Thirty Dorset Villages by Gareth Jones

Sunday the second of August brought a perfect day’s weather for a ride out billed as a ride through thirty villages, though Geoff clarified that to mean thirty-two settlements – some no more than hamlets and I wonder what they made of us!

We were a select party of nine - Geoff, Steve, Ian, Dave, Linda, Jim , Kim, Jeremy and myself. If we thought that it was going to be a lightweight potter round the villages then we were mistaken. Geoff briefed us in Dorchester saying even though much of the ride was on roads under thirty miles per hour, we would need full concentration as there were plenty of hazards in the shape of gravel washed out from field onto roads, farm traffic, mud, poor visibility, and tight corners with head-on traffic. The advice on road positioning on single track lanes was stick to your side to avoid weaving to and fro across the gravelly centre. All of the briefing proved necessary. Together with a lovely mix of ‘A’ and ‘B’ roads where good progress could be made. Ed.

For reference the points on our route were : Came Down, Broadmayne, West Stafford, Crossways, Bovington (no tanks – phew!), Bere Regis, Winterbourne Kingston, Lower street, Winterbourne Whitchurch, Hilton, and Ansty where we stopped for a cracking bacon buttie at the Fox Inn. This first leg was delightfully free of traffic.

For the second leg and refreshed we headed for Bulbarrow where Linda was presented with a Master Rider certificate – to which some of us can only aspire! We carried on to Hazlebury Bryan with gorgeous views over Stoke Wake, encountering as we did a group of horse drawn buggies for which we stopped, and some lost young bikers who we temporarily joined! On then to Kings Stag, Pulham, and Duntish, then Glanvilles Wootton, Middlemarsh, Lyons Gate, over Batcombe Down to Holywell and the very busy A37 crossing over to Evershot where we went cross country to Beaminster.

For the next leg we took to major roads to Netherbury, Melplash and Bridport and on to the fabulous coast road through Burton Bradstock to Abbotsbury and Portesham where there was a fair bit of tourist traffic which gave us a chance to practice overtaking before next week s masterclass.

The final leg took us past Hardys Monument, through Martinstown, Upwey and ending in Littlemoor with a photo-stop in the Co-op car park. Some of us then opted for ice cream on the seafront at Weymouth.

All in all a ride of some eighty-eight miles through some of the loveliest hidden corners of Dorset – thanks Geoff.

 

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