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Retired, work part-time or shifts, enjoy being out in the countryside? Then cycle the lanes and byways of Cheshire and surrounding areas with Chester Easy Riders: you won't get left behind.
Chester Easy Riders is an independent cycling club affiliated to Cycling UK. We cycle every Thursday throughout the year with moderate and brisk day rides of 40 to 80 miles.

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Wednesday, 15 June 2016

9th June 2016: Ruyton XI Towns (mod)

There were 9 riders who gathered at the (now refurbished) Tea Rooms Café in Chirk for the first time this year – Trevor, Chris, Paul, Dave H, Keith B, Steve T, Brian Macca, Dave and Liz. No-one had a route, but the two Daves agreed to fettle one down to Ruyton XI Towns, using a combination of Dave H’s map and Dave P’s knowledge of the lanes.

So it was that we set off in bright sunshine along Church Street, heading for the Llangollen Canal. Safely over the aqueduct, we carried on along the towpath for longer than usual, only leaving it after we’d gone under the A5. The path was dry, but in several places, coarse hardcore had been put down, which made for difficult riding, so we were please to regain smooth tarmac. Passing Henlie Hall, where you can stay in ‘Woodland Lodges’, we went on to Hindford and Welsh Frankton and thence to Lower Frankton. Skirting round the old airfield at Rednal (and the old Westland Whirlwind helicopter), we cycled on through Haughton, Wigmarsh and Wykey, dropping down the hill into Ruyton X1 Towns and arriving at The Talbot  only 90 minutes and 17.5 miles after leaving Chirk.

To the delight of our beer aficionados, the Talbot is now a Joules pub, having been refurbished by the brewery and re-opened last December. The present tenants have been in place for only a month or so and they were a bit taken aback by the arrival of 9 hungry cyclists, especially since they were expecting ‘a large party’ at 12:30.  They decided to get our orders to the kitchen first and so we were soon seated at two tables with drinks, awaiting lunch. This arrived quite quickly and the opinion of the group was that the quality was good, but probably not up to the standard required for an entry in Steve H’s guide [It’s already in there, Steve]. Lunchtime conversation was wide ranging, covering amongst other things wind farms, the EU and the TT races. Dave P suggested that the afternoon ride should be a little longer (30 miles was mentioned) and this prompted another round of discussion between the two Daves – well, shouting across the pub would be more accurate. Fortunately, the yummy mummies had decided to take their offspring and eat outside, so no disturbance was caused.

Photos by Brian MacDonald
So it was that we re-traced our wheeltracks out of Ruyton towards Wykey. The hill going up seemed to be much steeper than when we came down before lunch – something to do with the added weight we were carrying, perhaps. Turning right before we reached Wykey, we crossed the River Perry and climbed out of the valley; another steep hill just after lunch – thanks Dave! Riding through Weston Lullingfields and on to  Stanwardine in the Wood, we were fully immersed in the delightful lanes of north Shropshire, which are thankfully bereft of the Chelsea tractors found so often in the lanes of Cheshire. Arriving at Cockshutt, there was a short stretch on the A528 before we peeled off right towards English Frankton. At a sharp left just before we got there, Dave H suggested that we divert to the café at Ellesmere for an ice cream, a suggestion that was given the unanimous support of the group. Ice creams, cake, ginger beer and tea were consumed in the beautiful lakeside setting basking in the afternoon sun. Suitably refreshed, we started for home.

The route took us out of Ellesmere on cycle route 455 which we followed for only a mile or so before turning off past Duddleston Hall to reach St. Martins. Passing the parish church, we crossed the B5069 and headed for Pont-y-blew, crossing back into Wales as we did so. This provided the ‘sting in the tail’ that Dave H had mentioned (quietly) a bit earlier. The lane drops down into the valley where the River Dee (or should I say Afon Dyfrdwy) runs and the climb out of the other side and over the A5 is steep, sapping any remaining strength from our legs.

Arriving back at the car park, we had run 44 miles on a warm, sunny (mostly) day through some quite lovely lanes. Thanks go to both Daves for an excellent ‘off the cuff’ ride.
See route map and/or gpx file download.

ST

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