Past Ride

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Sat Nov 19th 2016
Easy Saturday Afternoon Ride - Abingdon Special 1*
Steve Swanton
Start Time:
1:00 pm
Start Location:
Culham Lock car park, OX14 4NE
To add variety to our easy rides programme, this month a ride in the area around Abingdon. We'll start from the small car park just on the north side of Culham Lock - please beware of height restriction barrier at the entrance.

We'll cycle into Abingdon and join NCN 5 by the Guldhall (possible pickup at 1:20pm from Abbey Meadows car park - let me know), out to Radley Lakes. We'll be following a route used regularly for the Abingdon Spring Cycling Festival through Radley and Sunningwell, with an extra loop out to Cothill and Gozzard's Ford. We'll return to the centre of Abingdon by a back route and stop there for tea. The final leg will be on NCN5 again along Peep-o-day Lane to Sutton Courtenay and back to Culham. The total distance is just under 18 miles. If you fancy a longer ride, why not cycle over to join us.

Note that over the winter the easy rides will start at 1pm. Lights are recommended as it gets dark surprisingly early at this time of year.
An excellent turnout of 14 riders on a cold November afternoon for our 1* Abingdon Special. Fortunately, there was some autumn sunshine as we set off through Culham village and into Abingdon. After the slightly awkward crossing of Stert street by the Guildhall, we picked up NCN5 through Abbey Close and out along the Thames. After crossing back over the river, the Sustrans route follows the trackbed of the old Abingdon branch. The surface has become a little rough and at one point was a little muddy from accumulated leaf litter, but generally ok and this still remains a lovely way out of Abingdon. We soon reached Radley Lakes and had a brief stop by the viewpoint to see the birdlife – it was notable to see cormorants sitting on one of the low islands not far from the shore.

We continued on-road along Thrupp lane and then through Radley village. Just before Kennington we turned into Sugworth Lane for the longest climb of the day, taking us around the edge of Bagley Wood and up and over the A34. We had a rest to catch our breadth at the top. Shortly after this Steve B joined us, as we continued on and down into Sunningwell. This is my favourite part of the route with lovely views across to Boars Hill to the north. You’d hardly know we were only a mile north of Abingdon. By now the sun had disappeared and there was a distinct chill in the air, so we did not linger on our tour around the perimeter of Abingdon airfield (though Whitecross, Cothill, Gozzards Ford and Shippon). Back in Abingdon, we followed a quiet route through Albert Park into the Town Centre.

The Lounge Cafe in Bath Street, which had been recommended to us by Judith and Phil Jeffery, was conveniently at hand. They weren’t busy and were able to accommodate all of us without any prior warning. We all appreciated the opportunity to warm up. It proved an excellent and efficient tea stop; they served us quickly and it was good value too. But in November, the days are short and we could not linger too long.

We left Abingdon following the Thames along NCN5, passing the marina and then joining Peep-O-Day Lane, which brought us out onto the road between Drayton and Sutton Courtenay. We continued along the shared-use path, rejoining the road as we came into Sutton Courtenay. An atmospheric ride through the village soon brought us back over the Thames to Culham and the end of the ride, a few minutes after 4pm.

Thanks everyone for a very pleasant afternoon. Thanks too to David for sweeping. The route was new to many and we will try to do the ride again sometime in Spring or Summer.
28.65 km (17.80 mi)
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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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