Ride Report – Stourhead Mystery Tour

Saturday 19 October 2019

The sun was shining this morning, and the forecast suggested that it could be a dry day -a complete contrast to last Saturday!
There was world cup rugby on the TV so I couldn’t leave until half time which left me running late. Fortunately I met the Gillingham Wheelers club ride at Lawn cross roads and was able to hitch a lift in the peloton through Mere and on to Zeals arriving at Stourhead in plenty of time.
11 of us left Stourhead -still in sunshine, with Keith and Ron planning to peal off the group within the first few miles. Our route north through Kilmington, down Druley Hill then up again to Upton Noble soon brought complaints about the hills, just as well this was a mystery tour and no one knew how many more hills there would be!
What goes down into Batcombe must go up -this time to Cranmore, but we weren’t stopping at the train station. After crossing the A361, Slait Hill took us north of Torr Quarry on a road none of us had cycled before, up to the Old Wells Road -which was a bit busier than I had anticipated. A few more ups and downs through Chantry and Whatley then up Egford Hill before swooping all the way down to the river level in Frome for lunch.
The Black Swan CafĂ©, where we stopped for lunch is part of the Black Swan Arts Centre and served some suitably “arty” food like “Peanut butter and banana on toast with dried rose petals and maple syrup” (which was delicious). Everyone was very impressed with the quality, quantity and value of their lunch, though we did choose to sit outside as there wasn’t room indoors for us all in one group.
The inevitable climb after lunch brought us out on the B3092 and the mystery continued as were took a sharp left into a housing estate! Swerving round the bollards at the end of the road brought us onto cycle route 24 which we followed all the way to Longleat despite the closed barriers and no entry signs.
At Longleat preparations for the Christmas lights display were well under way, but luckily cyclists are not allowed to stop and gaze so we pedaled up the main drive, past the Bath Arms and up some more to Maiden Bradley, Kilmington and Stourhead.

Thanks to all who joined me including Rodney and Sarah (who usually ride with WW or GDW), that’s Charlie, Mike, Nicky, Peter, Roger and Jill.
And thanks to the weather for being dry all day!

Mary Emerson-Reed

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