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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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Thursday, 29 July 2021

29th July 2021: Marbury (mod ride 1)

We met at Meadow Lea café on a day sandwiched between a Wednesday of downpours and a Friday of forecast steady rain.  Miraculously, this Thursday’s forecast was dry, cloudy with sunny spells but with a stiff westerly wind.  That dictated a north-south route, and I’d worked out one to The Swan at Marbury. Many Easy Riders were at Meadow Lea, so a largish group of ten formed the mods.  Jim joined us for the first few miles, and the rest were Roy, Andy B, Alan, Dave H, Dave P, George, Steve T, Peter and myself.

We headed out to Waverton, then alongside the Shropshire Union Canal and into Tattenhall. From there we passed through Carden and into Tilston, and then took the old Roman road towards Malpas, turning left at Simmonds Green to arrive in No Mans Heath. For those interested, the name originates in the 15th century as “Nomonheth”, and refers to common lane outside specific ownership. We crossed the A41 and then the A49 at Bickley, to arrive at our destination just before 1 o’clock.

I’d phoned ahead to The Swan and was told that they were fully booked inside, but that the outside tables were available on a first come, first served basis. In fact, most of the indoor bookings were for a large pre-wedding drinks party, and this group had decided to stand outside in the fine weather.  As we occupied some outdoor tables, we worried initially that if they we ordering food we would have a long wait. However, before long the church bells started to ring and they drifted off to the service.  Naturally our conversation touched on weddings.  The food and drink arrived shortly and were excellent as was the service.  As we prepared to leave at 2pm, Dave H suggested we visit the Church yard which was a pleasant place to sit and look out over a hidden mere.  On reflection, though, we felt that our group would not be a welcome addition to the wedding photos.

Photo by SH

We left taking the lane to Norbury.  This was more like a dried up river bed, covered in gravel and full of deep holes – obviously the scene of a recent flood. We made for Chorley Bank and then down past Cholmondeley Castle to Bickerton. Choosing to avoid the climb to Harthill, we made for Brown Knowl and the road past Bolesworth Castle. We avoided Tattenhall to the south east and headed towards the Ice Cream Farm.  Along the way we said goodbye to some of our group, leaving six to continue, as conversation turned to a café stop.  Dave H recommended the café at Tattenhall Marina which was new to many of us, and which we accessed by a lane alongside the Ice Cream Farm’s overflow car park. It is called The Boathouse and provided us with refreshments including very good scones with jam and cream for the greedy two.  We sat outside overlooking the water, watching the wildlife and discussing the birds swooping through the air after insects.  After some debate over whether they we swifts, swallows or martins, Alan confirmed the latter and pointed out a nest on the side of the café. This is a delightful location, though we were keen to move on as the temperature was dropping.

We left the café by a gate onto Tattenhall Road between the canal and railway bridges. Then we passed through Hargrave and took the twisting lane variously called Old Hall Lane, then Cow Lane and then Martin’s Lane, before joining our outward route in Waverton.  We were soon back at Meadow Lea having covered 48 miles in good weather, and enjoyed refreshments at two establishments well worth revisiting

See route map and/or gpx file download


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