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08 August: St Albans to Frieth

posted 11 Aug 2010, 12:21 by South Herts   [ updated 31 Dec 2016, 00:17 ]
Richard writes: Sunday, 8 August was planned to be another slightly longer, maybe a bit more challenging, ride out west into the lumpy, but lovely country of the Chilterns, with our destination south of the M40.  It was a smaller group than usual who set off from St Albans, but we were pleased to welcome a new rider, Caroline, who was going to do a charity ride and wanted to find out if she could manage that kind of distance.  We set off on a fairly direct route to Amersham through Bedmond, the steep drop and climb at Ley Hill, down into the Chess valley and then up to Chesham Bois.

The cafe in Amersham is a cyclists' favourite - cheap, er, good value, and welcoming.  We didn't linger though as it was a fair stretch to lunch.  So we climbed out of Amersham, along the man road for a couple of miles, then through Penn Street, Penn Bottom, through the woods - this was superb Chilterns country with steep wooded valleys and red kites.  Then on to a long descent down Cock Lane into High Wycombe.  High Wycombe is just in the way if you want to go in this direction, so no choice but to go straight through the middle of it for a few miles, aiming for a lane the other side which would bring us out.  Here we had a long climb out of the valley, over the M40, to Lane End.  Having left the urban squalor quickly behind we were back in the heart of the Chilterns again at Frieth.
The Prince Albert at Freith

The Prince Albert is a charming pub, completely traditional and with pleasant food which we enjoyed in the garden.  Red kites were circling high overhead.  Throughout the day the skies belonged to red kites and we saw several groups of them soaring above.

Neil had a close encounter with a bird of prey as we were going down one hill.  A bird launched itself out in front of him and he had to brake for fear of head butting it.  Not sure what it was, but it was very brightly colored.

This was going to be a banana shaped route - with lunch a fair distance out and the stops in between located fairly close together.  So, first to West Wycombe, (here Caroline had to stop to buy an emergency Mars Bar) past the Hellfire Caves and up the Hughenden Valley, passing Disraeli's house.  Then a long climb up to Cryers Hill, phew, how did it get its name?  This was soon followed by a nice descent into Little Missenden, and then on to Chesham Bois.  We followed the Chess valley to Flaunden and our very welcome tea stop in the church hall.  We had turned in 20 hilly miles since lunch.

Excellent tea stop with home made cakes and free tea re-fills.  All that remained was to get home from Flaunden.  It was quite a demanding trip of 65 miles, but really enjoyed by all.  Caroline had set her mind at rest as to whether she could manage the charity ride -  after this it would be a doddle.
Tea at Flaunden Church

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