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25 July: Hatfield to Therfield

posted 26 Jul 2010, 11:03 by South Herts   [ updated 30 Dec 2016, 23:57 ]
Jon writes: Some frantic waving helped John home-in on the starting point for his first ride from Hatfield, just as his GPS was sending him round in circles near Asda car park.   Nine of us set out for Church Farm at Ardeley following a direct route via WGC and Digswell, then taking Harmer Green Lane through to Burnham Green.   At Datchworth Green cross roads, we picked up Stuart, who had gambled correctly that our route would pass through there.  We dropped down the beautiful Raffin Green Lane and soon picked up Walkern Road taking us directly north, reaching our coffee stop at 10:30.
 Church Farm Ardeley
Getting hungry
Ardeley Church Farm was packed and it took nearly an hour to be served, despite three chefs going flat out in the kitchen.  A great place if you’re not in a hurry, but my absolute deadline for leaving was 11:45 and we only just made it.  Glad we didn’t all simply walk out, as the food was great quality when it arrived (although Richard had to leave early and missed his organic beans on toast).  Precisely 0.5 mm of rain had fallen whilst at Ardeley, but by now it was getting hot, as well as humid, and we took the direct route to Therfield, joined now by Chris and Geoff.
Therfield village green
Stuart's new Paganini
Two earlier phone calls to the pub had persuaded them to provide baguettes (no thanks, we didn’t really want roast dinners in the middle of summer), but we were told to arrive early, to avoid clashing with a party of 40 fans of the ‘traditional’ roast.  All worked out well for us, and the baguettes were excellent, although we saw no sign of any large parties arriving.  With more and more pubs providing lunch wanting to morph into restaurants providing drinks, arranging a light lunch can seem more tricky than planning and leading the ride itself.   Before leaving, I had a quick ride on Stuart’s brand new carbon framed Paganini - a virtuoso performance.

Then it was off on a loop via deserted lanes east of the A10, arriving hot, sweaty and covered in thrips for a welcome tea and cake with Jeanette the vicar at Braughing.
Friendly service at Braughing

The Old Boys School dated 1574 

I stayed to cool off and have a better look around Braughing, while Peter led through Bramfield & Panshanger, then Tracey took the group through the woods to WGC. 
Leaving Braughing village hall

Total distance 66.6 miles.  25/07/2010