Thursday, 31 August 2017

31 Aug: Thursday ride to Saffron Walden and Clare

Edward writes:Twenty cyclists met at Haslingfield Green in near ideal conditions for today's ride out to Saffron Walden and lunch at Clare. There was only the gentlest of wind, a nice temperature and only the prospect of rain in the late afternoon, and so it proved for any late finishers with torrential rain at 5.30pm (Averil!). Once again Mike C was our leader and back at Brookside Alan had a party of six.

We left Haslingfield in two groups and made our way towards Harston and over the hill into Newton, Whittlesford and down to the A505. This was quite busy but we all crossed safely into Duxford and took the route through the factory area and after a brief wait at the level crossing, over the ford into Hinxton. We rolled along at a leisurely pace and at the Ickleton level crossing we had to wait for another train; not very often that happens.

Hinxton level crossing

Ickleton level crossing

By the time we were going up Coploe Hill, Mike with the second group, had caught us up and we all assembled at the summit for the regulation photo.

Coploe Hill summit

After the run down Chestnut Avenue and the climb up from Audley End mansion we arrived in Saffron Walden and The Temeraire at 11am and as expected found the city group already installed.

Saffron Walden

The Temeraire has extended the outside sitting-out area even further from the last time we were here. It is all laid out on artificial grass and it looks very attractive making it a nice pleasant area to sit out in, especially on a nice day like today. Not only were the city group here but several others who had cycled out independently, including Bill P, Mike S and the indefatigable Vic. Despite our numbers the staff dealt very quickly with us all and we were soon sitting out in the sun.

After the usual comings and goings we left in two manageable groups with Alan's group heading off up the hill towards the war memorial and Mike took his group out of town along Ashdon Road. And after so long in a terrible state of repair it was such a pleasure to find that the road has been resurfaced; previously it was always a nightmare to cycle on. At the top of hill we turned into Newhouse Lane which is always very nice and then into Radwinter and down to Great Sampford.


Just out of Little Sampford we branched off the main road into the quieter roads to Cornish Hall End. We were now away from most of the traffic and conditions were ideal for a good ride. Cornish Hall End was followed by Stambourne and Ridgewell where we met the A1017. This was only for a few yards before taking the turning for Ashen and from there it was an easy run, mainly downhill into Clare.

As usual some went to local cafes in the town but many others went to the park and found a newly opened cafe in the old station buildings. This was very nice and now makes the trip to Clare and even better destination. Being a former railway station there was some railway memorabilia, including a timetable from 1961 which showed Sudbury to Cambridge took an hour and a quarter, which didn’t seem bad.

Cafe at the old station, Clare

The old station, Clare

Alan first led a smaller group away and Mike followed at 2.35pm with a dozen. After heading north for a short while we turned west and went through Chilton Street and Brockley Green before passing through Kedington. After we had crossed the A143 our journey home took us through Great Wratting and Withersfield where we noticed that one of occasional coffee venues, the pub, formerly Bradman’s is now called the White Horse, so it might be worth checking if they would still do coffee for us.

We finished our ride through West Wickham, Balsham, Hildersham, Abington, Sawston and Great Shelford. Those going back to Haslingfield would have completed 70 miles. As always thanks to both our leaders for another good late summer’s ride.
Edward Elmer

Download GPS track (GPX).

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