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02 Aug: Panshanger to Royston

posted 6 Aug 2015, 11:47 by South Herts   [ updated 24 Nov 2015, 23:46 ]
It must have been a good weather forecast as there were 13 of us starting at the Panshanger golf course in Welwyn Garden City. The first (elevenses) stop was at Hare Street, a village north of Braughing in the east of the county. So we were off at a good pace through Bramfield, Dane End and then across the A10 into Puckeridge. From there it was into Braughing and straight up a quiet ‘B’ road past various hamlets until 18 miles from the start we reached Hare Street.

several cyclists hanging around

This is a picturesque village with some ancient ‘jettied’ houses. Our stop was at just such an ancient building, ‘The Old Swan’ tea rooms. In fact we sat in the garden next to a pond being entertained by a gaggle of noisy geese.

Tea being served

Leaving here three of the party headed back whilst we went on into deepest rural Hertfordshire for lunch at Royston. Now Royston isn’t that far away so we looped around a bit to see more out of the way villages. Starting with Great Hornmead, Anstey, Nuthampstead and so on before hitting another quiet ‘B’ road that leads down into Royston. The countryside we were going through was really open and beautiful and the weather was just right for cycling, so all was well with the world. The lunch venue was ‘The Manor House’ which sounds very grand. And very grand and impressive it is standing in the main street of Royston, albeit now part of the Wetherspoons chain. But they do at least resurrect and maintain some interesting old buildings.  

When we arrived we found Adrian waiting for us, as he had cycled there direct. So the weather being kind we had lunch outside seated around a large table.

Now the original plan had been to go on to Baldock for tea, but it is not that far from Royston and, having only just lunched it was decided we needed to go further. So we set off for the Stevenage Garden Centre, which is, unsurprisingly, close to Stevenage and not far from Graveley. Leaving Royston we headed west past Therfield Heath where there was a kite festival going on. Some amazing kites were flying, two of which, animated by the wind, looked just like prancing horses in the sky, a truly amazing spectacle. Then turning south it was time to climb on and up across the heath to Therfield. From there we found our way through delightful countryside and various villages, including the hidden-away village of Luffenhall.

So we arrived at the garden centre in time for tea. And, given that by now it was getting pretty hot and sunny the pause was much appreciated. From here, as we headed on south, people peeled off towards their homes. A small group of us went back to the start as we had left our cars there for the day, whilst some had even further to cycle, back to their abodes in London.

Overall we had done about 58 miles in glorious summer weather at an average speed of just less than 12 mph.

PeteR 02/08/2015