Ride Report – Saturday 12th October

David went on this afternoon leisure ride and writes:

Iain and Milton were at the start point where the Brampton Valley Way (BVW) crosses the A5099 when I arrived, followed shortly by John C suffering the effects of a bad cold, that he was sure would be the death of him.

We followed Iain along the newly tarmacked section of the BVW towards Mill Lane going under the recently completed railway underpass that has been designed to allow passage by bicycle or walker even when the river overflows with a raised section just wide enough to get through and under.

NCN Route 6 as it goes under the Northampton-Long Buckby railway line

The Brampton Valley Way (NCN Route 6) as it goes under the Northampton-Long Buckby railway line

While heading up towards the Cock Hotel Brian joined us as we began the urban cycle ways of Kingsthorpe, passed the University Campus and through Moulton to Pitsford Reservoir.

Urban cycling in Kingsthorpe

Urban cycling in Kingsthorpe

The ride round Pitsford Reservoir on the gravel track provided a pleasant view of the sailing boats as the terrain gradually changed to woods and tarmac again crossing the dam to the Willow Café for refreshments.

Around Pitsford Reservoir

Around Pitsford Reservoir

After a brief look at what the cycle shop had on show, we took the rough track trail connection back from Brixworth to our BVW start passing Brampton Halt and the trains along the way. A lot of varied and interesting sections from Iain’s led route.

Merry Tom Lane connects Brixworth to the Brampton Valley Way

Merry Tom Lane connects Brixworth to the Brampton Valley Way

Ride Report – Sunday 5th May

Iain Dawson led this ride – “A Ride of Two Rivers” – and writes:

There were five of us ready, outside the Canoe Centre, for this trip on Sunday morning and the weather was looking promising as well. Better than it did last time I tried to lead this ride anyway.

After a short deviation into the industrial estate, we picked-up National Cycle Route 6 in Great Houghton, rode on past Salcey Forest, and down through Haversham on the north side of Milton Keynes. Then we turned onto a gated road that brought us out by Stantonbury Wharf and the Grand Union Canal. We followed this, more or less, half way to Willen Lake, the only snag being that whoever drew the Buckinghamshire street map didn’t know where the bridges over the canal were! Redway navigation is tricky at the best of times, because you never see the street signs, but to have bridges spring up out of nowhere? That’s a new one on me! Anyway, after a couple more pauses to check the map and the signs on nearby streets (thanks Karen and Dave), we found a sign, an actual sign, for “Willen Lake” and were duly delivered to the café there.

Refreshed, we took to the Redways once again to cut through a corner of the original Milton Keynes, with its 12th-century church, and past the Open University, which wasn’t quite as exciting as I’d hoped. We did, however, get to see a lot of the greenery that Milton Keynes has to offer before we cut through the car parks at the west end of the shopping centre and headed up past Linford Wood to the old railway line that now serves as a pedestrian/cycle link between northern MK and Newport Pagnell. A short ride from there – up through Sherington and Emberton Country Park – saw us installed in our favourite Olney café for lunch, sitting out in the sun. I have to say, each time we crossed the Ouse I was getting more and more tempted to drop down to it and take a dip. The weather was magnificent for May.

With only the few miles separating Olney (on the Ouse) from the Canoe Centre (on the Nene), we set off with just Cogenhoe hill left requiring any real work ahead of us and we had an uneventful final leg back to Northampton to finish around 4pm. Not bad for a 52 mile ride taking in some very congested Redways with a couple of navigation errors thrown in to temper the pace.

Brisk ride on Saturday morning, 13th April

Phil Letts will be leading this ride and writes:

We start at 9.30 a.m. from the Brampton Valley Way (BVW), at the crossing of the A5199 near The Windhover, for a brisk ride of 35 miles.

The route follows or shadows the Midshires Way – all of which is now on good road surfaces so off-road bikes are not required.

We go out via the Bramptons, Nobottle, Flore, Gayton and Roade to Salcey Forest for a coffee stop after 25 miles.

We return following the National Route 6 through Quinton, Great Houghton and Northampton to the BVW after 10 more miles.

Phil is on 07867 388592.

Upgrading the Brampton Valley Way Cycle Path, part 2

At the end of CTC Northampton’s morning ride last Saturday, Iain Dawson and I continued back to The Windhover along the Brampton Valley Way (BVW) to see the improvements where the BVW goes under the Northampton-to-Rugby railway line.

This crossing has been notorious for many years – a complete mud-bath – and, let’s face it, a local disgrace since the BVW is part of the National Cycle Network Route 6.  It’s been pretty much impassible in all but the driest weather and, even then, you’d want an off-road bike!

We were pleasantly surprised.  Here’s the start of the underpass approached from the south:

IMGP5669Iain shows how it’s negotiated:

IMGP5671and how you emerge on the other side:

IMGP5673Once you’ve emerged, you can see why it used to flood so often – it’s where cycle path, railway line and river all merged:

IMGP5675This is the edge of Kingsthorpe Local Nature Reserve, which has splendid views:

IMGP5676IMGP5677The cycle path then swings up to run alongside the railway line:

IMGP5680and the view remains good:IMGP5679All in all, a very welcome improvement!

And work looks well underway to complete a nice tarmac surface between here and the A5099 crossing, further north near The Windhover.

Upgrading the Brampton Valley Way cycle path

The Brampton Valley Way (BVW) is being upgraded in at least two places in Northampton: where it crosses the A5099 near “The Windhover” pub and where it goes under the Northampton-to-Rugby railway line to the north of King’s Heath.  The BVW is a “linear park” that follows the disused railway line connecting Northampton and Market Harborough.  It forms part of National Cycle Route 6 (NVR6).

Here’s what was happening today at the A5099 crossing:

IMAG0201IMAG0202IMAG0203IMAG0204One of the workmen confirmed that the intention is to widen the cycle path and provide a tarmac top.

Ride on Saturday morning – 22nd December

Phil Letts will be leading this ride and writes:

Start  9.30 a.m.  Brampton Valley Way (BVW) by “The Windhover”.   Brisk club ride – 35 miles. 

This is ride follows or shadows the Midshires Way all of which is now on good road surfaces so road bikes required.

Route links the Bramptons, Harlestone, Nobottle, Flore (coffee break) Bugbrooke, Gayton, Blisworth, Roade to Salcey Forest for an early brunch/lunch (25 miles)

Then the return follows the National Route 6 back through Quinton, Great Houghton and Northampton to BVW (10miles)

Phil is on: 07867388592

Report – Ride to Cyclists Carol Service – Sunday 9th December

A first for everything: a card-carrying atheist enjoying riding and taking part in the (61st) Annual Carol Service of Leicestershire & Rutland CTC!

Brian, David and I met at “The Windhover” at 10.00 a.m. on a bright morning.  We’d planned a simple ride along the Brampton Valley Way.  A mountain bike along this track is slower than a road or touring bike along the lanes.  Enjoyable though, once in a while – and you can chat as you ride.

IMG_0007Brampton Valley Way – at the Kelmarsh Tunnel

By 11.20 a.m. we were at the Waterloo Farm Café and met up with Max and Pete from CTC Kettering and our very own John Cutler.  Refuelled, we took the road route through Market Harborough to Great Bowden and SS Peter & Paul’s.

IMG_0014Great Bowden church – SS Peter & Paul’s

Chicken stew for lunch in the church hall and then into church!  A welcome from the vicar (Rev James Shakespeare), seven carols, six readings (one by Max), a brilliant prayer (May God bless Sustrans!) and a nice address from the vicar.  He quoted from “Little Gidding” – so Shakespeare quotes T S Eliot (boom! boom!).  Tea and mince pies in the church hall.  Fellowship renewed, new friends made.

IMG_0025The Carol Service

A fairly slow cycle home.  John was on his Brommie – for the Brompton Valley Way (groan! groan!).  And we arrived back at The Windhover in the dark.  Great stuff!

Thanks to Peter Witting and CTC South Leicestershire who organised the service; Robert Sulley and CTC South Leicestershire bell-ringers; Rev James Shakespeare; the members who provided the refreshments; and David for his photos!