Past Ride

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Tue Jul 12th 2016
Tuesday Evening 2* Ride 2*
Steve Swanton
Start Time:
6:30 pm
Start Location:

Tonight, we'll follow the little-frequented road from East Hendred up to the Ridgeway to visit Scutchamer knob, a prehistoric long barrow, reputed to have been an important meeting place in saxon times. Although a steady climb from the end of the Ginge Farm track, this is probably the easiest of all on-road climbs locally to the top of the Downs . We'll head out via Charlton and Sustrans route 544 returning via the Hendreds, Ardington and Lains Barn. A few stretches of easy off-road but all manageable on a road bike. Round trip of just under 18 miles.
Adrian West
Andy Belcher
Barry Stanton
Des Higgs
Gareth Smith
Karl Blake
Steve Swanton
Val Smith
Riders = 8

sunny intervalsblack low cloudcloudy with heavy rain
Eight riders tonight on what started as a pleasant evening outing and turned into something more “character-building”!

Using the cycle track into Wantage, we followed the back route through Charlton to the start of Sustrans route 544 near the Nelson. We made steady progress through Lockinge, Ginge and along the Ginge Farm track. Then the novelty was turning right and following the road up to the top of the Downs. It’s a steady climb, everyone made it up ok and we were soon enjoying the views at the top - across Harwell and the vale to the Chilterns beyond.

Despite recent rains, the Ridgeway was largely dry, and we cycled the 100yds or so along to Scutchamer Knob to take a look. It needs some imagination now to visualise that the remains of the round barrow here was once the site of the local moot (or council) and an annual fair. Without the trees, it would have been a landmark visible from all around.

We’d been aware of dark clouds looming to the south as we had cycled along to Ginge, now they were getting closer. So we enjoyed the long descent down into East Hendred under darkening skies; the drop in air temperature was noticeable. Once in the village, we donned ‘proofs amid the first few drops of rain. It seemed to hold off while we toured the village and then took the path across to West Hendred. But as we turned uphill for the climb back to Ginge, the rain quickened. We sheltered for a few minutes under the trees at the top of the hill (Karl and Barry are getting used to this on rides with me!), then as it seemed to be easing we continued on. But it proved to be false optimism, as the rain then set in heavily. We sheltered briefly at the top of the fork at Betterton, before taking the plunge down into Ardington - it was wet and cold in the wind-blown rain!

Once at the bottom, the rain did relent and we warmed up slightly on the climb up to the Lains Barn cross-roads, before another cooling descent down into the Vale. Back in Grove at 8:45, we were wet through.

Thanks everyone for your company on one of those rides that will stay in the memory.
28.97 km (18.00 mi)
Comment on this ride


Written by : Karl Blake

Posted on : July 14, 2016 at 7:25 AM

Looking forward to the next drenching.......... I mean ride with you Steve 😆

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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