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26 May: Hatfield to Ardeley

posted 29 May 2013, 01:29 by South Herts   [ updated 12 Jan 2017, 21:21 ]
Six of us today and we welcomed Rebecca on her first outing with us.  Well, it was a bank holiday weekend and superb barbeque weather, possibly better than that which Carol & Steve are getting on their fortnight in northern Spain, so plenty of sunscreen was called for.

Not wishing to race along too much in this fine weather, we headed along a quiet, scenic route for most of the day, taking in The Cole Green Way (now dry enough to follow into Hertford) and the riverside path to Ware.  What a nice spot to watch Craig fixing a flat tyre!  This delayed us a little, so rather than exploring the possibilities of cycling some of the Harcamlow Way from Fanhams to Cold Christmas, we settled for a bash up the little-used old A10 to Thundridge, where the Village Stores took good care of our caffeine levels.

group on disused railway
On the Cole Green Way
cyclist removing back wheel
A short break by the River Lea

The climb out of Wadesmill was not too distressing, but we took the opportunity to point out the monument to Thomas Clarkson, who was ‘too much distressed and disturbed to show myself’ on this spot in 1785, as he rode to The Feathers, located at the bottom of the hill.  His concerns were over the slave trade and he went on to devote his life to its abolition, riding his horse 35,000 miles gathering information to support his cause. 

rear view of two cyclists on lane thro yellow fields
The Rib Valley
two cyclists approaching on lane
Approaching Puckeridge

A scenic detour took us along the Rib valley on a switchback lane through woods and rape fields and into Puckeridge, from where we took a fairly direct route to the pub in Ardeley, meeting the Herts Wheelers coming towards us.  We also found The Tandem Club at the pub and Rona was there too. 

cyclists crossing village green
Moor Green
Cyclists at a ford
Codicote ford

After a rather jovial lunch, we headed south pushed by the wind and I managed to find my way from Aston through the southern environs of Stevenage by using Shephall Lane, a tree-lined cycle path, emerging at The Roebuck for the climb to Old Knebworth.  A loop around using Three Houses Lane brought us to Codicote for an afternoon cuppa, from where we made our way via Ayot St Peter, where bluebells could still be seen in the woods.  There's even a rumour that some stopped for a pint before getting back home.

bluebells in a wood
Bluebells in Dowdell's Wood

Jon 26 May 2013