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13 Apr: Hatfield to Shepreth

posted 18 Apr 2014, 05:27 by South Herts   [ updated 8 Jan 2017, 22:47 ]
Ten of us set out from Hatfield on a glorious spring morning. The sun was warm but there was a very cold wind, which we felt as soon as we passed into any shade. After struggling through Hatfield and WGC to Tewin we embarked on what turned out to be a very enjoyable trundle through the countryside. There were several passages where we noticed the very strong scent coming from the blossom in the hedgerows (I don't think anybody was spraying us with Fabreze!), although inevitably there was often the sour smell of Rape in full bloom.  We followed the lanes through Datchworth Green on to Watton-at-Stone and then via Dane End, Nasty and on - passing the very pretty villages to Westmill before finally arriving at Buntingford for Elevenses.
line of stopped cyclists
On the road out of Dane End
female cyclist near flint-built church
Diane at Great Chishill

This was a long but very enjoyable section, but we were very grateful for the tea stop at the Village Cafe where we met Jon and Judy who had come direct from East Barnet. The only problem with this route was that we needed four different maps to cover the whole area and I only had three of them with me. This meant we made an unexpected detour to Anstey before Jon put us back on the right route for Nuthampstead.  We saw two muntjac deer, rabbits and magpies, but perhaps we were lucky not to see the fearsome South American Rhea, which has been roaming these parts for a month. It’s 6ft tall, can run at 40 mph and its six-inch claws are said to be capable of disembowelling a man.

The countryside was much more open now and we had some wonderful views across the open fields.  Some said they had spied the tower of Cambridge University Library on the horizon. With another small navigational error we had to suffer half a mile down the busy A505 before arriving at the Green Man at Shepreth for lunch.
group holding bikes in pub garden
Leaving the Green Man at Shepreth
man fixing tyre
A brief pause in Litlington

The pub was very busy but the service was good and we were able to sit out on the patio - although as the cloud cover increased we began to feel the chill again. The return ride to Baldock was a relatively flat run into the wind through Litlington and Ashwell, where we were very happy to find the Cafe Plus was still open. The ride to there had been just 50 miles, and the ride leader (and his cough) then took the train back to Hatfield. Others completed the 74-mile ride back to Hatfield and some went much further – notably Jon and Judy who did almost 100 miles before returning home at that evening!!

Bill 13/04/2014