11 May. 32 miles through quiet Hertfordshire lanes

Another team of 11 Windmillers  gathered at The Golden Fleece in Braughing at 9.15am, earlier than usual in order to place their orders for lunch with landlord Pete (who sometimes rides with us).  Having got our priorities right we then proceeded in an anti-clockwise direction towards Hertford to shed a few calories before piling them back on again a few hours later when celebrating birthday boy Andrew’s big day.

The formidable team comprised centre forward / captain Maurice, wingers Tom and Brian, forwards Keith and Rick, mid-fielders Ken, John B and Lawrence, backs Sandra and Martin, and goalie Andrew. Donning their kit they were soon clocking up the miles on a picturesque ride that Maurice had created through quiet lanes, yet close to large areas of population at times. But, as a Hertfordshire lad, this was familiar territory for Maurice who knew all the back doubles including bridleways, river paths and car parks. Here is the route taken:

Bike ride 11 May 2017

After traversing quiet lanes to Hertford the team then cycled down the towpath alongside the River Lea as far as Ware to fill up with excellent coffee and cakes.

Bike ride pic 4 11 May
Birthday boy Andrew, Maurice and Rick full of the joys of Spring

Bike ride pic 5 11 May



Bike ride pic 1 11 May
Martin and Ken scratching in Ware
…whilst the others looked on with amusement

Suitably fortified, we then continued down the Lea to Stanstead Abbotts stopping to admire Amwell Nature Reserve, a former gravel quarry and now one of the RSPB’s foremost sites for watching a mix of inland and marine birds – well worth a longer visit. Amongst the sightings that day was a cuckoo, cormorants and bar-tailed godwits.

Twitchers at Amwell


Amazing what an ex-gravel pit can become

Then it was time to turn northwards back to Braughing via Widford and its attractive church

…and stands the clock at ten past twelve and is there a pint of Southwold awaiting at Braughing? (with apologies to Rupert Brooke)

and then crossing the River Rib at Maurice’s old stamping ground, Barwick Ford, where his grandfather once filled up his traction engine trailer with water.

Bike ride pic 3 11 May
Barwick Ford

After 32 miles we were back at The Golden Fleece where we received a warm welcome and tucked into an excellent lunch, washed down with a large round of birthday drinks supplied courtesy of the birthday boy himself. Thanks Andrew!!

Thanks also to Maurice for organising the ride and to Deputy Dawg Andrew for getting us to the starting line on time.

Revd Holy Moley Martin


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