Such was the enthusiasm for Constable Country just two weeks ago (or was it the lunch in the Henny Swan?) that Maurice very kindly organised a return trip, which was appreciated particularly by those who could not make the ride on 28 September. And so it was that Maurice and six other Windmillers, Andrew, Keith, Vernon, Sandra, Ken and Martin gathered at The Swan at 9.30am to ride clockwise on a slightly different circuit than before, starting off with a bumpy cycle track on a disused railway line towards Long Melford, which Martin’s back muttered about from time to time. Here is the route we took:
The luxury of tarmac again was greeted by all near Long Melford, through which we rode by mistake before taking an easterly direction – must have been the shock of seeing two Volvos involved in a minor smash at a road junction and wondering which came off the worst. Anyhow, we were soon back on track cycling through peaceful Suffolk lanes and remarking on all the ploughing going on, amongst other things including cricket, wildlife and cars of course.
Andrew’s bike was sporting new gear bits but this didn’t stop it making a few grinding and slipping noises at times which meant an examination was called for as we entered the pretty village of Kersey:
Fortified by a coffee (plus scones and jam for some) in the local pub, this enabled us to pedal with gusto up the steep hill out of Kersey towards another coffee stop just a few miles farther on in Boxford, the wonderful Coffee Box café which had been visited also on 28 September (and liked on Facebook).
The return journey took us through more delightful villages and past a magnificent church, St. Mary’s, in Stoke-by-Nayland, which has this claim to fame: One of the largest and finest churches in Suffolk, with a history stretching back to the 10th century, but refashioned in the Perpendicular style by the Howards, Dukes of Norfolk, in the late 1400s. Its tower dominates the landscape of Dedham Vale, and can be seen for miles around.
Thoughts of beer began soon afterwards but there was still some way to go, through Nayland and Bures before heading northwards back to The Swan at Henny Street. The weather was warm and sunny throughout and so what better than to sample a good pint of Doom Bar, courtesy of Keith whose birthday he had been persuaded to celebrate early rather than later. Thanks Keith!
And so another Suffolk ride came to a close. Thanks to Maurice for planning the ride, (and for getting there on time this time) and to Sinner Man Andrew for all his organisation .