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11 Oct: Panshanger to Ardeley

posted 12 Oct 2015, 04:44 by South Herts   [ updated 19 Nov 2015, 00:20 ]
A welcome return to dry sunny weather continued our recent run of good luck on Sundays and eight of us met at Panshanger Golf Club for our ride to Ardeley.  Meeting there rather than Hatfield meant we were soon into the quiet Hertfordshire lanes as we cruised through Tewin and Bramfield.  In Stapleford we noted the passing of The Woodhall Arms, where the owners of Papillon Restaurant sold up and retired in August.  As we then passed the former Three Harts pub in Stony Hills we reflected that these days we seem to pass more pubs that are closed down than those still in business.

cyclists in parkland
In Sacombe Park

We crossed the busy A602 directly into the tranquillity of Sacombe Park, where the manor house was undergoing a complete makeover.  Then it was down to Barwick Ford and into Much Hadham to find ourselves at Ash Valley Golf Club.  We received a warm welcome and were quickly served with tea, coffee and bacon sandwiches as we relaxed in the wooden clubhouse.  This looked quite old, but the list of club champions only went back about 20 years. 

In clubhouse
Ash Valley Golf Club

Geoff joined us here, and all nine of us carried on via Standon and Puckeridge to lunch at The Jolly Waggoner in Ardeley.  This pub is linked to the café at Church Farm opposite and we found we could order sandwiches to be brought over to us from there, which most did as the Sunday roast was almost £14.  No doubt it’s excellent real food, but rather unreal prices for cyclists on a club run.  Despite it being mid October the sun was keeping it just about warm enough to sit out in the pub garden.

We left rather reluctantly just before 2 pm and did a double take as we exchanged the usual greetings with a fellow cyclist coming towards us, then realised as he was passing it was Steve H, getting up to speed following a broken leg.

It wasn’t far to Codicote, so I put in a short detour via Benington and Aston to get onto the cycle track through Shephalbury Park in Stevenage, coming out at The Roebuck and climbing up to Old Knebworth.  After tea at Vanstones some went directly back to Panshanger via Old Welwyn and others towards Hatfield via Ayot St Peter.  The sun was still shining when we got home and it had been an enjoyable circuit of less than 50 miles.

Jon 11/10/2015







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