Sunday 30 September 2012

LBC ride reconnoitre

I have committed to organising a pedal around the lanes of Central Bedfordshire for the London Brompton Club, so I thought I would reconnoitre a route today and share it with those that had registered an interest.

The start and finish will be Flitwick railway station.

There are several other LBC rides organised in the forthcoming months but nothing in December so I chose Sunday 2nd December, the day of the Christmas wine sale at the Warden Winery; an ideal destination.

Here's the route...

The route is a little bumpy with a couple of local hills. The first is Flitton Hill, 2 miles in to the ride so everyone will have fresh legs.  It is very short and kicks up to a maximum of 8%:


The next is a longer climb out of the village of Clophill and for some reason has been titled the 'Clophill Ball Breaker' on Strava.  I don't understand the reason though as it only averages about 5% with a short kicker of 10%.

I frequently see a Buzzard and occasionally a Greater Spotted Woodpecker on this lane.  At the end of this road you get a great view of Haynes house, historically the stately home of Thomas Thynne but is now a centre for an Indian religeous charity.

My planned route passes Chicksands woods and Rowney Warren, with the excellent mountain bike area.

Our lunch stop will be at the Shuttleworth visitors centre in Old Warden. Sadly we won't have time to wander around the exhibits, the bird of prey centre or any of the other attractions, but the cafe and shop are good.
After lunch we will retrace a bit of the outward route but turn left to Southill and the Winery.  I spotted a Red Kite on the outskirts of Old Warden.

The local cycling club, Beds Road, were having an organised time trial today.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take any photographs of the Winery estate as the entrance gate was closed this morning.
I propose returning to Flitwick via the Wrest Park estate. The road from Upper Gravenhurst is an unpaved road, mostly concreted but with some sections of gravel and pot holes - Note to self and others - bring something in your bag to wrap around any bottles of wines you plan to purchase.

Wrest Park! I don't suggest we stop too long to admire the house and gardens but it would make a great backdrop to a group photo.

After the park the route goes via Silsoe agricultural college along an established bridleway and then back to Flitwick.

Total distance 28 miles, about 1150 feet of climbing, quiet lanes, a bit of bridleway, superb scenery, local historical attractions, a great lunch spot, what should be an interesting destination (the Winery) and plenty of opportunities to stop for photographs. :-)

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