Past Ride

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Sun Aug 23rd 2015
Newbury Series - Le Grand 3*
David Smith
Start Time:
9:00 am
Start Location:
Newbury - see below for details and directions
This month the Newbury Series takes you on a journey to sights you wooden believe!

An early warm-up climb taking us to views in all directions is followed by a trip through the tranquil leafy lanes of Hampshire to the wide-open tank-sized roads of Wiltshire and the Salisbury Plain. Ticking off a couple of sights (optional stony track here) we will stop for lunch at around 60km at the Friar Tuck cafe in Amesbury - bring snacks for mid-morning fueling if you need it.
Our return route follows the Hampshire Avon north and traverses Plain territory again to reach Collingbourne Ducis where a steady climb to the windmill at Wilton rewards us with a refreshment stop.
The final leg is via Shalbourne and Ham and maybe we'll throw a couple of pimples in but really that depend on how the legs are feeling - we can put it to the vote.
If you let me know you intend to ride then we'll be sure to wait for you at the start.

Meet at The Chase National Trust Car Park (free), off Station Road, Woolton Hill.
From the A34: Follow this route
or directions below:
Driving south past Newbury on the A34, leave at the A343 junction signed 'Highclere, Wash Common'.
Turn left at the roundabout signed 'Newbury, Wash Common'.
Then 2nd left, signed 'Enborne Row, East Woodhay, Ball Hall' and also for The Furze Bush Inn and The Yew Tree Garden Centre.
On crossing under the A34, take the first left into Station Road. The car park is a short way down on the left-hand side.
More a demi-grande than a grande, but with some sweet surprises to make up for it...

Firstly, big up to all the guys for turning out with the knowledge that the day was not going to remain dry. With heavy rain coming up from the south there was no way we were going to miss it. However, undaunted we headed out. An early puncture was quickly dealt with before the climb up towards Walbury Hill which had us all nicely warmed up. Cruising down to Hurstbourne Tarrant and along to Vernham Dean, the rain arrived earlier than anticipated before the leg-stretching Conholt Hill. It didn't take long before the roads were rivers, and the feet were soaked. As it showed no sign of letting up, and finger-tips turned white, an impromptu coffee stop was called for and did thankfully arrive at last in Tidworth at the Chefs Delight. The staff batted not an eyelid at the arrival of 8 soggy-bottomed boys and girls dripping on their marbled floor, and we were promptly served hearty breakfasts, jacket potatoes and large mugs of steaming tea and coffee. Just the ticket! Recommended for any further adventures in this direction.

With the rain showing no sign of abating, the question had to be asked whether to continue outwards or start to head homewards. Although warm inside, heading further into wet and cold plain terrain was hardly an attractive proposition so the vote went to the latter. Google provided us with a route through Ludgershall to join our homeward route at Collingbourne Ducis and we were off, leaving a small lake and a 'Caution - Wet Floor!' sign in our place.

Clearly, having made this decision, the rain started to ease, making the climb along the Fair Mile true to its name followed by a freewheeling descent to Wilton Windmill corner. It was obviously too early for a refreshment stop which was just as well as we were too early for the refreshment cabin which doesn't open until 2pm. But we had a browse around anyway and a group photo.

After this things really started looking up. The sun came out for the delightful stretch through the villages of Shalbourne and Ham and the alternative tea stop at the bakery at the Crown and Garter in Inkpen was also bathed in sunshine, proved cycle-friendly, and provided 'unctuously delicious' cakes! Another recommendation for future rides!

At this point the group split into two, with a couple heading straight for home and the rest of us for a final Walbury Hill climb where I have to admit the rain did descend once more. The grande finale back at the car park was a low flyover by a Vulcan! So having lost a plain somewhere in the middle, we found our plane at the end!

Thanks to everyone for a really sociable and up-beat ride despite the conditions.
95.00 km (59.03 mi)
Proposed Route:"
Comment on this ride


Written by : Nicole Pethybridge

Posted on : August 23, 2015 at 6:52 PM

Great ride in very silly, wet conditions. I've still got a grin on my face from the lovely route, mad weather, great company and refreshment stops. Thank you, Nicole

Ride Filter
Start Locations
Wantage Market Place
Old Mill Hall, Grove
1* - Suitable for irregular, social, beginner or family riders, pace will match the slower riders. Not hilly or long. Expect rides up to 3 hours. Gentle exercise.
2* - Suitable for regular riders who prefer to cover some distance but at a more relaxed pace. Likely to be half-day rides. Solid exercise.
3* - Suitable for experienced riders, may be hilly, long, quick, or any combination! Likely to be half or full-day rides. Challenging exercise.
4* - Suitable for athletic riders who can ride safely above the 3* standard. Quick rides for the fit.
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