Cycling - 2016 Rides

24th November Wotton, North Nibley, Cam, Purton, Oldbury

This ride showed that you can see plenty of beautiful scenery on a route starting and ending in Lunch at The Lammastide Thornbury. We cycled to Lower Stone, then up to Wotton via Damery. The stop at the Wotton Farm Shop felt very warm and welcoming. It was a bit hilly as we headed back towards North Nibley, then took a right then left to take the lanes avoiding the B road. Next Stinchcombe then the cycle path down to Lower Cam and across the A38 to Slimbridge. Familiar lanes took us to Purton and lunch at The Lammastide. The food was excellent and the company jovial. Back into the chilly air and home via Berkeley, Hill and Oldbury. 37 miles. Thanks for a nice ride to Ken.

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10th November Chepstow, Caldicot Castle, Redwick and return

Arriving in Undy A very flat ride into Wales led by Phil on a largely dry and pleasant day. It was interesting to cycle through Caldicot Castle after a good coffee stop at Chepstow Garden Centre. Along back roads parallel to the river. Most took the gravel path on NCN4, but two of us were more cautious (unnecessarily as it turned out). We had a pleasant lunch at the Rose Inn at Redwick, then a return via a more northerly route and then back over the bridge. A pleasant 45 miles and not too hilly.

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13th October Castle Combe, Lacock, Batheaston

Today's ride was an interesting new route with many great views over the valleys around Batheaston. We met at Castle Combe car park (a useful free meeting point) and cycled the quiet lanes to Lacock for coffee at the National Trust visitor centre. The next stop was The Swan at Kingsdown. This is an interesting pub with a mining history and great views. The food was good too. Then down the long hill to Batheaston and Bathampton. Peter was bold enough to take us up the the long wood-lined hill that I see from my map is called Oakford Lane. Then through more attractive villages and back to Castle Combe.

It was a very interesting ride and we all made it up the hill (though some engaged the boost option!). 32 miles and a 2170ft ascent.

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22nd September Two Tunnels Ride from Bitton

The two tunnels in this ride are the Devonshire and the Combe Down tunnels opened a couple of years ago as a cycle / pedestrian path. The second one is over a mile long and is (I believe) the longest cycle tunnel in the UK. We met at Bitton Station, normally no problem for parking. Unfortunately the emergency services were about to practice a response to a train crash and the car park was closed. Luckily, we had no trouble getting our coffee.

We cycled along the path towards Bath and then turned right over the river on to the Two Tunnels Greenway. It is quite eerie cycling through the long tunnel since although lit, it is quite dim. It plays music to you in the middle section. We stopped for lunch at the AngelFish cafe near the Dundas Aqueduct on the Kennet & Avon canal - a very pleasant setting. The return is along the canal towpath ... a little bumpy, but cycle friendly. NCN 4 signs took us through the centre of Bath to the Bristol-Bath path and back to Bitton. The weather was pleasant and the route varied. It was a flat 24 miles. One to do every year.

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25th August Oldbury, Hill, Berkeley, Slimbridge

We met up at Olveston for a change (mid-way for us all). Round to Oldbury for coffee at the community shop. They provided excellent service, good coffee and cakes and plenty of outside seating. Via Hill and Stone to Tortworth for lunch. Then Tytherington and Gaunt's Earthcott to return. Lovely 35 mile ride (if you live in Thornbury) led by Moira.

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11th August Tockington, Tortworth, Slimbridge

Nice ride led by Ken. Over to Tockington, up Fernhill then via Tytherington to Tortworth for coffee. The un-hilly route to Slimbridge for lunch at the Tudor Arms, then back via Hill.
A very pleasant (and flat-ish) 42 miles.

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23rd June Wotton, Uley, Cambridge

Thornbury, Rockhampton, Lower Stone, Stone, Woodford, Damery, Huntingford, Swinhoe, Southend, Wootton farm shop for coffee, Old London Rd, B4058, A4135, B4058, then because of a puncture we took a short cut to Uley and then onto Far Green, Coaley and onto the George at Cambridge for lunch. Then back home via Slimbridge, Wanswell, Berkeley, Rockhampton . Finished at 4.15 after a mileage of 35.4 miles.
A good ride apart from the punctures. We all managed the hills.

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9th June Chepstow, Devauden, Portskewett

Today's ride into Wales was a repeat of the one we did in March led by Phil. We had all enjoyed it so much, we thought it worth repeating in warmer weather. We met up at the start of the Severn Bridge cycle path and rode over for coffee at the Chepstow Garden Centre. We then cycled to Shirenewton and north along the beautiful valley that leads up to Devauden. We looped back to Shirenewton along the ridgeway that gives tremendous views towards the Black Mountains. Eventually we started the long descent to Crick and the Portskewett Inn for a well deserved lunch. Then back to Chepstow and across the bridge. The weather was warmer than last time, but rather misty so the views were a bit hazy. Still a great ride though. About 41 miles starting from Thornbury.

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26th May Lydiard Park, Wooton Bassett, Marlborough

I think we all agreed that the ride today felt like a day's holiday ... the weather was fine and sunny and the route took us through some gorgeous countryside with great views.

Lydiard Park is a country house and extensive gardens owned by Swindon Council and has ample free parking (just off J16 of the M4). We cycled to Wootton Bassett for coffee ... a very friendly cafe called The Town Hall Tea Rooms (I think). Then on to the lane to Broad Town (at least ... everyone else did ... yours truly got left behind for a while). Soon out into the open countryside and up a long hill past one of the White Horses to cross the Ridgeway. We paused here to enjoy the views. Down and then up again (a bit steeper) and then on to Marlborough. Lunch was at the Queens Head. After lunch we joined cycle route 482 along the disused Chiseldon & Marlorough Railway Path.

We stopped for tea at the Three Trees Cafe and Garden Centre ... it was one of those rides. Then Peter discovered he had a flat tyre ... soon sorted. The last couple of miles was a bit traffic-heavy ... but it was getting near rush hour by now.

Thanks go to Alan for another great ride. 33 miles.

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12th May Lower Almondsbury, Shirehampton, Bristol Docks, Pill

The ride to Bristol Docks is very varied, and the lovely warm weather made it an excellent day on this ride led by Tony. The stop at Kings Weston House gives panoramic views over towards Avonmouth as well as excellent coffee and cakes. We descended to Shirehampton and then along the cycle path besides the Portway (a bit noisy, but you can't have perfection). We spotted the wicker whale sculptures that many had not noticed before (apparently they have re-surfaced after a journey from Millennium Square). We wound our way over the locks, past the Cottage and Bristol Marina to have a pleasant lunch sitting outside the S.S. Great Britain cafe.

We continued as far as the M-Shed then returned via cycle route 41 along the disused railway line by the river Avon. Since the Ashton Avenue Swing bridge is closed for refurbishment we made a slightly tricky detour via Brunel Way and on to the path again. The path on the south side of the river is a pleasant ride to Pill. We crossed the Avon Bridge and then followed the cycle path through Lawrence Weston to Easter Compton and home.

It was a 45 mile ride from Thornbury, about 35 miles from Almondsbury.

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28th April Castle Combe, Great Somerfrod, Minety, Tetbury, Easton Grey and back

Alan's route from the Castle Combe car park led us on a loop through lovely Cotswold countryside, we hardly saw a car during the first ten miles. There was no opportunity for a coffee stop (!) but the Wheatsheaf Inn at Crudwell served us a pleasant lunch very quickly. On via Tetbury and then south back to Castle Combe. It was a long(ish) ride at 41 miles, but not quite the 50 advertised. All nine of us enjoyed the ride, and although the weather was a bit cold and windy, the rain held off.

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14th April Upton-on-Severn, Hartpury, Redmarley, Castlemorton and back

The ride went pretty well and we only had one violent thunder storm! Mercifully we found a disused petrol filling station with a large canopy and hardstanding intact. We saw out the hail and water deluge under there, so got wet but not drenched. We then rode the last few miles back to UoS in improving weather and the sun was shining again before we reached the car park. Boat Inn excellent for lunch. 35 mile gentle ride.

24th March Chepstow, Devauden, Portskewett

Today's ride into Wales was devised by Phil. We all met up at the start of the Severn Bridge cycle path and rode over for coffee at the Chepstow Garden Centre. We then cycled to Shirenewton and north along the beautiful valley that leads up to Devauden. We looped back to Shirenewton along the ridgeway that gives tremendous views towards the Black Mountains. Eventually we started the long descent to Crick and the Portskewett Inn for a well deserved lunch. Then back to Chepstow and across the bridge. It was quite a cold and wet day, but we all agreed it was a great ride, well worth repeating soon. About 41 miles starting from Thornbury.

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10th March Frampton on Severn, Nailsworth, Epney, Elmore

We all agreed that today's ride, led by Bill, was an excellent route. We started from Frampton and cycled the lanes towards Stonehouse. The route then took us along the Stroudwater Canal, which was a new and interesting path for most of us, then along the disused railway path to Nailsworth. We had a good coffee stop at the Egypt Mill. We retraced our route and then turned across the canal at Saul Junction to Epney for lunch at the Anchor Inn. We returned to Frampton having agreed that the optional loops via Elmore and Framilode were a very good idea.

A nice 38 mile ride.

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25th February Almonsbury, Kings Weston, Pill, Portishead

We met outside the church in Lower Almondsbury and cycled to Kings Weston House for coffee. Because of the danger of frost on the back lanes, we went via Cribbs Causeway - an interesting change. From Kings Weston it is down hill to Avonmouth and across the bridge. Moira led us via an interesting route through Pill, across the motorway and to The Royal in Portishead for lunch. There are great views from there across to the docks and the two Severn Bridges. We cycled back via the Marina and the nature reserve and past the rows of cars near the docks. After the bridge we followed cycle route 410 to Easter Compton where we went our separate ways home.

It was about 33 miles from Almondsbury and 42 from Thornbury.

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11th February Frampton Cotterell, Pucklechurch, Badminton, Hawkesbury-Upton, Wickwar

Beaufort Arms, Hawkesbury Upton The day started bright and cold and warmed up as the morning progressed. It was an interesting though quite energetic route devised by Chris. We followed the Bath cycle signs through Frampton Cotterell then route 410 for a while and up Coxgrove Hill to Pucklechurch. Quackers farm shop and cafe is about a mile further on. It is very cosy and friendly and recommended for a return visit. We headed east along route 17 to Hinton. The hill towards the A46 is quite taxing but we all managed it well. We turned north at Burton through Acton Turville, Badminton to Hawkesbury Upton for lunch at the Beaufort Arms. The remaining 10 miles across Inglestone Common to Wickwar and Thornbury was (on average) downhill. It was one of our more strenuous rides of late, but all eleven of us enjoyed it. A total of 35 miles.

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28th January Frampton Cotterell, Wickwar, Wotton-under-Edge

It's surprising how many different ways there are to cycle in a loop from Thornbury. Today's ride, led by Alan, was initially through Itchington and Froglands Cross, to pick up those from Tockington and Almondsbury. Then round to Frampton Cotterell and turning left to joint NCN 410 to Iron Acton. We headed towards Yate but turned off first towards Wickwar. The coffee shop there gave us quick service and nice cakes (especially concidering there were 14 of us by this point!).

We were running a bit late so took the more direct route to Wotton in time for the table Alan had booked in the Royal Oak. After a pleasant lunch (well organised by the staff at the pub) we headed home via Damery and Stone. It was a mainly dry and warm(-ish) day sandwiched between the bad weather we have been having. 30.5 miles for those of us who started from Thornbury (just a few hills).

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14th January Oldbury, Hill, Berkeley, Slimbridge

We started the New Year with a simple there and back ride to Slimbridge. Apart from a chilly west wind, it was a lovely day with plenty of sunshine. There were 10 of us on the ride and we got very quick service at the coffee shop in Berekley and The Tudor Arms at Slimbridge.
A very pleasant (and flat) 33 miles.

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