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01 July: Wheathampstead to Great Barford

posted 7 Jul 2012, 09:18 by South Herts   [ updated 13 Jan 2017, 23:17 ]
120701 Wheathampstead
The lasses outnumbered the lads as ten riders gathered at Wheathampstead for the first official picnic ride of the year, which had attracted six ladies, including new rider Lucy and Rachel from London.  We climbed up to Gustard Wood then took a left turn to go to Peters Green via an unplanned visit to Bowers Heath. Along the well used Lilley Bottom and across the Icknield Way, down Gravel Hill, we were soon in Barton-le-Clay for our coffee stop. Although we had a tail wind we arrived slightly behind schedule, which was of little concern.
 
After coffee Lucy and Jackie went back and the rest of the group travelled northwest towards Bedford. We passed through the intriguingly named Ireland near Old Warden where notices announced the cancellation of that day's air show (later discovered to be due to the fatal crash of a vintage aircraft).

An unusual sight today was the number of pink foxgloves at the edge of several woods we passed. As we travelled further north than our usual destinations, we passed some symbols of a bygone era: the massive old airship hangers at Cardington (what are they used for now?) before arriving at the river Ouse at Great Barford.  We ate our picnics in a riverside park conveniently adjacent to the pub, which supplied drinks in plastic glasses, achieving the requirement of a cheap lunch with beer available. Unfortunately it was rather cold for this time of year, but at least the rain held off.
 
Afterwards we headed south along some lovely wooded lanes around Old Warden before using the Pendleton Way cycle path to get into Stotfold. (None of the ladies was clad in the style of Victoria Pendleton  the Olympic gold-medal cyclist originally from Stotfold.)
 
Stotfold Mill with its tearoom unusually was open this afternoon, and was a very civilised venue for an afternoon stop.
 
As we still had a long way to get home the group took a direct route back via Letchworth, Willian and Almshoe before heading south down the B656 to Codicote, then back to Wheathampstead. My round trip (from St Albans) was about 90 miles for the day.



Carol 1/7/2012



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