Thursday, January 30, 2020

Easy Riders - 29th January

We left Weybridge to go round the town until we got to the cycle path along Weybridge Road and Woburn Hill and turned right at the top to follow the track to Chertsey Bridge. We then followed the Thames northwards to Laleham and right into Shepperton Road / Laleham Road and then left into Squire's Bridge Road. That led into New Road where we turned right into Charlton Lane and into Upper Halliford where we stopped for lunch at the Goat. After replenishment we took Halliford Road into Sunbury where we turned left into Green Street. A short way along there on the right is Hawkewood Road where a tarmac covered pathway begins and takes the rider parallel to Thames Street and ends at Harfield Road which leads into Lower Sunbury Road. This pathway avoids the narrow and hump ridden Thames Street and the frustrated vehicle drivers using it. My thanks to Ray Wren for introducing me to this pleasant route.

We then made our way along Lower Hampton Road into Bushy Park and along to and over Kingston Bridge. While wending our way through Kingston it was suggested that we could stop for tea or coffee at the Bradbury Centre and five of us happily sat down to our second cheap tea or coffee - result!


A Group 29 Jan - the Leith Massif Traverse

After the mist and rain of recent days, it was a delight to see the sun today.  Massed ranks of Wayfarers descended on Weybridge like a swarm of locusts, consuming gallons of tea and tons of cake, bread pudding and sausage rolls.  Having attending to our figures, we then assembled for a group photo to start the the Midweek Wayfarers' 40th Anniversary celebrations.

Perhaps it was the sunshine, perhaps it was the photo opportunity, or maybe it was the chance to complete the traverse of Pitch Hill, Holmbury Hill, and Leith Hill that attracted 22 A group riders on this memorable ride.  Not many people attempt the Leith Massif Traverse for some reason.  It's hard to say and also hard to ride, but today was the perfect day for it.  A very simple route:  through Pyrford, Ripley and East Clandon to get to the foothills of Staple Lane; regroup in Shere and straight up Houndhouse Road to reach the summit of Pitch Hill. which I believe is the second third* highest road in Surrey at around 775 ft.  The keener riders sped up the hill like a pack of eager whippets, and arrived at lunch well before 1pm, while the rest of us took it at a more measured pace, still arriving by 1pm, so there wasn't a massive queue to order lunch.
The Bull's Head at Ewhurst did a great job, serving delicious food promptly, and we were ready for another photo-shoot before 2pm.  Two hills to go.  Well, two named hills: Neil pointed out that there were slightly more ascents than that.  First we had to go a little way back up Pitch Hill to get to Peaslake Road, a nice traverse with great views to the south.  This was the only part of the route that was wet and mucky, and unfortunately David Jackson punctured here - he sent word that he and Jennie would make their own way home.

From Peaslake we went round the south of Holmbury Hill on Radnor Road; the whippets a bit slower now but still keen.  At Holmbury St Mary it was crampons and oxygen masks on for Pasturewood Road to Abinger Common, then the long drag to the summit of Leith Hill Road: the second* highest road in Surrey at 831 ft, before rounding Coldharbour and descending to Dorking.

I had a few sleepless nights imagining the consequences of taking a group down Coldharbour Lane only to find it closed and impassable at the bottom, but the real heros of the day are Terry Lowe (who wasn't even on the ride) and Mark (who was):  Terry checked it was open on Tuesday, even riding up to Logmore Lane to check there were no further closures further up, and, just in case SES Water had changed their mind overnight, Mark volunteered to ride down to check, then come back and tell us!  Luckily he met another cyclist coming up so didn't have to go all the way.  All was clear for the final enjoyable descent, with eight of us electing for tea and cake at Denbies.

My thanks to Mike Barrett for back-marking, and to Terry and Mark for saving us a possible bonus climb back up to Logmore Lane.  And Mike tells me that the gapping was good today, perhaps due to the climbs, or perhaps we are learning to count to six!  Thank you all for your company and being keen enough to come on a rather hilly ride.

38 miles, 2762 ft ascent
The Traverse itself
* Mark did a bit of research on this and discovered that actually Botley Hill, near Titsey Hill is just in Surrey, and it's higher, at 898ft.   Apologies - an opportunity for another challenge on another day.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

B Group - 29th January

What a glorious, sunny day for photography & cycling!  In fact the photo-shoot to celebrate our 40th Anniversary did us a favour as it had everyone out of the centre with their bikes, ready to go as soon as the photographer (Peter Cornish) had finished!  It was the leader who wasn't ready as she still had to phone the Royal Stag in Datchet with numbers for lunch! 

A group of 22 riders set out from Weybridge, though in fact only 20 were bound for Datchet.  Cycle paths were the order of the day for the morning part of the ride.  Heading towards Addlestone, we took the cycle path which led up Woburn Hill, crossed Chertsey Meads, through Chertsey and picked up the next cycle path on the other side, beside Staines Road,  Cutting across towards Thorpe, we turned right before the village, soon joining the Thorpe Bypass leading towards Egham.  At the big roundabout (partially blocked by roadworks), we crossed over the M25 to take the third bike path into Egham.  Going through the town, we joined the busy A30 for a short way before turning off up Middle Hill.  Re-grouping at the top, it was a flat ride to Crimp Hill, followed by a fast descent to Old Windsor - a reward for the climb up Middle Hill!  From here it was only a short ride to Datchet, and we arrived at the Royal Stag spot on the ETA (12.45 p.m.) given to them when making the booking!  Tables had been reserved for us & with two people taking orders at the Bar, our meals were soon coming out.  The staff handled the numbers really well & we could happily return here. 

We were on the road again by 2.00 p.m., taking a fairly direct route back to Shepperton via Horton, Wraysbury, Staines & Laleham - a route familiar to many.   Eleven stopped for tea at Cafe Mocha in Shepperton High Street.  Thank-you to everyone for coming on the ride, to Pam for back-marking, to Vic who let me know when the group was too strung out due to hold-ups such as traffic lights and to all the willing corner-markers.  A very enjoyable day!

Gill Finlay

Thanks to the good folk who recorded this ride on their phones
B Group recuperating in Shepperton (photo sent by Dave C)

Monday, January 27, 2020

Wayfarers 40th Anniversary - Weybridge photo.

Don't miss out on the big Wayfarers 40th Anniversary photo-shoot at Weybridge on 29th January!

Cycling UK's photographer, Peter Cornish, will be on hand to record this momentous event. He'll want to record you all assembled - with bikes, at the rear of the Day Centre, as well as ride leaders heading-out with their groups on the day's rides.

Wear your Sou-Wester jersey to guarantee a place on the front-row of the line-up!

Please try to get to Weybridge by 10.30am. 

(This is allow enough time for your teas and coffees, and for the photos, so that you can be away soon after 11.00am).

If you can't make it, don't worry - other commemorative events will follow later in the year.

Advice for B Group (29th Jan.)

The B ride will be to The Royal Stag at Datchet via Chertsey & Egham.  There is one steep climb but an excellent downhill to compensate afterwards!  Tea will be at Shepperton.  Please note that there is to be a 40th Anniversary photoshoot at 11 a.m. - Club clothing is requested. 

Thanks, Gill

A Group 29 Jan - the Leith Massif Traverse

We like a challenge in the A group, don't we?   What's that?    Oh, yes we do!   Well this week we have a real treat in store:  the Leith Massif Traverse.   Only Three Hills:  Pitch, Holmbury and Leith.  Oh yes, and Staple Lane.  It won't be a faster or longer ride than usual, but there is a bit more ascent.  36.5 miles and 2714ft ascent.  Base Camp Lunch is at The Bull, Ewhurst, and tea will be at Denbies.

As an additional challenge, I'm told that Coldharbour Lane is still closed for repairs after the water leak near the bottom.   Terry Lowe has kindly agreed to investigate if it's passable, but we will have a choice to make near the junction with Logmore Lane.

Ride objectives:  Upon successful completion of this ride, you should achieve increased VO2, Lactate Threshold, preparedness for the Hilly 50k, appetite for cake, ability to sleep, group decision making skills, sex appeal, and prospects for the British economy (due to improved profits at Denbies).

40th anniversary photograph:  to mark the Wayfarers' 40th birthday, a Cycling UK photographer will be taking a few group pictures at 11.00 outside Weybridge day centre.   If you could be ready to depart just before 11.00, and wear Sou'Westers tops if possible, that would be a big help.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Easy Riders - 22nd January

We left the day centre at West Molesey in good spirits despite the dampening of the heavy mist and took New Road up to Hurst Road  turning off at the roundabout along Sadlers Ride to join the Thames Path. After reaching Hampton Court Bridge we made our way into Bushy Park and took the track parallel to Hampton Court Road to come out by Kingston Bridge. From there we made our way through Kingston to Woodies at New Malden for a generally enjoyable lunch and thereafter made our several ways home. This was quite likely the shortest ride the group have ever made but the weather did not encourage us to venture further.


Thanks to Don for the route info, rendered on 'OSM Outdoor' map.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Coldharbour Lane closed

Coldharbour Lane was closed today due to a burst water main, flooding the road for maybe 200 metres, near the bottom of the hill.   Unfortunately there were no signs at the top of the hill, so I was faced with the unwelcome choice of going back up the hill, or trying my luck in what I was told was welly-deep water.  At least I got my bottom bracket washed!  It should be fixed pretty quickly, but best to check...

Mind the Gap please A's

Sorry to those that informed me about a situation regarding gaps yesterday I should have posted yesterday. The situation is still arising were we are not being aware of what is occurring around us. When coming out of Brockham I was informed that there had been a situation where a driver had been held up because of part of  our group.
I know we are allowed to ride two abreast and drivers should be aware of us BUT we still appear to be creating situations that could be avoided.
I know a conversation could ensue regarding our riding and other road users, so can we harden up on being aware of the position we put ourselves and other in.
Thank you
Geoff G

B Group - 22nd January

As we all exchanged recent blue skies for grey an encouraging number of riders braved the mist and murk for tea and bread pudding at Dorking Christian Center.

Suitably refreshed fourteen B riders eventually mustered themselves outside the church. Despite a marginally late departure we set a good pace down the High Street, across the A24 and through Pixham Village towards Westhumble.

Unfortunately the first casualty of the day occurred at this stage as Rob’s chain broke and he had to abandon the group to seek repair and sanctuary at Pilgrim Cycles.

Undeterred the rest of us made a determined ascent of Box Hill encouraged by a small group of very able ‘Tour de France’ style cyclists who sped past us on the way. After a brief respite at the top, amongst increasingly thick cloud, we continued along Boxhill Road then left towards Walton-on-the-Hill.

At this stage we took what should have been a scenic route along Hurst and Walton Road but persistent mist marred the views. Continuing alone Langley Vale Road we emerged at the grandstand on Epsom Downs and headed over and past the Beefeater pub on the opposite side. An undulating route along Tattenham and Shawley Way brought us to flatter terrain across Nork Park and into the back of Banstead.

The management of the ‘Woolpack’ had reserved an area for us to have lunch which was fortunate as the pub was very busy. No doubt the increase in popularity is in some way due to its recent extensive refurbishment. Nevertheless we were all eventually served, after an initial delay, in what proved to be very comfortable surroundings. It was good that Mike M and Jeff T were also able to join us.

After lunch some of our lady members decided to make their own way home so a smaller group of seven riders braved increasing thickening cloud and mist to embark on a shorter ride in the afternoon.

We headed on back up and across Epsom Downs and at this stage experienced our second casualty as Christine suffered a puncture. Fortunately Tim C came to the rescue to facilitate a repair in what were now increasingly declining conditions of visibility due to mist and fog.

A final quartet descended down Chalk Lane, around the back of Epsom Hospital and across into Epsom Common. After a minor tour of the Horton Estate we finally arrived at the Old Moat where Tony H treated us to some pre-birthday refreshment. Happy birthday Tony !

Many thanks to all those who joined me on my first ride as leader. Thanks to Tim C who operated as back marker and to all who volunteered to mark corners. The weather was not ideal and the views limited but nevertheless an enjoyable day out in good company.

Tim G

The dotted turquoise line on the map shows Tim's actual route to the Old Moat Café. After having fun with Christina's puncture, caused I suspect by poor quality rim tape very poorly fitted in her wheel, she and I skipped Tea and headed for New Malden.

Congratulations to Tim for getting off to such a strong start with planning and leading his first ride with us.

Thanks to Steve Duffin for leading a group of riders from North Cheam. I had sprung this request on him at breakfast time when it appeared that we risked having nobody at North Cheam who knew the way to Dorking well enough to lead.

After chatting to Tim G and others I would say that for Dorking we should consider starting out from North Cheam at 9 o'clock. This would give riders who have already had an undulating ride of over 20 miles in some cases, by the time they reach Dorking, more time to recuperate and enjoy their morning tea before tackling the mountains of Surrey. Something to discuss further.

~ Tim C

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

A's out of Dorking

Well, well, well just before me made it to Pixam Lane the puncture b-----d struck, it cannot be a fairy they are to kind. We had called ahead to The Farmhouse pub and given our order so we were on the timer for 1.00.
21 of us on the road again at 11.30 ish and we were away, the roads wet and plenty of mist but not enough to create a problem with visibility.
I had been concerned that the route I had reced may have started to be a road/climb to far, but hey ho let's keep going. We were riding in the countryside on quiet roads so what was to slow us down ---- SHEEP of course, we had stopped to chat about the route when what should we see but sheep roaming across the road we were due to travel along, a couple of would be shepherds set off on foot to round them up but appeared to be heading them up the road.
Shepherdess Jennie
Whilst this was happening a new route was seen to be in order. Chatting with Brian I decided that we would use part of the Tri Vets route via Three Arch Road and Pickets Lane were the puncture b.....d hit my back wheel with a slice of gravel. That's it so close yet so far, Mike R offered surgical gloves to keep my hands clean but I declined, prefer to suffer. Ken D kindly gave me a hand getting the tyre back on and used his retro pump."
Back on the bikes and and right into Cross Lane then first left onto a new road leading to Langshott Lane and The Farmhouse pub at the appointed hour of 1.00
They were ready for us, they had set up tables in a U shape in one of their rooms,  I handed over our list of names and lunch orders and surprise surprise when everyone had paid everything was in order. It wasnt long before we had sat down that the food arrived, really great service, and I think everyone
was pleased with what they were given

Lunch over with time for the photo call, so many people wanting the line up, even the pub wanted to take one for their website, photos taken a bit more air in my tyre and we were off, the return journey consisted of only one short climb up Horse Hill and then it was off to Leatherhead for tea on what I
hope was as flat a ride as possible given what could have been in the morning.
Thanks to Janice for the photo

Getting to the far end of Pixham Lane and we started to shed people, Leatherhead and the group was going to get smaller. Eight of us sat down to tea/coffee, all finished and off we went.
As must always be said a big thank you to those that corner marked and to Ged for back marking.
Geoff G.
PS The puncture b.....d had not finished with us, Simon was to suffer on his way home, getting caught out in the dark on Ashtead Common, on getting into some light he found a 1/4inch piece of flint in his rear wheel.
It really was a fun day for some of us but thanks to very good company I look forward to riding with you again soon.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Headley Road Closed

Headley Road from Epsom is closed @ Headley Common near the junction with Hurst Lane, with a big fence you won’t get around, over or under. So, if like me you were thinking of getting to Dorking on Wed this way, go via Leatherhead instead.

On a recce today I had the misfortune to have 2 punctures in 100 metres at the top of Bagden Hill (one flint, one thorn through a sidewall). I limped to Pilgrim Cycles to find that they close on Mondays, a fact that I knew but had forgotten. Still their porch is a nice place for tube changing.

Getting both tyres on was a bit of a struggle, but coffee & cake at Box Hill NT café, sitting in the sun restored my spirits.

Home via Headley was out of the question, so down Pebble Hill to Dorking Station beckoned. Halfway down came the third puncture, a lifetime first for me. The following cars were tolerant of my sudden deceleration and wobbly search for a place to stop, which I found to be nicely sunny and flat. This time it was a damaged tube, probably the result of my earlier struggles at tyre mounting.

Not many miles today, but warm in a January-ish sort of way.

Hope to see you Wed for a less eventful ride.

Advice from Tim G for B Group

My plan is to take a familiar route from Dorking via Walton-on-the-Hill to Banstead for lunch at the Woolpack.

Afternoon ride through parts of Epsom for tea at the Old Moat garden centre.

Tim G

A Group 22nd Jan 2020

Dorking to Horley

My first lead ride for some time, so bear with me if it seems slow.

Our destination is The Farmhouse pub, they have asked us to preorder so I shall have a copy of their menu with me, so if we could get in early orders I would love to get away at 11.00, what hopes with having to phone in the order.

We travel out along Pixham Lane to the Reigate Road and turn right onto the Brockham turn off. Please be careful along this stretch and leave gaps.

We shall be covering routes we have done before, as well as Strava I used Surrey Cycle Guide No.5

We cycle out to Woodhatch then take Pendleton Road to cross the Brighton Road at Earlswood, it is from here we head to Philanthropic Road, where there is a very steep section to start with, please be aware regarding your selection of gears, all those that are better climbers than myself please go ahead. We continue to Hogtrough Lane and Sandy Lane before desending Mid Street, I have given all this detail as I am concerned that the route is narrow and carries some traffic, for those that do go ahead if you stop to let us catch up choose somewhere safe.


We hope to arrive at 1.00, it is approx 22 miles out and about 17 miles back to Leatherhead for tea so should be home in the light.  


Saturday, January 18, 2020

No PBs for anyone up Critten Lane...

.. except for tree climbing. The top end was a bit of an obstacle course this morning with several trees across the road.

Friday, January 17, 2020

2019 attendance records

If anybody is intending to give me their Wayfarers attendance scores for 2019 please do it as soon as possible.

If you'd like a copy of the multi-coloured list of dates and elevenses venues to assist you with this please let me know and I'll email it to you.

For A and B groups scores are recorded fairly accurately. For C Group the scores have been reliably kept since the beginning of March so this message is aimed mainly at Easy Riders who would like their scores for January and February taken into account.

Thank you

Tim (Deputy Bean Counter)

Thursday, January 16, 2020

B Group - 15th January

As expected, a damp start led to fewer riders.  Ten hardy folks joined me.     FIRST of all - my thanks to John Bassett for Tea and cakes at elevenses - Happy Birthday :)

We started off up Burwood Road turning right onto Seven Hills Road; a quick left and a right, to Weybridge station; down the hill taking the left hander into Addlestone Road.  From there we were on to well known ground (to many) on our way to Liberty Lane, over the Motorway (on a bridge!)   then into Row Town - where we stood aside to allow the A group to thunder by!!   Row Town leads into Woodham Park Road  and so to the Basingstoke canal at West Byfleet!   Onwards to Woking, using the towpath which runs alongside the canal!!!  Hu-hum! 

The Bridge Barn served us well - there is a lunch time menu which offers several main meals for £5, less than the price of a sandwich in many places. I believe we all appreciated the food and service. A pub worth more visits.

Richard found he had a puncture as we were leaving but managed to get to tea with out changing the tube!!  We returned to Victoria Way, right into Boundary Road, to Albert Drive, Sheerwater, leading us towards the station at West Byfleet.  Station Road led us to New Haw.  Once at the junction to Liberty Lane we were back to this morning's route.  Over the bridge across The Wey, in to Portmore Park Road, heading for Walton Bridge, onto and into Riverhouse Barn where we received a wonderful warm welcome from the 'lady in charge'...and the A group !!   Several sat outside whilst others sat in the chairs vacated by the A's :)

We were very lucky with the weather considering the wet start to the day - even sunshine in the afternoon :) :)

My thanks to all for joining me.... to the corner markers and Tim and Gill for back marking.  And a photo taken with Dave's phone by a passer by on the bridge at West Byfleet?!

Pam :) :)

This was the situation at 8:30!
Thanks to Dave Cullen for these photos

The luminous B Group
Clockwise route from Hersham to Woking and back to Walton

~ Tim

Wayfarers - we're 40years old in March!

If you didn't already know - or missed November's AGM, or haven't read the blog, the Wayfarers were formed 40years ago - in March 1980.

Geoff Gregory came up with some ideas to commemorate this historic milestone. Now, we'd like you all to be involved in celebrating this cycling achievement. Cycling UK are also keen to publicise our 40th anniversary.

To put you in the picture, watch out for these exciting initiatives:-

  • a Wayfarers Group photo - by CUK's professional photographer, arranged for elevenses at Weybridge on 29th January. Riders and non riders. Don't miss-out on this photo-opportunity!
  • a commemorative metal pin-badge - highly collectable and very reasonably priced! Simon Lambourn will be around shortly to take your orders,
  • an article in CUK Cycle magazine and Cycle Clips,
  • celebrating the anniversary at the Wayfarers Annual Lunch on 4th March,
  • a themed Wayfarers 40th birthday picnic ride on 26th August.

Make sure you get these dates in your diary - and leave a legacy for the next generation of Wayfarers.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

A Group to Windlesham - 15 January

After the rain and wind of the last few days, and waking to more rain, the omens didn't look good - but it turned into a great day out.

At Hersham birthday boy John Bassett treated us all to elevenses - thanks John. It was also good to see Mike Morley up and about after his recent health issues.

After riding to Hersham in the rain I wasn't expecting too many people on the ride but we ended up with nineteen. By the time I had sorted the ordering of the food for lunch it was well after eleven but the rain had stopped and stayed away for the rest of the day.

The first section of the ride was joining the red dots, passing Walton, Weybridge and Addlestone stations. Then on to Ottershaw and along Gracious Pond Road before the mighty challenge of Steep Hill. From there it was straight to lunch at The Sun in Windlesham (except for Simon who thought it was still too early so wasted some time mending a p*******).

The time spent ordering the food earlier really paid off as it came quickly and we were on are way again well before two.

Birthday Boy and his All Day Breakfast.

Geoff behind the camera, I've no idea what Simon is up to.
As you can see above, by now there were shadows and the afternoon weather continued to improve so we weaved a quiet intricate route to the south of Chobham. At one point it became a bit too intricate for some as I avoided a few hundred metres of busy road.
The only bit of off-road. Dry but lacking in headroom.
Then back to Stonehill Road and a northerly approach to Addlestone, before Weybridge and on to the Riverhouse Barn in Walton. Here fifteen of us squeezed into the cafe for tea and cake and jollity.

After a while the B Group turned up and joined in the jollity until after an hour we had to wend our ways home after a fine day out.

Thanks to Dave W for his excellent back-marking, and Simon and Geoff for the photos.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

A Group - 15 January

We will be heading to The Sun at Windlesham. They would prefer it if we could pre-order lunch so I will be lurking with a menu at Hersham. (No website)

Tea at the Riverhouse Barn, Walton.

All on roads which weren't too bad yesterday, but two nights of rain won't have improved things. So route may be varied to suit conditions. One Steep Hill guaranteed.

Advice for B Group

Tomorrow B Group will be having lunch at The Bridge Barn, Woking. From Hersham I shall skirt Weybridge, Addlestone, Rowtown  and on to the Basingstoke Canal to lunch.

Cheam and Morden Sunday Lunch - 9th February

A reminder. ALL are invited!

Elevenses will be hosted by Steve and Ann at their home - 52 Whitehorse Drive Epsom KT18 7LY followed by a ride to the Angel Inn, Angel Road Thames Ditton, KT7 0AU to be at the Angel Inn approx 12.30 for 1 o'clock lunch.   OR make your own way to the pub!

To book your place - you can give me an envelope with your menu choice and £12 -  as stated in previous notice which shows the 2 course menu.  OR email =  or text me 07900 335 256, with your choice so I can give you my bank details if you wish to make a bank transfer.

Pam :):)

As previously advertised, here is the menu:

Fish Pie - White wine, leek and cheese sauce with cod chunks, with a grilled cheese potato top

Braised Steak - Beef cooked in a rich meaty sauce

Nut Roast - Served with vegetables and carrot and swede mash

Chicken in a Mushroom Sauce - Grilled chicken breast with a mushroom sauce.

Pear & Apple Crumble - Served with custard

Pavlova - Raspberry and whipped cream on a meringue bed

Trifle - Home made trifle with cream, custard and a fruity topping.

This menu is £12 for the 2 courses

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Easy Riders - 8th January

We set off down Teddington High Street and crossed over the Lock onto the Thames pathway to Richmond. There we crossed the bridge to continue along the other side of the Thames to Isleworth into the welcoming arms of the London Apprentice for lunch. Afterwards we continued the ride through Syon Park and Brentford High Street to cross the Thames once again over Kew Bridge and followed the Thames to Mortlake. There was a little confusion about where to cross one of the various level crossings to get to Roehampton Gate café but we all managed to arrive and four of us sat down for tea.


Coast to Coast - Reading to Marlborough

At about quarter past ten on Friday I was back at Reading Station, ready for the next stage of my Coast to Coast adventure.  There are several good routes out of Reading, and, in the summer, I would have chosen to follow the Kennet and Avon canal, but several people had warned me that it would be mucky at this time of year, so I chose a different route.  This worked pretty well, but the path through Waterloo Meadows was wet and muddy, so I crossed over to the other side of the river at the next bridge, where I could see cyclists bowling along on a good surface.

This turned out to be an excellent cycle route, leading to the hi-tech business park south of the town, where every building was served by a good cycle path.  The path was wide, well surfaced and obviously well used.  Build it, and they will come ...

Passing the business park I took to quiet lanes for a few miles, picking up the Berkshire Cycleway at Grazeley.  This is like the Surrey Cycleway that we use for the Tri-Vets - a signposted route along quiet, pretty lanes that joins together some attractive villages.  

I passed south of Newbury, varied the route a little to avoid an ascent of Inkpen Hill, a classic which I have done before,  and began to wonder about lunch.  None of the pubs in the villages that I passed was open, indeed some looked pretty permanently shut.  I was pretty confident that I would find something at Hungerford, when, a few miles short, I happened on the Downsgate, next to a cattle grid and, uh, a gate on to the Downs.  It was bustling, with a cheerful rural crowd, talking of dogs and shooting and crops and tractors.  Poppy, the dog, sat next to me, with begging eyes.  One word from her owner, and she refused a chip.  But she sat there until the last one was gone.  I felt very welcome.

On through Hungerford, still served by the Great Western Railway, as it has been since 1862, and then along the Kennet towards Bedwyn.  Plenty of water in the Kennet.

Crossing the county border I picked up the Wiltshire Cycleway, following it as far as the Savernake Forest, William the Conqueror's hunting ground.

Here I rode along the Grand Avenue, arrow straight, with a gravel surface. Fascinating place, with a sort of star pattern right in the middle, where a number of these straight roads meet.

Only a couple of miles from here to Marlborough, where I was very fortunate with my travel arrangements for the return journey.  Maggie had very kindly agreed to drive down to meet me and so, to avoid the tedium of two drives in a day, I had booked us in to the Castle and Ball.

I chose the hotel because it was CTC's recommendation in the 1899 Handbook and Guide.  I have found this to be very reliable, as if a hotelier has been in business for 120 years or longer he has probably got the hang of it by now.  No Winged Wheel, and as far as I could tell from old photographs it has never had one.  But a good place to stay.

This morning it was Market Day  (Market: Tues and Sat.  CTC, 1899).  We had a potter around, and bought a Lardy Cake.

You don't often see them, these days.  But, as the Polish chap serving at the stall said, 'people do eat them'.  I guess he didn't...


            Carshalton to Reading

Friday, January 10, 2020

Wayfarers at Elleray Hall, 8th January.

These are the photos taken by Diane Hearn, the new Social Media Administrator at Elleray Hall, at elevenses on 8th January. Thanks to all for being so obliging. A photo and article will appear in their next Newsletter.

(I'd like to say Diane provided the caption for the first photo - but it wasn't!).

Wayfarers arriving early for Saturday's Fair.