Thursday, 4 August 2016

4 Aug: Thursday ride to Potton and Henlow

Edward writes: Today at Haslingfield twelve members met for our ride to Potton and Henlow under cloudy skies, but with a very tolerable temperature; there was, however, the prospect of an odd shower later in the day. Dr John was today’s leader with John Seton leading a surprisingly low number of three from Brookside. We must remember, of course, that we are now in the school holiday season and numbers are bound to be lower.

John used the route over Chapel Hill into Barrington where Sue H joined us. Our ride was always going to be westward and the stiff breeze from yesterday had hardly abated as had been forecast, so at times the morning session was quite hard work pedalling into the south-west wind.


After passing through Orwell we went through Wimpole on the A603 to where it joins the A1198 and here we turned to go via Wendy and Shingay for three miles of headwind to Guildern Morden. Now out of Cambridgeshire and into Bedfordshire the terrain became a bit more undulating as went through Wrestlingworth and the final descent into Potton arriving precisely at 11 am, just at the time our hosts at the Potton Sports Club had been advised.

Approaching Potton

This is the first time that we have visited Potton Sports Club. It was discovered by Doug, and very nice it is too. The cafe is located in the newly-built cricket pavilion, enabling us to continue the cricket theme established last week at Bradman’s at Withersfield. It may not have the allure of The Don’s name but the facilities and choice of drinks and cakes and friendliness were excellent and very well worth while visiting again.

Coffee at Potton

Coffee at Potton

Coffee at Potton

It was so comfortable, with seats both inside and out that it was with some reluctance that we had to start to ride again. We went back into the town centre and left by the Everton road and down into Sandy. Earlier we had been joined by Bob and as he has local knowledge he briefly took over and led us through the back ways out to the A1, which was a bit tricky as there was no obvious crossing point. It soon became a case of every man for himself, but eventually we all crossed safely.

Waiting to cross the A1 at Sandy

Now that the hurly-burly of the A1 was behind us were able to go through the picturesque Bedfordshire villages of Hatch, Northill, Ickwell and Old Warden in relative peace. In the area around Hatch there was a brief shower but nothing serious, and the heavy clouds soon passed over only to reappear for another slightly longer shower on the outskirts of Henlow.

Rain at Hayes

Our lunch stop was The Five Bells which is always very busy, but those who wanted lunch there were able to squeeze themselves onto a free table, and others sat in the park opposite or used the pub garden to eat their sandwiches.

Approaching Southill

Approaching Henlow

After lunch John S took over for the ride back to Cambridge as Dr John and a few others needed a much different route for their journey home. With some help from Sheila and Mia we left Henlow on the track past Champney’s Health Spa to Ardley Station and then we rode along/beside the A507 through Stotfold, parts of which are called Pendleton Way. Now, of course, we had the benefit of the south-west wind and riding was much more pleasant. Some more deft work along NCN 12 brought us over the A1 which put us on the road to Ashwell via Newnham.


We don’t use this road very often but it is really very nice, if an undulating way into Ashwell. Now it was familiar roads through Steeple Morden, Littlington, Bassingbourn, Meldreth and Shepreth. When we came to Barrington those who went over Chapel Hill again back to Haslingfield would have completed 56 miles. Obviously another good day out and thanks to the two Johns for being our leaders today. Edward Elmer

Waste train at Barrington

Download route (GPX) (this is not a GPS track).

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