Todays route took us from just outside Newport to Chepstow, across the Severn bridge, into Bristol and down to Wells, a distance of about 58 miles with some pretty big hills involved. We met up with Bry’s friends David & Rosemary for lunch and were joined by Mike who had kindly come all the way from London to ride a few miles with us. The day started well with a hearty breakfast, at the New Inn, and a reasonably prompt departure. Unusually for us the first leg into Chepstow was nearly all downhill so we made good progress on this 14 mile section, including comfortably completing the final hill up to the roundabout on the outskirts of the town. It was here that we were faced with our first navigational dilemma of the day – should we go right, following the GPS and the road signs saying Bristol or should we follow our instincts and go straight ahead into the town – you won’t be surprised to know that we chose the latter! We proceeded to descend down the other side of the steep hill we’d just climbed, into Chepstow, around the one-way system and taking in many of the lesser known sites along the way. Having tracked down a local and asked their advice as to the best way to get to the bridge, we were somewhat disheartened to learn that we had to go back up the big hill to the roundabout and follow the signs for Bristol! We picked up the excellent cycle path which took us down to and then over the Severn bridge. Having arrived on English soil we set about trying to find the cycle path which would take us to Bristol, for our imminent lunch-time rendezvous. Clearly looking lost, we were approached by a father a son on mountain bikes, who turned out to be local ‘sustrans cycle path’ rangers. They accompanied us through the the labyrinth of paths in that area and deposited us at the foot of the lane which would take us directly to the suburb of Bristol we required to be in for lunch. Thanks guys, your help was very much appreciated and you are both excellent ambassadors for your local area. We reasonably quickly found David & Rosemary at the White Lion, but Mike was missing – later to be found up the road at the White Hart. Not sure which GPS system was to blame for that one! A good lunch was had whilst dodging the hail stones and then the three of us departed on our afternoon adventure. Across the Downs, with their magnificent Georgian merchants houses, to the suspension bridge high above the Avon gorge, built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel – a masterpiece of civil engineering. Then down through Ashton park and more torrential hail storms before our afternoon tea stop at the Moondance cafe, in Chew Magna. Better Bakewell tart would be hard to imagine! We departed the cafe in bright evening sunshine on the remaining 14 mile section to the cathedral city of Wells. Our route taking us passed Chew Reservoir and up over the Mendip Hills. Finishing the day on such a steep and sustained climb certainly created an appetite and a thirst, both handsomely sated by the Ancient Gatehouse restaurant, with it’s magnificent views across the close to the cathedral itself. A great end to a memorable day!
Some of the lesser known aspects of Chepstow as seen on our ‘diversion’!
Back to Blighty.
One of our Sustrans Ranger chaperones
Lunchtime rendezvous with David and Rosemary
Isambard’s bridge over the Avon ( in the lovely city of Bristol – OK Debs?)
A nice house in Ashton Park, just before the hail storm
Two GPS are better than one….or are they?
On route, with Mike, for Wells
and the the Baby-eating Bishop of Bath & Well’s little pad!
Stats for the ride: