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13 May: St Albans to Whiteleaf

posted 15 May 2012, 06:49 by South Herts   [ updated 13 Jan 2017, 23:47 ]
On a bright May morning, seven cyclists, including a defector from the Verulam CC, met at the St Albans start for the ride into the Chilterns on what promised to be the first dry Sunday ride I'd been on for some time.  We went to Chesham crossing the Grand Union canal on the fine curly bridge in the Apsley Marina, then climbed the rather long hill to Felden, where the new aristocracy can view the toiling masses of Hemel Hempstead, before cutting through Bovingdon Green and Ley Hill to the very reliable Poppins cafe.
Steve remarked he had seen a strange animal dead on the verge of the A4147 near to Bedmond Lane, but no one else had noticed it. 
Peter at Apsley Marina
Green leaves in Dormonds Wood

After coffee we went through Pednor and Kings Ash where we had fine views of the valley which are scheduled to be ruined by the proposed HS2 railway line (not mentioned in the Queen’s speech) before dropping down to cross the main road near Great Missenden. I had promised several hills and the first arrow one was up to Dunsmore, then a double one down to Coombe Hill and Chequers.  We didn't see any sign of Sam and Dave, or even Rebekah Books, but saw the new 'rising bollards' at the front entrance to deter unwanted visitors, presumably not on bikes.
The pub at Whiteleaf looked quaint and we actually sat outside for our food. Slightly pricey and a rather frosty reception meant I would probably try and find a different pub next time.
After lunch we climbed the double-arrowed Whiteleaf Hill before a glorious downhill through Bryants Bottom, then through Holmer Green and Coleshill and the Chalfonts to reach Chenies Church for a good-value cup of tea and homemade cake, making an effort to keep bad language to a minimum.
Red Lion, Whiteleaf

Carol leading in Great Kingshill
Tea at Chenies

There had been an afternoon incident of note, when I spotted a brown furry tail flash through a garden just as I was descending to go under the railway bridge at Little Chalfont. "That was either a fox, or a cat with a very bushy tail” I said. The next second a blur of brown shot just in front of my wheel giving me quite a fright - certainly a lucky fox and a narrow escape for me.
On the way back from Chenies we stopped to inspect the dead animal and couldn't decide if it was a polecat or a ferret!  Altogether a lovely day out admiring the new green leaves on the Chiltern forests and covering just over 100 hilly kilometres.

13 May 2012