Last week we completed the England section of the National Cycle Network route 1. It’s taken us three weeks, over the past three years, to cycle from Berwick-on-Tweed, on the Scottish border to Dover. This latest stage, being just short of 350 miles, took us from Cromer – following the coast of East Anglia, around the Thames estuary, through Canary Wharf & Greenwich, via the Medway towns and the East Kent resorts of Sandwich & Deal – to Dover. The longest single day was 72 miles from Maldon to the Isle of Dogs. For me, the stand-out sections were: the ride through the gentle rolling countryside of the Suffolk Essex border, the route down the Lee Valley past the Olympic Stadium into the heart of the capital, discovering the previously unvisited southern stretch of the Thames Path opposite Canary Wharf and the coastal path from Sandwich to the busy cross-channel port of Dover. Although definitely not a birding trip, we did manage to clock-up a total of 86 species, seen or heard whilst speeding (an average of 10 miles per hour!) through the English countryside – for more details visit Aylmerton Nature Diary.
Here’s us at the start of this final section of the NCN1, from Norfolk to Dover
Our first night’s stay was at Beccles – picture of the parish church
Framlingham Castle – Day 2. Last visited 45 years ago when we took the kids from the Children’s Home on their summer holidays
One of our birding highlights was a pair of singing Turtle Doves in mid-Suffolk – having no proper camera this iPhone record shot is the best I could do!
On the approach into Maldon – Bry & Neil at the scenic Heybridge Basin
You do see nature up-close on a bike – this unfortunate Grass Snake was a roadside casualty
The route into London follows the Lee Valley from the M25 to the Olympic Park, avoiding any roads – quite remarkable!
A view of Canary Wharf (night four) – from the Greenwich side
Looking up stream to the Thames Barrier
Deal Castle – part of the Cinque Ports complex
Journeys end – arrival into Dover. Three weary, relieved but delighted bikers!
That’s it for England – next year we turn our attentions to Scotland and the next section from Berwick-on-Tweed to Forfar.