Sunday 8th May to Lacock
by Jim Leese
“Weather looks good – no excuses!” was Linda’s rally cry on Saturday; however, the weather didn’t look so great Sunday morning. Hardest decision of the day – what trousers to wear as the forecast was hot, but it was raining.
Top of Town car park was packed with bikers, twelve of them DWDAM bikes including one pillion, and the weather was starting to look better. After the safety brief, perusal of the menu and route brief, we set off with Jeremy Weekes leading and Dave Luke as ‘tail-end-charlie’, illuminating the way with a plethora of lights, including some green fairy lights….
Weather was dry, but after the overnight and early morning downpours, there were plenty of puddles to avoid. Traffic was in full flow through Dorchester, resulting in a short stop to gather the group together on the Piddle Valley road before heading north then east taking the recently re-surfaced B3142 towards Puddletown. Left up the A354 before turning off in Milbourne St Andrew, going via Milton Abbas, Winterbourne Strickland and into Blandford. Lots of cyclists on the road due to the Wiggle Jurassic Beast Sportive cycling event in and around the area. The approach into Blandford was stunning as we crossed the River Stour in the mid-morning sunshine.
Once through Blandford, we continued north towards Shaftesbury along the A350 and had a brief stop for those with nano-tanks to top up with fuel. We followed the A350 up to Warminster, with the traffic building as we headed into Wiltshire, necessitating several short stops to allow us to regroup. As the sun rose higher, the roads dried out, and we skirted Warminster using the A36, before heading further north through Westbury re-joining the A350 round Melksham and up to Lacock where the George Inn beckoned. Plenty of parking round the back of the pub, we took up residence in the courtyard, enjoying the sunshine of the hottest day of the year. So far, an un-eventful 69 mile journey, no punctures, no breakdowns and nobody got separated from the group.
With an hour and a half set aside for us to explore Lacock, we enjoyed a welcome drink and took the oportunity to get some lunch and have a chat. Dave Luke, Frank Lee, Geoff Brazier and Jude Brooks decided to head straight back so left early. Talk turned to taking a more scenic, slightly longer route back via Amesbury and the A30. Steve Baker decided to have a wander around Lacock and wanted to make his own way back. Ron and Sue Harrington did not want to take the longer scenic route home, so opted to make their own way back leaving Jeremy, Jim Leese, Iain Kennedy, Tony Stoate, Nick Heafe and Dave Plowman to follow the hastily plotted sat-nav route on Jim’s sat-nav. As the sat-nav was on Jim’s bike, he took the lead.
The route bypassed Melksham and headed toward Devises on the A365 before departing onto a series of minor roads through Pottern and Littleton Panell before joining the A342 and A345 south through Netheravon and onto Amesbury. The sat-nav wanted to take the group along the A303, so Dave took the lead and steered the group through the scenic Woodfords, lined with a cool gently flowing river and dotted with appealing pubs. We didn’t stop, but perhaps should have. Jim lead again at Wilton, following the A30 west, with the Fovant badges clear in the mid afternoon sunshine. Re-joining the planned route through Shaftesbury, we remained on the A30 heading west and stopped for a cold drink at the Virginia Ash Hotel, Henstridge; the group had dwindled to 3, as riders dropped off when convenient to make their way home. The ride continued via Sherbourne onto the A352 south to Cerne Abbas where Iain made his way home, Jim peeled off at Charlton Down leaving Jeremy to ride home alone. The Garmin sat-nav made it a 167 mile round trip, although Jeremy made it 173 miles round trip to and from the Top of Town.
The hottest day of the year so far and a lovely visit to Lacock through verdant countryside, and an enjoyable ride on a wide variety of roads following a combination of planned and hastily plotted routes. Thanks to Jeremy for organising the ride.
Top of Town Car Park
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