Old Bat Courier Service

It’s a neat 100k Audax ride between my house and my daughter’s house in Bristol. She needed some stuff for a walking trip to the Alps so I decided to ride up there with it.

The route

The route

I left home on the Dawes Galaxy tourer, with loaded panniers, in warm, dry, windless weather and headed upwards out of Dorset via Windwhistle Hill

Windwhistle Hill

Windwhistle Hill

and down into Somerset, crossing the A303 at South Petherton and on to Martock and Somerton.

I do tell the Ride with GPS programme, that I use to plan my routes, to stay on roads but from Somerton to Compton Dundon the tarmac dwindled and I was on an unmade drove road for a few miles.

Off-Road

Off-Road

Onwards to Glastonbury and across the Somerset Levels at Godney. I crossed the A371 at Easton and cycled up a rather precipitous hill to Priddy.  Thankfully I didn’t need the defibrillator in the red phone box

The phone box now housing a defibrillator

The phone box now housing a defibrillator

but it was nice to know it was there. There were fabulous views back over the levels once I got up there.

Priddy is a pretty village on top of the Mendips. There was also a newly built symbolic reconstruction of a sheep hurdle store which was used for the Annual Sheep Fair on the village green.

The newly rebuilt hurdle store

The newly rebuilt hurdle store

The onward route took me down to Chew Valley Lake and then following Sustrans 410 the Avon Cycleway. I ground up to the A38 and into Bristol through Ashton Court – stopping to admire the Fallow deer

Fallow deer at Ashton Court

Fallow deer at Ashton Court

and then over the Clifton Suspension Bridge – along Ladies Mile across the Downs and down to Gloucester Road. My route was 120k – with a couple of proper hills.

Our day in Bristol was spent at Bristol Zoo

Bristol Zoo

Bristol Zoo

and wandering round seeking out the Gromits

Crackin' picture Gromit

Crackin’ picture Gromit

and doing some bicycle maintenance.

My return route once again came over the Clifton Suspension Bridge, through Ashton Court,

Ashton Court

Ashton Court

down to Chew Magna,

Chew Valley Lake

Chew Valley Lake

and up onto the Mendips. Instead of going to Priddy I came down Cheddar Gorge which has to be the best way of descending the Mendips.

Cheddar Gorge

Cheddar Gorge

The bottom of the Gorge is very busy with tourists but it is concentrated into a small area and I zipped through it. Onwards to Wedmore and across the Levels passing Sweets, the most excellent cafe (didn’t stop), and onto Westhay where I left the B3151 and headed for Shapwick, crossed the A39 – distanced myself from the hill up to High Ham – it was very hot at this stage and on to Mulchelney – looking very dry and dusty. It was around here that I came across a cow in the process of giving birth being escorted from field to farm.

Cow about to deliver a calf

Cow about to deliver a calf

I had to stop at the garage in Martock to restock on drinks and have a sandwich as I was running short of sparks and it was very hot – my GPS gave an average of 27 Celsius with a high of 31! It’s about 2 hours ride from Martock to Burton Bradstock and there is no way to get from The Somerset Levels to West Dorset without going over Windswhistle Hill. The descent is quite swift and although its not quite downhill all the way to the sea, the landscape ripples rather than undulates so easy riding on the whole for the last 20k. So after 130k and some quite significant hills I arrived home.

Back to my sea

Back to my sea

Good fun– but I was quite pleased to lie on the sofa and watch the Anniversary Games rather than do anything more active in the evening!

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