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Friday, 26 September 2008


(Read pics L to R and down)

We are coming now to the end of September, a month in which, for reasons which would only bore you, I have found myself free to investigate various parts of this country by bike. I thought I’d share some of my rides with you, together with some pictures.

On 2 Sep I was in Suffolk. Starting from Sudbury, I followed the map and guide ‘Cycle South Suffolk’ which I bought in the Tourist Information Center for 50p (you will also find these routes shown in less detail on the Sustrans website maps). I chose the Lavenham Loop A1, about 30 miles long. The route took me through several pretty villages of thatched cottages and half-timbered houses, like Long Melford and Lavenham (pic 1).

I stayed overnight in Saffron Walden youth hostel, a beautiful 600 year old former maltings with oak beams, uneven floors and a walled garden (pic 2), where the warden told me that, if I came back after 11 pm, I could sleep in my car. Welcome to Essex!

The next day I bought at the local Tourist Information a map and guide, Cutlers’ Way (number 5 from a series of 21 Cycling Discovery Maps produced by the East of England Tourist Board). These maps cost £1.50 each but you can download them all for nothing from the Internet. I started this ride, which was 29 miles long, at Elsenham near Stansted Airport. It took me through Thaxted (pics 3-5), Debden and Stansted Mountfitchet with houses painted in pastel colors and a range of repeated patterns pressed into their rendering, a sort of external artexing (pic 6). I would never have believed that Essex could be so beautiful! By the way, don’t let anyone tell you that Essex and Suffolk are flat either!

I returned to Essex on 11 Sep, having previously downloaded No 21 of the Cycling Discovery maps, the View Finder Trail. This is an 18-mile long trail around Colchester, but I only did a part of it, including the Wivenhoe Trail (NCR51) between the tidal River Colne (pic 8) and Essex University campus. This trail features ten meticulously handmade paintings by local artist Michael Goodey, each one depicting a view on the route. I saw four of them, three of which were actually within the university campus (pic 7).

To be continued ...

1 comment:

Clyde said...

I will comment on "L to R and down" before anyone else does! When I put the pics on, it seemed to be allowing me to stack them in rows of 2. However, they ended up where you see them now, in a single column. Please let me know how to make better use of the space.