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07 August: Hatfield to Wimpole Hall

posted 12 Aug 2011, 01:43 by South Herts   [ updated 1 Jan 2017, 09:34 ]
Eight of us met at Hatfield and we left promptly at 9.05am, as I had planned a long ride ahead.  We headed out through Hatfield Garden Village, Lemsford, Ayot St Peter and up to Codicote, where Stewart joined us.  We then meandered through to Preston and Gosmore.  At this point, Stuart offered to take the lead and he showed us an excellent route that by passed Hitchin town centre completely, via Pin Mill and various residential roads and on to the garden centre, where Carol and Steve met us for elevenses.
Path to Purwell Lane in Hitchin

After elevenses, we cycled through Letchworth and on to Baldock where we branched off to Bygrave, Ashwell, Guilden Morden, Shingay, Wendy and on to Wimpole.  This was a very pretty route made more enjoyable as the wind was behind us for a change.
Near Ashwell

We picnicked in the grounds of Wimpole Estate, grabbed a drink from the small cafe there and looked around the National Trust shop.
Picnic at Wimpole Hall
Leaving Wimpole Hall

We then cycled past the hall across the grand avenue, which stretches for two and a half miles.  This took us to a side exit, where we continued up to Croydon, then down to Abington Pigotts, Littlington, Steeple Morden and back to Ashwell.
Wimpole Hall
Wimpole Hall avenue

From here, we took the road to Slip End and over the A505 onto Rushden.  It was around this point I realised we had lost Carol, Steve, Judy and Jon!  After a short wait we decided to carry on to Cromer windmill and across to Ardeley farm for afternoon tea, where we were re-joined by Carol and Steve.

As the dark clouds we had been dodging all day were looming large, we decided to head home.  Most of us went to Walkern, Aston and Bragbury End where we went our separate ways.  At approx 5.30 pm, the heavens opened and my group peddled quickly on to Tewin Green, where we were surprised to find a dry Jon and Judy under the shelter!  They had lost touch with the group and sneaked into Ashwell looking for an early tea at the village hall.  No teas there, but instead they were invited to a closing-down party at the grade 1 listed vicarage, which was being sold as too costly to run, for wine, nibbles, coffee and cake!
Ashwell Vicarage

The rain did not seem to want to stop so we carried on home.

Tracey 07/08/2011