Past Ride

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Sun Jul 20th 2014
Wye and Severn 3*
John Talbot
Start Time:
9:00 am
Start Location:
Monthly 80-100km all-day touring ride, lunch and possibly tea stop en route, riding pace 18-22km/h (11-14mph). Not suitable for irregular riders. Climbing almost inevitable.

urple">*** Can you let me know by email or text if you are planning to ride so I have an estimate of numbers please. Thanks. ***

An away day for this month's touring ride. Starting from Gloucester exploring the Wye and Severn valleys including the Forest of Dean, Tintern Abbey and a crossing of the iconic Severn Bridge.

Parking will be at Castlemeads Car Park (£2 all day). Please note that Google has an error with the location of this car park if you search for it. It's actually on the A430 near the docks (

We will head westwards adjacent to the A40 and then for a short distance on the A48 before heading on quieter roads into the Forest of Dean where we will stop for elevenses (
Kaplan's Café in Coleford). This section will be undulating with a couple of climbs until we get into the Wye Valley. This glorious section of road runs adjacent to the river past Tintern Abbey to Chepstow.

I've arranged for lunch to be at the National Diving & Activity Centre with amazing views across the diving quarry. This will involve a short detour off the route from Chepstow but I hope it's worth it!

After lunch we cross the Severn Bridge (hope you have a head for heights!) and return to Gloucester via the flatlands of the Severn valley. Option for an afternoon tea-break/ice cream at the canal-side Black Shed café near Slimbridge.

Please note there are two short sections of well-surfaced towpath alongside the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal, road bikes will be fine though.

The total distance is about 120km (75 miles) but a large portion of it is completely flat with all the climbing early on. This is a touring ride so we won't be going flat out and there will be opportunities to stop and take pictures, take in the scenery etc.

This is going to be a special scenic ride. Hope you can make it!!
Adrian West
Andy Newell
Barry Gills
David Talboys
David Yearley
Des Higgs
John Talbot
Jon Townsin
Karen Townsin
Louis Hall
Mark Austin
Mila Yearley
Richard Pethybridge
Riders = 13

sunny intervals
Great turnout for the first running of this special ride. I was a bit nervous as I hadn't ridden all the route before and I hoped the stop strategy was going to work OK!

Weather was fab, warm and sunny all day (sun)

We had a bit of excitement on the NCN route onto the A40 right from the off when a steep incline caused a stall in the bunch and a mass falling of riders, Andy N tumbling down the embankment! No harm done and lots of laughter.

We had to cross the Severn to get on the right side which meant a few km on the A48, not too busy and a good surface. We were then onto small lanes until we got to the first real test of the day climbing up into the Forest of Dean. A long and pretty tough climb up through Littledean, but everyone took their time and their own pace and we regrouped at the top. This was followed by a fast descent and some undulations in the forest before the second big climb up to Broadwell, this was a fab climb, nice and steady with no interruptions.

We then had a fast sweeping descent into Coleford and brunch at Kaplan's Cafe, a proper cycling venue and a real gem of a find. After sustenance it was one small climb before we dropped into the Wye Valley and the lovely and pretty quiet road alongside the river. We stopped for photos at Tintern Abbey before the long draggy climb up away from the river before plunging down into Chepstow.

I tried to keep it secret when we went down the steep High Street that we would have to go back up it after lunch and I was hoping the lunchstop would be worth the detour. It was. Great views over the quarry watching the zipliners.

After more food the return through Chepstow wasn't so bad and the last big climb of the day was done before we dropped down to the Severn Bridge.

We took the crossing leisurely, enjoying the views in the sunshine and the exhilaration of cycling so high above the water. One of my favourite cycling roads, this was my 4th crossing.

I promised no more hills after the bridge and I don't think the initial undulations in the Severn Valley went down too well! But we were soon onto very flat, windy, narrow, hedged lanes through small villages and past farms.

There was some concern that the afternoon stop was not approaching quickly enough and we passed an open cafe in Berkeley unseen by me. I was sure the Black Shed Cafe wasn't too far away. It took a bit longer than expected to reach it and I pushed the pace a bit as I was getting worried it might be closed. But it was still open and it was a very welcome and needed break. Eating our ice creams and cream teas watching the swing bridge being opened to let the boats through.

After even more food we attacked the slightly rough and overgrown 2.5km of towpath to the next swingbridge which we had to wait for as it was open. More small lanes took us towards Gloucester and a final much better surfaced towpath alongside the canal took us into Gloucester Quays and back to the cars.

We took 6hrs cycling time for 130km which was pretty good going considering the early hilliness but everyone seemed to enjoy the ride and praised the route. It had a huge amount of variety, hills, wooded river valleys, abbeys, bridges, lanes, canals. It might become a regular ride on the CTC Wantage calendar :)

Thanks to all the riders for coming along and your fantastic company, it was a very friendly and chilled ride. Thanks to Des, Richard and David for sweeping at various times.

131.00 km (81.40 mi)
Ride Details:
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Start Locations
Wantage Market Place
Old Mill Hall, Grove
1* - Suitable for irregular, social, beginner or family riders, pace will match the slower riders. Not hilly or long. Expect rides up to 3 hours. Gentle exercise.
2* - Suitable for regular riders who prefer to cover some distance but at a more relaxed pace. Likely to be half-day rides. Solid exercise.
3* - Suitable for experienced riders, may be hilly, long, quick, or any combination! Likely to be half or full-day rides. Challenging exercise.
4* - Suitable for athletic riders who can ride safely above the 3* standard. Quick rides for the fit.
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