Old Harry Rocks at Studland led by Jeremy Weekes
On Wednesday 26th June nine riders ventured a mile and a half on farm tracks and foot paths to the headland behind Old Harry on Studland. This was only possible due to the kind permission of Steve Smith the tenant farmer of Manor Farm, and an old school friend of Jeremy’s. Eleven riders set off from Dorchester via Owermoigne, Wool, Wareham, Corfe Castle and Studland to Manor Farm Tea Rooms. At the tea rooms, two decided to remain whilst nine rode on.
Fortunately the weather was good and the tracks were dry. However, if a right hand was used with gusto dust was easily raised, as Paul found out when Jeremy made off in front of him when the cliff path opened out. Riding at a steady fifteen to twenty miles per hour seemed an adequate and safe pace to ride providing there were no walkers. The grass and gravel path is like a wide bowling green avenue in places, now being much wider than it used to be, as the National Trust has decided that walkers are more important than crops.
Once on the headland the nine riders and ‘Bob’ (Neil’s friendly pooch who had come along for the ride in his special top box) had a magnificent panoramic view of Studland Bay, Poole Harbour, Bournemouth Beaches and as far as Hengistbury Head and the Isle of Wight. Pictures were taken at the headland by two walkers who were very interested in both the bikes and ‘Bob’.
The return ride was at a similar pace until they caught up with a mounted horse rider. Uneventful, but obviously incurring the visible wrath of the horse rider.
All together again at Manor Farm Tearooms for the best Dorset Apple Cake ever. At this point Jeremy has to declare an interest as Steve’s wife Julie, who bakes all the cakes, was taught by Jeremy’s mother and the farm house where the Smith’s live is where Jeremy grew up. The indoor seating area of the Tea Rooms is what Jeremy remembers as the milking parlour!
The Group then split up and four riders returned via Swanage, Langton Matravers taking in the view of Corfe Castle from above, dropping down the steep and twisting road into Corfe itself before reaching Wareham then forking off to Bovington across the heath then on to Crossways and back to Dorchester. The others had various reasons to head straight back, something about Cider was mentioned! A round trip of sixty five miles covering a wide variety of roads and surfaces in beautiful Dorset Countryside on a lovely day with sunshine and light winds. Thank you to all the riders and ‘Bob’ who supported the ride.
Manor Farm Tea Rooms are open Thursday through to Sunday 11.00 till 5.00 in season and the old farm building provide a very pleasant backdrop to the seating area in the yard. http://www.creamteaclub.com/studlandteashop.htm