The Plough at Rede was once again the meeting place for this tour of sunny Suffolk lanes. Brian and Joyce, the owners of the pub, had just entered their 40th year of running it and it was good to offer them our congratulations on arriving for coffee at 9.00am and placing our lunch orders. Providing good food and beer in a wonderful location, a friendly welcome and great efficiency, it’s no wonder the pub has been so successful over the years.
Maurice, Brian, Sandra, Rod and Chris set off as Group A followed a few minutes later by Andrew, Howard, Roger, Simon, Deborah, Ken and Martin. This is where we went, clockwise:
Passing initially through the pretty village of Hawkedon with its church surrounded by green meadows we cruised down a valley before the first climb up to Somerton where Group B stopped to watch Simon experimenting with what effect gravity might have on a tyre dumped by the roadside. Luckily it rolled towards a ditch instead of careering down the hill we had just climbed.
Hartest Hill came next, which resulted in another stop at the top to regain breath, followed by a pleasant run through to Lavenham and onwards to Café Como at Brent Eleigh, which necessitated taking the busy A1141 towards Hadleigh. We were reminded of how careful we have to be whilst making rare use of A-roads when Simon was overtaken by a Fiat Panda as a car was coming towards it on a clear stretch of road, leaving barely an inch between either of them – a narrow squeeze indeed.
Café Como is a popular place for cyclists and deservedly so judging by the quality of the coffee and cakes, the oozy flapjacks being especially tasty.
The return leg took us again through delightful villages and lanes with some interesting architecture.
The countryside past Glemsford became quite hilly again, steep enough to tempt Roger and Martin to don skis at one stage given sufficient snow, with a splendid view towards Hawkedon at the end (main photo above).
Then it was back to The Plough to down a well earned pint and enjoy a good lunch, except for Deborah who had to head back, but we were joined by Suzanne who had cycled all the way from Abington and who had a strong head-wind for her return leg.
Thanks go once again to Maurice and Andrew for planning the route and organising us, and to Deborah and Brian for their photographs.