Sunday 19th November – Ride to Woodford Mill

Milton is leading this ride and writes:

Start time  9.30 a.m.
Meeting point Moulton Co-op (Stocks Hill, NN3 7TB)
Distance 45 miles
Refreshment stop Woodford Mill (23 miles)
Pace Steady

This is only 45 miles, which we will take at no more than a steady pace (somewhere in the 12 – 14 m.p.h. range) to a fine coffee stop on the river at Ringstead where, as the sun will be shining and only the slightest breeze will be blowing, we will sit overlooking the river in style.  It’s not an especially hilly route either.

From Moulton we head to Sywell, Mears Ashby, Wilby and cross the river to Wollaston. Then it’s Wymington, Newton Bromsgrove, Caldecott and Chelveston.  We skirt the western edges of Raunds and cross the A45, before going through Ringstead towards the river and our coffee stop at the Mill.

Home is through Great Addington, The Cranfords, St Andrew and St John and then south through Burton Latimer.  We toy with the edges of Finedon before turning west along one of my favourite roads, The Slips.  To the Harrowdens, Mears Ashby, Sywell again and then home to Moulton.

We ought to be back by mid-afternoon, say 3 p.m. at the latest.  It could easily be by 2 p.m.

It’ll be good to see you.

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Ride report – Saturday 16th July

Brian went on this ride led by Iain D and writes:

A select group of four riders left Moulton at 9.00 a.m. on an overcast but warm and humid morning for a full day’s ride.  Soon after Sywell we met rolling hills through Mears Ashby, Castle Ashby and on to Olney, on relatively quiet roads.   Here we stopped for coffee and sat outside in the café courtyard enjoying toasted tea cakes as the sun came out.  Showing just how small the world is Anne and Ken discovered that they had both grown up in the same area of Lancashire.  The hills of Northamptonshire apparently have nothing on those in the north west!!  This was to be well tested later in the ride.

From Olney we headed north-east to Turvey and on to Carlton where we did a loop to Odell, Sharnbrook and through the picturesque village of Bletsoe before we turned back though Milton Ernest and more quiet roads.  We returned to the Emmaus Centre at Carlton for lunch at 1.00 p.m.  The weather was now warming up with blue skies and highs of 23C.  We were ready for a break.

After a very convivial lunch we headed up to Poddington and Wollaston before dropping into the Nene valley at Great Doddington.  From here it was all uphill via Wilby to Sywell which was the highest point on the ride, not that it was an obvious summit finish.

We arrived in Moulton at 3.45 p.m. after a pleasant day in the saddle.  Ideal cycling weather, summer at last!  Thanks to Iain for devising and leading the ride.

CTC Northampton in 1923

David, one of our committee members, has been researching the history of Northampton’s cycling clubs.  Here he republishes a 1923 article about the Cyclists’ Touring Club Northamptonshire District Association.  It comes from the Northampton Independent, a weekly newspaper which ran from 1905 to 1960.  It It was written by Mr B Clowes who was based at 5 Castilian Street.  The editor described him as “the assiduous Hon Secretary” of the association.

The Cyclists’ Touring Club popularly known as the C.T.C. was formed as far back as 1878, and in those early days of cycling laid the foundation of those rights and privileges which cyclists enjoy to-day.

Amongst the objects of the Club are the defence of cyclists’ rights, provision of special touring facilities, promotion of legislation for cyclists, publication of road books and maps, scheduling of hotels and refreshment houses (with tariffs), appointment of official repairers, insurance of machines and riders, and the supply of cycling information.

The Club has a paid secretary and office staff located in Euston Road, London. Here there is a reference library and touring bureau, from which members who apply are supplied with routes and the latest information regarding the district in which they propose to tour.  The Club has in various parts of the country local representatives, or consuls, as they are called, who are always ready to assist and advise all cycling and touring members generally.  So far as continental travel is concerned, the Club has reciprocal arrangements with the Continental Touring Clubs.

Amongst other things the Club gives legal assistance to cyclists, issues a very fine illustrated monthly gazette (worth the subscription alone) and publishes an annual handbook.

For fostering local interest amongst members there are a large number of district associations which are in themselves complete social cycling clubs.  The Northants District Association is one of the youngest and is now forging ahead.  It is managed by a local committee, who are at all times willing to give careful consideration to matters appertaining to cycling brought to their notice by members.  Club runs are arranged for Thursdays, Saturdays, and at holiday times tours are arranged.  During the time the Association has been in being, runs have been held to many places of interest in this and neighbouring counties, and many pleasant hours have been spent at joint runs with other Associations. Ladies are eligible for membership, and we have several regular lady riders. We have no hard and fast rules, the runs being “free and easy”, and there is an air of sociability and good fellowship throughout.

There are those who say cycling is hard work, but these are the people, one imagines, who never tried anything but a “dreadnought” and perhaps even then never gave their bicycle a chance to make the acquaintance of an oil can.  With a light machine, kept in proper trim and a reasonably low gear, one can comfortably cover a century a day.  We have met on some of our joint runs members who were doing considerably more.  We are an all-the-year round cycling club.  The bicycle has enabled us to get about this delightful county of ours (which as not so flat as some people think) in all seasons. We have revelled in her Summer and Autumn glory, and we have enjoyed the sombre beauty of her Winter.  We have found one hundred and one beauty spots in this and neighbouring counties, and have drank of their beauty to the full.  We have enjoyed the expansive views of the Cotswolds.  We have meandered along the pretty lanes in the Thame Valley.  We have seen the gorgeous scenery of the Wye, and some of us have ridden to the majestic scenery of North Wales.  We have a host of delightful memories of this country of ours.  All these pleasures and many more are open to the cyclist, and to belong to an organisation such as ours means congenial companionship in addition.  There are numerous beauty spots in and around the outskirts of the town with which a large number of cyclists and other lovers of the open road are totally unfamiliar.

Here, for instance, is an exceptionally enjoyable run quite near at hand of which many of our cycling readers will doubtless avail themselves. Leaving Northampton by the Houghton Road we cross the river at the Paper Mills – where bank note paper was formerly manufactured – and soon pass Great Houghton with its church built in an Italian style.  Proceeding uphill we reach Little Houghton: near the church are the moat and foundations of an ancient mansion of the Louches.  A pleasant run takes us to Brafield-on-the Green, and then to Denton, where there is a tortuous twist round the church.  We now enter the picturesque country of Yardley Chase, the old forest which bounds the county to the southeast.  The village of Yardley Hastings takes its name from the de Hastings, lords of the village in the 13th and 14th centuries.  Edward Lye, the famous scholar, is buried in the Church of St. Andrew, which derived its dedication probably through the connection of the manor with the Royal line of Scotland.  Two miles further on, at Warrington cross roads, we turn to the left and proceed to Bozeat, and from there to the pretty village of Easton Maudit.  The church with its graceful spire should be visited.  Restored by the Marquis of
Northampton in 1860, it contains a number of inscriptions to ancient families.  At Easton Maudit dwelt Thomas Percy, author of the “Relique”, who entertained many famous literary men at the vicarage, including Goldsmith and Johnson.  Dr Johnson spent several weeks here. We now go to Grendon to explore the beauties of Castle Ashby park and village; then return to Northampton through Cogenhoe.

Around picturesque Castle Ashby

Around picturesque Castle Ashby

Another good journey for the cyclist and a pleasant spin for the motorist is to be enjoyed in the Mears Ashby and Earls Barton districts shown on the map.  Leaving by the Billing Road, we pass on the left Abington Rectory, where Sir Douglas Haig used to visit as a boy when his uncle was rector, and soon reach Little Billing.  Here are picturesque cottages, a church with a Saxon front, and the remains of a 14th century Manor House. Billing Bridge – said to have been the scene of a fight in the Civil Wars – is crossed, and a climb takes us to Cogenhoe.  The origin of this name is Gucken, to spy and hoe a hill.  Further on Whiston, a very pretty village, is worth visiting.  At Castle Ashby gates turn to the left and cross the railway line and river. Earls Barton tower is the next landmark.  The “most characteristic piece of Saxon work in the land,” it is 1000 years old.  Cross the Wellingborough Road and proceed through pretty lanes to Mears and Sywell.  In Sywell Woods, Captain Thompson, a Leveller mutineer who broke open Northampton Gaol in 1649 and robbed the public coffers, was rounded up and, after a bitter resistance, killed.  We pass through Overstone and return on Kettering Road.  It is said that from a hill between Overstone and Great Billing forty-five churches can be seen.  The panorama is certainly superb.  Those who desire a pretty walk should take the bus to Ecton, walk across the fields to Cogenhoe, and return by train from Billing station.

Around Mears Ashby and Earls Barton

Around Mears Ashby and Earls Barton

Ride report – Leisurely afternoon ride – Saturday 22nd August

Milton, our Secretary, led this ride – originally planned by Brian, our Rides Secretary – and writes:

Five of us set off on a hot sunny afternoon on a loop from Moulton through Sywell, Mears Ashby and on to Great Harrowden, Orlingbury, Old and Scaldwell before stopping at Brixworth for coffee and cake.  We closed the loop and returned to Moulton by skirting the reservoir and shredded one of our tyres in the process – sorry Tim!  That section of path is getting a little too rough for “racing” tyres.

Lovely afternoon on the bike and good to have a new rider on the trip with us – see you next time Jim!

Ride to Woodford Mill and return – Sunday 16th March

Milton will be making his first outing as a ride Leader this Sunday with a trip he’s put together heading to the east of Northampton. Here’s his description:
48 miles only so hardly testing at all – a trip out east to find some roads less travelled by many of us.
Setting off from Moulton Co-op at 9.30 a.m., we take our usual route through Moulton and Sywell into Mears Ashby and then up to Little Harrowden.  Here we turn off to Great Harrowden and thence to Finedon on a little travelled track.  A dull mile on the A6 to Irthlingborough ends as we turn off to the Addingtons and from there to brunch at Woodford Mill near Ringstead where we had a fine dining experience two
or three months ago.
Then it’s up through Denford, across the A14 and into the quiet lands.  We’ll skirt Raunds and head for Chelveston, Caldecott, Newton Bromswold and Wymington to another refreshment stop at Podington Garden Centre. From there we lumber off to Wollaston loaded down with our purchases of plants, spades, wheelbarrows, greenhouses and the like, cross the river to Wilby and then via Mears Ashby and Sywell to home.
48 miles, but we’ve all been on hillier routes!
Milton is on 01604 416315.  Iain D, our Rides Secretary, is on 07909 992468 on the day.

Short, leisurely, family-friendly ride on Sunday morning – 28th April

Ian Macsporran, our Chairman this year, will be leading this ride and writes:

On Sunday morning (28th April) we meet at 9.30 a.m. outside Moulton Co-op for a short, leisurely ride suitable for all ages.
We will pedal the bike paths of Moulton and then go under the Round Spinney roundabout.  There are more bike paths through a quiet industrial estate before we cycle alongside the Billing Brook.  Further paths take us past Lings Wood and Fox Covert Wood to a cycle bridge over Talavera Way.  We pick up a byway which will take us out to Ecton Lane.  We then descend to Sywell Country Park for a short break, after six miles.
The Country Park has picnic tables and it’s possible to buy a drink and a snack if you don’t want to carry them from home.  The toilets are fresh and clean, with hot water at the basins and warm-air hand dryers.
We’ll then return to Moulton on quiet roads via Mears Ashby, Sywell and Overstone, giving us eleven miles in all.
If we spend twenty to thirty minutes at the Country Park, then we’ll be back at Moulton by 11.30 a.m.  I’m grateful to John Cutler for sharing the greater part of this route with me about three years ago.  A map of the route is here.
The byway is the only part of the route that is not well surfaced.  There’s about 200 metres uphill on the byway and then 300 metres flat.  It’s not muddy.  If you wanted to push, it would be 500 metres at the most.  I took these photos today – Thursday.
IMGP6065 IMGP6064
Come and join us for this ride – bring a friend or relative – explore some of the cycle paths and byways on our own doorsteps – and be home with an appetite for Sunday lunch!