Start time: 9.30am Meeting point: Brampton Valley Way, Welford Crossing, NN6 8AA Distance: 52 miles Refreshment Stop: Fawsey Hall Average Pace: Around 13mph
Join me this Sunday for a ride to the aptly named Napton-on-the-Hill in Warwickshire. I can promise a stunning route with surprising vistas and a couple of “hidden classic” climbs – although overall this is a fairly flat and gentle ride of 52 miles.
The tea/ snack stop will be at Fawsley Hall (menu here) at 33 miles. Please note this isn’t the cheapest place, but I think it’s worth waiting for, and spending a few extra pence to enjoy the distinguished surroundings. You may wish to bring some snacks in case of half-way hunger before Fawsley.
Please remember you need to book with me either by email or on the Leaders’ WhatsApp group beforehand. Covid restrictions still apply, so we will travel in groups of six and ask you to socially distance, outdoors, at all stops.
I look forward to your company if you decide to join us.
James C is leading this mostly Off-Road ride and writes:
Start time: 9.30 a.m.
Meeting point: Hunsbury Hill library, Overslade Close, East Hunsbury NN4 0RZ
Distance: 32 mls
Refreshment Stop: Delapre Abbey (Courtyard) at 23 mls
Average Pace: To suit riders, but not especially quick
Time Expected Back: Around 12.30pm
Please confirm if you wish to join the ride by contacting James, or replying to this email.
“This Saturday’s ride will be a mixed on-and-off road route suitable for gravel bikes or similar. We’ll start at East Hunsbury Library and go straight off-road into the Penn Valley, only emerging on road again at the Toby Carvery roundabout. A short section of road and we’re back into Wootton County Park, Grange Park SuDS and Foxfield Country Park. Another couple of hundred yards of road and we make use of the Courteenhall estate’s bridleways which take us to the Quinton Green and from there it’s a short hop on road to Salcey. Here we do 2/3rds of the cycle path around the forest and end up in Pidington where we join the main road to take us to Great Houghton. Then it’s up to the surprisingly nice Brackmills Country Park, through Hardingstone and into Delapre Wood. We follow the woodland track alongside the main road and pop out at the entrance to Delapre Abbey, our food stop.
Delapre Abbey have closed their main Orangery café but are now operating a takeaway in the coachyard and there’s also a concession offering hot food. Once we’re finished here we can either head home or finish the loop by following the Nene to Upton Country Park, taking the new cycle paths through the floodplain to Kislingbury and returning on the gravel road back to Pineham, the Canal and Hunbury Hill to get back to the start.
This isn’t a technical route but a lot of it’s on rough surfaces with a mixture of loose gravel, compact gravel, grass, dirt and tarmac. The ideal bike would be a gravel or cyclocross bike but a mountain bike would also work (a bell is handy too if you have one). The route won’t be suitable for road bikes. We should be at the café at around 11:30 and won’t be going especially quickly”
Fourteen riders met at Moulton Co-op on a cool but sunny day. Pre registration meant we could set up three groups on the road, Milton leading the brisk, Peter B the briskish and me with the steady group. The first two groups opted for the longer hilly route which was out through Holcot, Old, Harrington and up through East Fardon and Lubenham before the big climbs up to the Laughton Hills. The single track road then dropped down (and up) to Naseby.
The steady group followed a similar route but split up at Walgrave into a steady and a moderate group, the moderates taking a turn to Naseby via Clipston. Unfortunately the steady group followed the longer route on their Garmin by mistake. The first group arrived at 11.30am on time at the Old Vicarage followed shortly by the other two groups. However, the last group arrived somewhat later ready for a rest and a much needed coffee.
The Old Vicarage at Naseby did us proud and we sat on a sheltered patio almost to ourselves in glorious warm sun enjoying a plentiful supply of coffee served with either home made scones and cream or bacon rolls served with all the trimmings. We were made very welcome which made for a very sociable break. This set us up nicely, ready to ride back in our various groups.
The weather was great, the roads were particularly quiet which made it a lovely ride though some of the best scenery in Northamptonshire. What better day to be out on a bike in good company.