the lanes towards Finchingfield

In the lanes towards Finchingfield

In the lanes towards Finchingfield

This was really pleasant and we only encountered a couple of cars all the way into Finchingfield.


Now it was the long haul of five miles over to the B1054 and the turning to Helions Bumpstead. This was all very pleasant especially now as the grass verges have so many wild flowers, even if most of them seem to be scabious!

Between Finchingfield and Helions Bumpstead

Between Finchingfield and Helions Bumpstead

From Helions Bumpstead it was now pretty straightforward, passing through Castle Camps, Bartlow and Linton. We finished the ride via the farm route into Babraham, Sawston, Stapleford and Great Shelford. Those going back to Hauxton would have travelled 70 quality miles, arriving just before 5 pm. This was a really successful and enjoyable day and many thanks to Andy and John for their efforts in leading us round. Edward Elmer

John Ferguson adds: I joined this Bastille Day ride at Greta’s House in what was appropriately French weather. Andy selected a direct route to Newport. At Wendens Ambo I was the only one who followed Adrian onto a farm track which led to the centre of Newport. This track is quite rideable although very steep so we arrived after the main group. I had to get back to Cambridge after the coffee stop so I returned with Jacob and a few others via Clavering, Langley Lower Green and the unsurfaced road to Building End.

Download GPS track (GPX).


  1. A lovely ride though the countryside. Would love to do it again, but does anyone know how to get the map onto my Garmin Edge Explore 820
    As now my work shift has rotated I can't do anymore Thursday runs until the end of August 🙁
    Thanks Dave Fletcher
    Member No 90131172

  2. Dave: questions like that are best sent to the members' email list (if you've signed up to it). But there's a good description here. Nigel (