Today we did 70 miles with 6,000 feet of ascent. It was a day of bright sunshine, blue skies with a brisk chilly wind on the nose from the North. It was a day of constantly changing scenery with dramatic views.
We left Bristol at 0800 and made our way up the A38 and out of the city. We were going against the flow of the traffic and moving quicker than the motorised vehicles. We made good progress and were soon passing under the M5 and out into the more rural area before reaching the original Severn Bridge.
The Northerly wind was strong over the bridge. The tide was flooding, forming swirling eddies and waves in the brown, muddy river below us. The cycle track is a bit rough and although we thought we had avoided a patch of glass, Steve punctured his rear tyre. The lump of glass stuck in the rubber was obvious.
I checked my tyre and removed a flint which hadn’t got deep enough to cause a problem before I removed it.
The cycle track continues around the perimeter of Chepstow and then once again on the road it climbs out past the race course.
The descent into Tintern was long and fun with a wonderful panorama of the Abbey and the Wye valley opening up.
The ride along the river – was very pleasant. There was little traffic – frequent glimpses of the river and lots of spring flowers by the roadside.
The next stop was Monmouth. Food was required once more – and Waitrose sandwiches and yoghurt hit the spot. North of Monmouth our route took us on smaller roads and became increasingly hilly. We had occasional tantalising glimpses of the Black Mountains to the West. One notable hill we climbed was at Grosmont but we were distracted by the spectacular magnolia blossom and vibrant aubrietia tumbling out over the cottage walls.
We dropped down into The Dore valley, stopping off for coffee and cake at Abbey Dore – where the 12th century Abbey buildings took us by surprise.
The area of Herefordshire we were passing through was very rural, some orchards, lots of sheep, Bacton Stud and some arable land where the soil was more pink than brown.
The road through the Golden Valley, occupied by the River Dore undulated constantly with the occasional steeper hill. At Dorstone we left the B4348 and climbed up a 25% hill (Arthurs Stone).
To be entirely honest – we pushed the bikes and walked up most of it. The view from the top of our onward route to the North was extensive. We stopped for more food making our table on a roadside gritbox. Even though this was a high point, it was out of the wind and warm in the sunshine. After a steep descent we crossed the Wye for the 4th and last time and battled our way against the every strengthening wind into Eardisley.
We passed through a huge variety of different landscapes today. It is one of the joys of this ride so far, to experience the very different environments we are passing through. The views change constantly and there is always something interesting to distract us from the physical exertion.
I usually ride circular routes on day rides, so the terrain tends to be similar during the route. On a linear course of 70 miles or so we are being treated to constantly changing terrain and wonderful views.
After Eardisley another 10 miles of gentle ascent into the wind was all that remained before we left the A4111 and descended into our destination town of Kington.
Kington is a small town which was largely closed. We tried to buy postcards but were told the town was too boring to have any!
The YHA is conveniently near the shops and we are the only occupants this evening.
Tomorrow’s weather forecast is good. The wind is still from the North but significantly lighter. We’ll be having extra porridge for breakfast as we know the first couple of hours will have some long, steep hills We are aiming to get North of Whitchurch in the afternoon and then continue to the Delamere Forest towards Frodsham.
The GPX file for today’s ride is here.