Essex Is (Mostly) Flat - Saturday 8 May (from Manningtree)

Auntie Helen

Ich bin Powerfrau!
As promised, another Auntie Helen ride from Manningtree - entitled 'Essex is (Mostly) Flat'.

Plan is to start from Manningtree Railway Station at 10am. Manningtree is on the line to Norwich/Ipswich from London Liverpool Street. It has a rather fine café which does a Half Breakfast, just the thing to set you up for a nice ride around Essex.

The route can be found here: (Revised Route 3 May) Bike Route Toaster

The first section, once you've got up the hill from Manningtree, is pretty darned flat. It's a nice route taking the NCN51 route towards Harwich for some of the way, before leaving to head to Beaumont and then turning back on ourselves a little to reach Weeley.

Cake stop at 15 miles is at the Homestead Cabin Café which is part of a Caravan & Outdoor Leisure site so you can eat your cake and drink your tea whilst watching people looking at caravans. Watch out for random motorists who are in practice for scary caravan driving.

You can print off a 10% discount voucher here to get a reduced price on your cakes (which were pretty good value anyway) here: Homestead Cabin Cafe and bring it with you. Toasted Teacake and a cup of tea was £1.80, Victoria Sandwich cake was £1.45. There are loos in the caravan bits shop which is in the next building; it's a challenge to find the loos as they are disguised amongst a load of tents but both Wowbagger and I know how to locate 'em.

The next section is even flatter than the first as we pootle our way from Weeley to Great Bentley, Frating, Great Bromley (passing my house even!) and then up to Ardleigh. The distance is 16.34 miles and it's mostly very quiet roads apart from a short stretch on a slightly busier road (but still not bad at all).

Lunch is at the Shepherd & Dog, Langham, which has a wide selection of food. Lasagne with chips and salad was £8.95, they also do jacket potatoes and baguettes and stuff. The food is pretty good. Shepherd & Dog, Langham

At this point, if anyone is particularly tired they can return directly to Manningtree, which is reasonably easy to find from this point (about 6 miles). Alternatively you can cycle straight down the hill from the Shepherd & Dog to Colchester railway station (about 4 miles).

The third section of the route is less flat so has some rather attractive views across the Dedham Vale (Stour valley). Distance for this section is 17 miles and the total climb is 533 feet (previous sections have been 300 feet of climb in total each) so it's still not bad at all but that does include a couple of pretty sharp hills, one right at the end. All eminently manageable but a little harder work than what's gone before.

However your effort brings rewards as we cycle through Langham, Great Horkesley and swing round to the North East looking over the beautiful Stour valley across to Nayland and Stratford St Mary. It was beautiful today, we saw lots of wildlife including Kestrels and a Muntjac deer.

We cycle through the beautiful village of Dedham (where John Constable did lots of his painting) and then take a quiet side road to the east of Dedham where we climb a short-ish hill, go down again under the railway and then up again the other side, before making our way towards Manningtree for the train home.

It may be a flat ride but it still has lots of charms and the roads are mostly very quiet. Road surfaces are generally good although there are some potholey sections. I am sure you will all enjoy it very much!

Current list of possibles/confirmed is:

Auntie Helen
Gary from Colchester
Andy from Great Bromley
Gundi from Colchester
Uncle James
Redjedi
Ianrauk
User1314
Notsototalnewbie
Notsototalnewbie's chum
TimO
Andrij
Orienteer
Tomsk
Redflightuk
Nutkin
Woofage
CrinklyLion
WobblyJohn
Mow
Wowbagger
Mrs Wow
Jane/Saoirse50
Marco Stefano
Cycleman
Dasmoth
Emily
mrs_o
rb58
Ben Lovejoy
Speshact
 

Davywalnuts

Chief Kebab Taster
Location
Staines!
Love to as never been able to make this one and Ive not seen my Auntie H in ages, but again, I cant... birthday commitments.. sorry.

Have fun!
 

ianrauk

Tattooed Beat Messiah
HMMM... I am free on this day and would love to come along.. however the day after I have footy and it's the last game of the season. Now pre-child it would not have been a problem with Wendy...being away for the whole weekend... hmmm.. a little work to do methinks...
 

redjedi

Über Member
Location
Brentford
I'm in.

mmmm.. 75 miles from west London. I'm not sure I'll be volunteering to ride both ways. Perhaps train there so there's time for brekkie, and a nice relaxing ride back down the A12 to end the day ;)

ianrauk said:
HMMM... I am free on this day and would love to come along.. however the day after I have footy and it's the last game of the season. Now pre-child it would not have been a problem with Wendy...being away for the whole weekend... hmmm.. a little work to do methinks...
Don't forget it's a bank holiday Monday before this weekend, so you've got time to earn some credit :biggrin:
 
OP
Auntie Helen

Auntie Helen

Ich bin Powerfrau!
Right, I've done a provisional route which is as follows:

http://bikeroutetoaster.com/Course.aspx?course=116772

Tea break at the caravan shop in Weeley (about 15 miles), lunch at the Wooden Fender in Ardleigh (at 30 miles).

The total distance is about 49 miles and it includes just 647 feet of ascent. Phew!

Start point is Manningtree railway station where we will have our breakfasts. Then it's up the only major hill, opposite the Mistley Towers folly.

We take quiet back roads to Little Bromley, then cross the A120 to Little Bentley (this crossing is usually fine), then take the NCN51 towards Harwich, veering off to Beaumont-cum-Moze before heading westwards towards Great Bentley.

We arrive at Weeley which has a caravan store with a reasonable café.

After our tea & cake we then continue on to Great Bentley, then northwards to Frating, then west on a slightly busier road to Elmstead Market, where we turn onto a quiet road again to head towards Ardleigh.

Lunch in Ardleigh at the Wooden Fender which serves decent food.

After lunch we cross over the A12 at Langham and do a little loop around Boxted/Horkesley which is all quiet roads although there are a few small hills. We then head Eastwards back towards Manningtree going through Dedham. We finish with the fantastic descent of Cox's Hill which is always a good chance for a race.

The section of this ride after lunch is a bit hillier than the rest so if anyone is feeling tired, they can go straight back to Manningtree from the Wooden Fender - it's a dead easy ride straight along the main road (about 3 miles). But you'd miss some nice scenery!
 
OP
Auntie Helen

Auntie Helen

Ich bin Powerfrau!
I suggest you do what Redjedi says - get the train up, then you can cycle home if you feel up to it. I could, of course, provide you with a route that doesn't include cycling down the A12 but where's the fun in that?...
 
OP
Auntie Helen

Auntie Helen

Ich bin Powerfrau!
Glad you're all thinking of coming!

Current list of possibles/confirmed is:

Auntie Helen
Gary from Colchester
Redjedi
Ianrauk
Uncle James
ChrisKH
User1314
4F (FatFellaFromFelixstowe)
Stevevw
Notsototalnewbie
TimO
User10571
Pippa
Andrij
Orienteer
Tomsk
Redflightuk
 
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