Thunder. Rain. Heavy rain. Just what you want on a morning. Four miles of gentle climbing to Newhaven. On another day, the view would extend for miles. I saw only the suggestion of landscape silhouetted against the mist and drizzle.
I found national cycle route 68 Just south of Newhaven. This time none of the rough-forest-track nonsense I experienced up near Kielder on Friday, here it’s a smooth-surfaced former railwayline that consistently looses height over its 15-mile run to Ashbourne.
Ashbourne is a pretty and busy Market town that could do with a bypass. I gave myself a tour, including the Ashbourne Treasures exhibition.
The day had brightened and I was treated to mile after mile of sunny, rolling country lanes linking pretty villages on my way down to the Trent Valley.
I turned down several farm shops and country tea rooms on the way to Burton-upon-Trent, thinking I’d have plenty of wonderful options in town, but its rough streets and bedragled precinct were on the verge of disappointing me until I spied a sign for Cafe B advertising its independentness.
After a bowl of pasta, coffee and carrot cake, I saw a different side of the town. Maybe approaching from the north with an empty stomach is’t the best way to experience it.
More beautiful, rolvling countryside took me through Coton in the Elms – no UK village is further from the sea – Clifton Campville and Austrey. I clocked up 750 miles for the trip in Sheepy Magna and took a break at Market Bosworth, where Richard III’s remains started their journey to Leicester Cathedral, after he’d been fiund buried under that car park.
Then on to Atherstone via the place the Ordnance Survey has named the centre of England at Lindley Hall Farm. A great day’s riding.
72 miles; 3,106 ft of hills.