27 November 2016

27 Nov 2016: Hatfield to Mangrove Green

There were seven cyclists at the Hatfield start and we were joined by two more, as we met Steve and Jackie coming in the opposite direction down Green Lanes.  We took a roundabout route to our elevenses stop at Whitwell via Ayot St Lawrence, Codicote and Nup End, arriving at Whitwell at 10.55.  Adrian, Tracey and Geoff were waiting for us there.  Tracey had been living it up in Bracknell the night before, so had not fancied the early start at Hatfield.

Freezing annex at Emily's Whitell 161127

It was cold in that barn

It then became clear that Whitwell might not be the best place for a morning stop on Sunday as it was full of noisy sweaty cyclists inside (not our group of course) and it was too cold to take the outside benches.  Those of us towards the end of the queue were directed to the barn/ bike shop for our tea/coffee.  We were not sure the barn was any warmer than the outside benches, but we did find two heaters to switch on, which improved matters a little, at least for those next to them.

Inevitably, the crowds at Whitwell meant we took longer than usual to be served and finish our refreshments, so we had a delayed start for our lunch destination of Mangrove Green.  We initially headed north to Great Offley and then back south down Lilley Bottom, before turning west towards Mangrove Green via Breachwood Green, where we took a short cut to go direct to the pub.

I was a little worried the pub would grouse about our higher than normal numbers, when we had not phoned to warn them.  However, they did not have many customers and quickly provided us with reasonably priced baguettes.   The King William has recently been refurbished and is now being marketed as more of a hotel (perhaps because of its closeness to Luton airport).  Nevertheless, it remains a good pub destination for cyclists.

Judy 27/11/2016

13 November 2016

13 Nov 2016: Hatfield to Hertford

After a very wet day on Saturday it’s relief all round to find Remembrance Sunday dawns sunny and mild.  Nine of us meet in Hatfield, including David whom we hadn't seen for ages, but missing Neil and Sue who sent in sick notes.

We set off on an anti-clockwise route taking the cycle path down to Welham Green, our only delay being Steve having to pull up his droopy leg warmers to stop his knees getting cold.

Theobalds Park 161113

It’s a lovely ride down Coopers Lane Road with autumn leaves falling thick and fast, past the numerous garden centres at Crews Hill and up Whitewebbs Road. We avoid the traffic in Waltham Cross by taking the bridle path through Theobalds Estate and find our way over the A10 cyclists’ bridge to the railway at Trinity Lane.  Here a dire notice greets us pointing out the number of near misses crossing the railway line. A footbridge is under construction and we hope we’ll still be able to get our bikes across.

Trinity Lane Crossing 161113

Dodging the dog walkers on the River Lea towpath we arrive at the Abbey CafĂ©. It’s our first visit here and it looks tiny, but goes back a long way inside so there’s plenty of room.  The food is good. 

Waltham Abbey 161113

Now for the most pleasant part of the route: up National Cycle Route 1 beside the river, past the farm and hundreds of Barnacle Geese, then over Clayton Hill. This gives extensive views over the valley and provides a tricky descent with several hairpin bends.

At Nazeing Mead, Steve gets a flat tyre and stops behind with Carol while we press on via Hoddesdon and Goose Green, arriving at The Six Templars at 1:15.  We find a cosy corner and enjoy a pleasant lunch, accompanied by a lively discussion on Brexit and Trump. Our missing pair arrives just before 2 pm, having found two punctures to fix.

It’s an easy ride back to Hatfield to complete the circuit.

Jon 13/11/2016

6 November 2016

06 Nov 2016: Hatfield to Wadesmill

We met at Hatfield for a lovely morning’s trip to Wadesmill, the weather was chilly and the wind was brisk but have no fear I had plans to warm everybody up really quickly. I took a new route leaving Hatfield, going up through the estates and down to Oxlease via Hillcrest and Briars Lane.

Bayford 161106

We made a nice steady pace to Wild Hill beginning to heat up nicely on the small climbs. Making our way through Little Berkhamsted, Bayford and Brickendon, very familiar routes but lovely all the same. The Woods in Broxbourne in autumn look absolutely spectacular, with leaves of all colours: golds, browns, yellows and fire reds all vying for the opportunity of catching your eye on such a pleasant part of the ride.

Brickendon 161106

We soon made Hoddesdon and the Morrison’s cafe there. After a relaxed break we headed towards Rye Park and went past the caravan park and sewage works. Soon we were looking for Kitten Lane to take us onto the road that leads to Hunsdon and right through to Widford. Just after this quaint village we took a detour to Perry Green then back around to Much Hadham. It was just a case of going up past Babb’s Green and through Cold Christmas and we were at lunch.

Lunch was a really nice affair with lots of chat and banter. Richard had to deal with a puncture (pesky thorn). But then we had the ride home to contend with. At first I was thinking of a nice jaunt out to Tewin and back through Panshanger, that didn’t happen as a light drizzle quite quickly turned Into steady rain, so we hot footed it to Hertford via Bengeo and sought out the more direct route through Letty Green, Cole Green Way and the outskirts of WGC.

Arriving back in Hatfield was a rather dribbley affair, but arrive we did. It was a lovely autumn ride on a rather windy day.

Neil 06/11/2016