Sunday, 23 April 2017

Burnham Variation 27

Although the weekly target was reached last Thursday, no reason to be complacent.  Such a nice day as well, and with a big ride scheduled for next week, time to get some miles in.  Went down to Burnham on Sea taking a slightly different way back than normal.

Anthriscus sylvestris

Also known as cow parsley, wild chervil, wild beaked parsley, keck or Queen Anne's lace, this plant is growing like crazy in the hedgerows not only in Somerset but across the UK.  There is a good reason for including this today, my friends Graham and Mick are heading down this way next Wednesday for a 50 miler around the Somerset Levels.  Unfortunately, Graham suffers from hay fever when this stuff is about so prior warning Graham, bring your anti histamine medicine with you.

St Andrew's Church Burnham.

Taking a diversion in Burnham through a place not visited before, Edithmead, came across this delightful little church in the village.  Apparently first used as a schoolroom, it was converted to a church in 1919.  Described on Wikipedia as, 'A beautifully cared for tin-tabernacle.'

Nice ride out again.  Covered 27 miles and it took me longer to do that then the winners of the London Marathon today.  What those blokes achieve is mind blowing!

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Magical Mystery Tour 37

In Leamington for a couple of days and arranged a ride out with Graham and Mick.  Well, Graham arranged the ride and after we met in Stoneleigh took us on a 'mystery' tour.  Quite a change having no idea where we were going.  Left Stoneleigh and headed through Baginton towards Coventry.  We did need to navigate the A45 at Toll Bar Island and after a 3 year major reconstruction it was a tortuous affair that required us negotiate three or four cycle crossings.  Carrying on through the eastern part of Coventry it dawned on me.  We were going to Coombe Abbey.

Coombe Abbey

Built as a monastery in the 12th century, it is now a hotel whilst the grounds are owned and managed by Coventry City council.  It is a Grade 1 listed building.  This view is looking down the main drive towards the house.  We came here to have a look around the grounds and try and find a heronry, the biggest in Warwickshire.

Coombe Lake.

A view of the rear of the Abbey looking across the upper part of Coombe Lake.  The grounds were redesigned by 'Cababilty' Brown in 1771.  A local man advised where the heronry was so we cycled through the grounds to find it.  Luckily there has been no rain for some time and the dirt tracks were rideable.  

Bird Hide

We found a bird hide, part the way round the lake but could not actually see the heronry.  We were treated to the site of nesting cormorants and them flying around with nest building material to the tree tops.  Couldn't stop there all day though, onward and upward.


A very pleasant ride around the estate.  A lot of fallen logs scattered about and we surmised it was to help in the management of the wildlife in the park, they were ideal hideaways for bugs, mice, voles etc.  You can see below how rideable the paths were.

Brandon Marsh

We left Coombe Abbey and followed a bridal path, a bit rough in places, over to Brandon.  The destination there was a very nice tea room adjacent to the offices and shop of the Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve, managed by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.  Tea and toasted tea cake were the order of the day, thanks to Graham (he had the token) and we sat in a window seat watching birds feeding.  Not too many of them unfortunately as workmen were building a hide nearby and that disturbed them.  Saw a reed bunting for the first time and long tail tits were feeding very close to the window.

Left the cafe and after negotiation Toll Bar Island again, made our way home, parting at Stoneleigh.  A good ride today, been to a few places I've not been before so a real Magical Mystery Tour.  Covered 37 miles and also exceeded the weekly target.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Out with the Old Gits

Tuesday means it's Old Gits Day.  Meeting on the promenade for a 'reverse' route to the coffee shop at Cafes garden centre.  A bit chilly at first, a touch of frost even, but toughened that out by wearing shorts today.  Must admit, short wearers were in the minority today, 10 in longs, 4 in shorts.  When the sun came out properly around 10, it was a slightly different story, the cold wind was behind us on the way back and it was really pleasant.

No photos today.  I did see a house martin searched on a telephone wire on the way back.  Would have been good to have captured that.  A modest 22 miles covered today.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Churchill Circuit 32

Easter Bank Holiday Monday, expecting the roads to be quite busy so going to hide away in the country lanes around Churchill to the east of Weston.  Going out their via Banwell, Puxton and Sanford and back through Winscombe, Loxton and Bleadon.  Nice day for it, a bit of breeze and a bit of sunshine.  

Strawberry Line

Heading back to Weston by a roundabout way to include the Strawberry Line.  At the old Sanford Station, there is a little heritage museum and a tea room.  There were loads of cyclists in both and after waiting for ages for tea and a bun, gave up and carried on.  Thought it odd that the Strawberry Line was devoid of cyclists but realised, they are all in the cafe!


M5 busy again.

After Loxton went over the M5 motorway and noticed the traffic heading north was almost tail to tail.  All the holiday makers ending the long break in the south west of England.  Couldn't help but feel a bit smug watching them creep slowly along.

A good ride today, 32 miles in all.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Usual jaunt to Burnham on Sea 29

Riding out to Burnham to get the mileage up above the weekly target.  Went out after lunch in the sunshine although there was a stiff breeze coming off the sea.  Being a holiday weekend, there was noticeably more traffic on the road, especially heading to and from Brian, the caravan capital of the universe.

Vintage Rally

As I left home, noticed there was a vintage car rally down on the Beach Lawns that border the promenade.  Thought it was worth a quick look and saw this fine old steam engine puffing away.  The engine, named 'Sonsie Quine' was made in 1920 by Clayton and Shuttleworth and is currently owned by Crosville, the coach firm.  It was in immaculate nick.
It was too busy to wander around the rest of the, mainly, cars but there looked to be a wealth of Ford Carpris, Austin Maxis and A40s, MGBs and the ubiquitous (well used to be) minis.

Nesting Swans

The route to Burnham normally goes over the Somerset Levels and today was no exception.  Just before the village of Mark, on the Vole Road, noticed that a pair of swans had returned to a nesting site they have used for the last couple of years.  Will watch these with interest to see how many eggs hatch out.  Not a terribly good photo unfortunately as they are more tucked away behind the reeds than normal.

Weekly target achieved, completed 105 after doing 29 miles today.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Recce ride for the 3 Cyclists 50

With the forthcoming visit from 2 of the 3 Cyclists, thought it prudent to check out a proposed route ready for when they come down to Weston in about 10 days time.  Went to the Strawberry Line and cycled south to Axbridge.  Down to Wedmore and across to Burnham for tea and toast.  Not a bad day weatherise, dull with a westerly breeze.


Always nice to see this climbing plant when spring gets under way.  This was in Wedmore in Grant's Lane.

M5 getting full.

Traffic was backing up on the southbound carriageway of the M5 motorway between Weston and Burnham as I went over one of the bridges.  The traffic in lane 3 was stationary, the rest was slowing up.  Dangerous situation, all it takes is a seconds lapse of concentration and at least a minor 'shunt' will cause havoc, not only on the M5 but all the surrounding towns. Except if you are on a bike of course.

Covered 50 miles all told, with another 2 to add on the day to take in a Shapwick Nature Reserve.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Old Gits acting normal 25

Well as normal as can be.  Not a lot to report today.  Went the tried and tested route around Banwell, Sanford and Puxton stopping for tea and toast at Caffles.  It has been dry for some time so the Strawberry Line was very rideable, even on a road bike.  One of the Old Git had a birthday today, 83 years young and going strong. Must be all the cycling we do!  As is the custom, free teas all round which was a bonus.  No photos worth taking unfortunately.

The weather was good today, bit of a chilly wind but loads of sun.  Covered a fraction under 25 miles.