Exercise has been a low priority recently. Other things happening around, good stuff, but still not exercise. So after a respite of about 3 weeks or more I thought it time to get back on my bike. Many people visit the Cotswolds every year as a holiday stop-over. It allows them to indulge in some celebrity spotting (if they’re lucky) and they can wander round shops full of junk masquerading as antiques. The real antique shops have polished wooden doors and shaky shopkeepers in pince-nez glasses and are engulfed in silence. The yesteryear stuff shops are crammed with everything from Squirrel Nutkin cereal bowls to postcards of the Beatles and………….stuff.
The Cotswolds also has, slipping silently between its cream and glorious piles, miles and miles of country roads linking the main arterial roads. Lithe concrete veins, essential, secret.
I’m still discovering these – and this is where my bike rides come in. This morning’s exercise is a prime example.
From home and into my first village, Fairford. A lovely thriving village with a “pinch point” in the main road only wide enough for a cart, just about, has a Market Square, and stands on the River Coln. Fairford floods.
Then into the country proper heading north to Quenington where The Keepers Arms keeps a good beer and food and is very busy in summer.
Up the hill and through Quenington and down the other side into Coln St. Aldwyns.
The valley between Coln and Quenington is quintessential green England and is beautiful. A good walking spot. The New Inn at Coln is excellent. Food ………mmuh (kisses fingers).
Out up through the top of Coln and onwards towards Northleach. The road undulates between fields of waving corn. I drop down into another quiet valley and come across a hawk standing proud on the outstretched grey limb of a dead tree. A treat to be in his countryside.
Before reaching Northleach I make a sharp right and head down towards Aldsworth. I startle a gorgeous mottled deer in a field and she heads for the cover of the hedgerow and then I too am hidden as I climb through dark woods to the brow of the hill and then down into Aldsworth. A lovely little village nestling quietly in it’s own space.
(Sherbourne Arms, Aldsworth……..copyright al partington )
A quick U-turn and back up through a hamlet called Cockle Barrow and back towards Coln once again. Coln to Quenington and I take the Cirencester road out which will afford me the chance to turn south towards Marston Meysey. This is an old photograph but MM is exactly the same today.
The Old Spotted Cow at Marston Meysey is a super pub with great food and beer.
From MM it’s about 4 miles home. The route is a circuitous figure of 8 and about 28 miles in total. I think I saw about 30 cars in all and most of them were at the rare points where the route traverses the arterials.
I cycled this route during the morning but having listed the pubs to visit en-route it’s a definite that I’m going to repeat it one summer’s evening. Have a go yourself if you’re around these parts.