There may have been a dozen of us at Cleopatra’s, ultimately riding in 3 groups, with the prospect of a lovely warm day, if a bit windy. DH had a couple of new route suggestions, which sounded interesting. I also had something different; to my current favourite cafe stop at Plassey (Staples cafe, adjacent to the Shipton restaurant/pub) - All part of the ‘Plassey Holiday Resort’. Effectively a posh caravan site, with lodges/Yurts and very nice amenities, including a golf course. The fast boys went to Oswestry, as I later discovered, when I got back to Cleopatra’s, all on my Jack Jones- Lol. They were just finishing their coffee’s, which left me still on my lonesome-Lol.
Anyway, back to my little group of 3: Allan, Steve Hu & Richard (newby- Lol). For those who don’t know or met, Richard has recently moved to Chester, Handbridge in fact, relocating from the Lake District. I guessed he wasn’t going to find my planned 2100 feet of total assent too be much trouble, as he had said to me, while riding to today’s start point that the average ride out from ‘The Lakes’, involved a 1000 feet of climbing, every 10 miles- not much different to the Cheshire flats really- Lol.
We set off, leaving DH still gathering his flock, who were heading for Sleep airfield, I believe, which would have meant too many miles for my group, preferring the idea of my finishing loop around Gresford/ Marford. This was because they could all drop off and head home hence, I got back to Cleo’s with none of my group in tow (had to happen one day-Lol. The previous record was only 1 in tow, ironically that was from Cleo’s as well- Lol)
Initial progress was easy, as there was a diagonal tail wind for the first 15 miles of quiet lanes. Once out of Farndon we headed up Wetreins Lane and on into Tilston, where we encountered our first set of road work traffic lights, just before the Carden Arms.
This gave me the chance to explain that my route was a real meander of little lanes, in order to provide a very peaceful scenic route with very little traffic and several river crossings. We only had 2 short stretches of faster B roads to ride in order to connect the dots, so to speak (not a route to ride after heavy rain by the way, although the quality of all the lanes are good, with very few potholes, in fact a couple of them have recently been completely resurfaced)
So, it wasn’t long before I was cautioning the guys on the fast downhill bend that leads into the bridge over Wych Brook in Threapwood (another little favourite). The reason being the immediate tight right turn after the bridge (almost on it in fact) which at speed is a recipe for disaster, not unlike Griffin Hill, exiting Gresford, which would be my next caution, later on.
We effortlessly cruise through Willington, Hollybush & Cloy, on route to Overton, which we by-pass, by taking Argoed Lane. One of those lanes I mentioned as having new tarmac (now a cracker). Unfortunately there was no option but to take the A549 to Overton, for 1 mile. However, most of it is a fab high speed descent-Lol. So, in less than a flash, we are pulling up on the bridge, over the Dee, immediately in front of the the Cross Foxes pub. This was simply to not only show Richard the gorgeous view of the river and for me to explain the next bit of our route. This also gave me the opportunity to recommend the Boat Inn, which we were close to (next time may be-Lol). For those who are not familiar with the Boat Inn, it’s got to be the! Pub location, if you want a gorgeous river setting and nice food (large car park, as well). We therefore turn left at the Cross Foxes and start to climb a few lovely secluded lanes, which also meant we had now turned in to a headwind, which was not noticeable until we got to the top and the slight descent to the A539 again, for another half mile descent.
|Photos by NT|
We then turn right and head on through Crabtree, after a mile and out onto a quick downhill B road to Plassey. The entrance road to Plassey is very inviting, although uphill, which we all seem to feel somewhat, after the previous hills (probably not the mountain goat from ‘The Lakes’- Lol). We grab ourselves a bench outside the cafe and enjoy the view, which everybody seemed to soak up. We then discovered that Allan was familiar with the location, as he remembered caravanning there, some 20+ years ago. Food and drink was very good, quick and plenty, so it wasn’t long before we were off again, after a little wander around the garden to take a few pics (hopefully enclosed)
|Photos by NT|
We set off again, heading for Gresford/Marford, via a very enclosed set of lanes that circumvent the Wrexham industrial park. We pass through Clay’s golf course to the dual carriageway, where we take the cycle path to the roundabout and crossover said carriageway. We pass Francis Lane on route to the main Wrexham/Nantwich road, which we have to jump on for about 600 mtrs and then turn left past the Acorn cafe (Common Wood Fisheries). We then climb the little hill up to Borras Head and around to Gresford, after another lovely smooth stretch of new tarmac. This lane used to be atrocious. (I used to ride it every time I joined MGVC for a ride. Ironically, once I left that club, after 3 years, they resurfaced the lane- Lol)
We then pass through Gresford and head down Griffin Hill, not before I caution the guys again about the sharp right hander at the bottom, as the hill is 14% and we again need to turn right immediately after we pass under the old railway bridge. We enter Springfield Lane after a brief discussion about the best place for Allan & Steve to abandon their leader- Lol. They decide to ride the lane, after I pointed out a better option home, from the other end of said lane. This also meant that they could lead Richard another couple of miles toward his best route home? Springfield Lane comes out at the bottom of Marford Hill. I love the fact this 1.5 mile lane is just mtrs away and runs parallel to the very busy A483 from Chester and yet you never see it ( you can hear it though- Lol)
At Marford Hill, my route goes up, half way, in order to pick up the back lane around Marford, back to Borras Head. However the guy’s all decide to go left into Rossett, heading home. Unbeknown to them and perhaps 30 seconds after we said goodbye, I decide to chase after them as I suddenly realised that Rossett Road would have a lovely tail wind, for the 4 miles to Holt. I tried to catch them, but with only a mile into wind, I was flogging a dead horse, or should I say, dead legs- Lol.
I get my blissful tailwind to Holt, where I briefly catch up with Ivan, Clive & John, just finishing their coffees at Cleo’s. I set off again for home. I arrived with 64 miles on the clock & just over 2000’ of total assent. I hadn’t ridden that far for several weeks, especially with a few hills as well, so I was done in- Lol. Great day out with lovely weather and great company.