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09 Nov: Hatfield to Wareside

posted 12 Nov 2014, 03:01 by South Herts   [ updated 6 Jan 2017, 23:37 ]
A dry, fine and warmish day’s forecast resulted in twelve of us being at the start in Hatfield. Our elevenses destination was Church Farm, Ardeley, which is well out in the country to the north east of Stevenage. As it is a fairly long way I decided not to use the back lanes to start with and we used the old A1, which is now reasonably quiet, going over Digswell Hill and down the other side into Old Welwyn. From here we entered ‘Robbery Bottom Lane’ (lovely name –reputed to have been a haunt of Dick Turpin) and then out into more rural areas. We headed through Watton at Stone, then up the valley to Walkern and beyond. Here the countryside is lovely and open with typical east Herts scenery. Before reaching Cromer there’s a right turn up a lane leading to the hamlet of Ardeley.

group photo
A dozen at the start
man with large plate of scrambled eggs
Take it slowly Mike

Church Farm is trendy with a farm shop and café etc. In fact it is so trendy it featured on a BBC radio 4 programme about modern farming trends and diversification. The café food is excellent but with prices to match its exalted reputation.

Leaving Ardeley we were heading for Wareside. So looking for a ‘nice’ route we headed off due east through more open country and little villages before crossing the A10 and going into Puckeridge, whose high street is lined with beautiful and quaint old houses. Leaving there we were now heading due south down a very pretty and quiet lane, which runs down the valley of the river Rib and crosses it at Barwick ford.  Then just a few more miles down little lanes and we arrived at ‘The Chequers’ in Wareside.

cycling along a dark lane
Carol on the switchback lane from Puckeridge
crossing footbridge at ford
Crossing the footbridge at Barwick Ford

The Chequers is a proper old pub, nice because, as a member of our party put it; “it hasn’t been b*****d about with”. It also does excellent food at very reasonable prices. So after a very pleasant lunch break it was back on the bikes to return home. Whilst Wareside is just to the east of Ware the overall journey back to the start at Hatfield is quite a stretch. Still we took a reasonably flat route via Ware, into Hertford and then along the Old Coach Road to Welwyn G.C. and Hatfield, with some of the group turning off along the way for their homes. For those of us who went back to the start the overall ride had been about 46 miles. Just right for a pleasant November ride.