Today’s ride started from the Castle Bistro in Chirk – always a welcome opportunity to get outside our usual Cheshire territory. There were seven moderate riders: Dave H, Dave P, Andy B, Alan, Steve T, Steve Hu and myself. I had in mind two possible destinations – The Old Hand and Diamond at Coedway and the Royal Hill at Edgerley. In truth both of them offered similar rides as the same route leads to them, you just need to travel a little further to Coedway. Incidentally, the proper address of the Royal Hill is Edgerley, though on the map, Pentre or Melverley seem the more obvious locations.
|Photo by AO|
We arrived in Bagley where we took the turn to Stanwardine-in-the-Fields and travelled through some lovely countryside on quiet and smooth lanes. After Stanwardine, came Baschurch, and then Little and Great Ness before we crossed over the A5. Here we could see a densely packed herd of sheep on the opposite hillside. Though as we approached their movements looked unnatural, and it was only as we got closer that we could see they were in fact a flock of white geese! We continued, passing by the army camp and arrived at our destination.
The Royal Hill is in a delightful south-facing location on the banks of the River Severn looking towards the distinctive Breidden Hills on the far bank. Atop the main hill is Admiral Rodney’s Pillar, erected to commemorate his victories in the American War of Independence. Obviously, his battles went better than the rest of the war.
|Photo by SH|
We sat on benches outside. It was warm, quiet and relaxing in the sun. The Severn was close by, though we had to look over a hedge to see it. A chap came over to talk and ask whether we were from Shrewsbury. He had arranged to meet members of a cycle club there for lunch and was checking to see if we were them. We admired his car, a classic open-top maroon Mercedes. Food arrived quickly and was enjoyed. Before long it was time to leave.
Our return took us to Melverley, where previously Mike Gilbert (I think) had shown us to the church, an ancient half-timbered structure on the banks of the river. Today, we passed by and made for Maesbrook, then Maesbury and into Oswestry from the east. Negotiating the back streets we emerged by Old Oswestry Hill Fort, and took the road to Weston Rhyn. Avoiding the busy main road, we dropped down to the Ceriog Valley and climbed back up to our starting point.
We covered 43 miles in some lovely weather and pastoral scenery, and with good company. An excellent ride.