A day out with The South Bucks Midweek Cycling Group.
We met at the car park in Gt Missenden as some members bring their bike in their car to the start. At 09.30 we set off heading for Quainton , one of our many favourite elevenses stops, cycling in single file out of the village on to the Rignall Road towards Chequers but going left over Longdown Hill the first climb of the day. Riders take their own pace uphill and the group gradually splits up, however we regroup on the other side of the roundabout after the delightful descent through the woods and past the well-tended Whiteleaf golf course.
Through Askett village, over the bridge to the B4009 where left and right to Little Meadle and Orchard Farm, another favourite meeting point. We continue now as a chatting group riding in twos and going single if necessary to help the following traffic. We pass through Ford with the Dinton Hermit pub on our right and to Dinton where the immaculate patterned tiled roof of the church glistens in the morning sun.
After the crossroads we go through Cuddington knowing that there is a long climb to Upper Winchendon, but by going through the pretty, quiet village of Nether Winchendon we have a steeper but shorter and rather gritty lane to the top. Wind assisted we potter along in a north easterly direction and spot some ingenious art forms at the entrance to a farm, where we pull over for a photo stop. The seven foot tall statues of ancient archers protecting the hill top from marauding enemies are made from scrap metal mostly from lawn mowers, circular saws, and old chains. The attraction behind us, the chatting stops as two more hills take our breath until the lands of the Waddesdon Estate are in front of us. At the junction of Eythrope Park we turn left through the narrow gate and cycle downhill through the Estate grounds to Waddesdon village on the main Aylesbury to Bicester Road. The Five Arrows hotel stands pride of place in the village suitably decked with flowers.
North to Quainton is the next turn and unfortunately having to pass the temporary traffic lights set up to help the big traffic building HS2, but soon to the high street junction and a right turn over the old railway bridge and the entrance to the Quainton Historic Railway Centre. Always worth a visit for steam engine enthusiasts. We move on to the George and Dragon café to sit out in the sunshine for a well-earned rest with coffees and cakes and more chat.
After coffee some decide to head for home a similar route to the outward journey, but the main group continue on the planned ride to Cheddington. We leave Quainton by Church Road to see the old Alms Houses still occupied and then passed the church. We turn northwards to climb to Pitchcot, a small group of houses rather than a village but with superb views over the Aylesbury Vale.
Approaching Whitchurch we make an unusual turn left towards Buckingham, a few sighs at the back wondering why we are not going through Whitchurch. A change is as good as a rest but the mile or so on the main road is fortunately not too busy to our turn off north again. Within a few pedal revs the main road behind us and the wide open farmlands of North Bucks, less hilly now a few modernised family homes but mainly farms.
In Dunton a most impressive rectory stands opposite the church of St. Martin now in rather poor condition, further on North Farm in the village of Littecote is advertising ice creams and coffee and cakes as well as a farm shop. Never having been in there a must try at some time. From here a straight road with a climb to Stewkley, where already customers are sitting drinking and eating in front of the Carpenters Arms. We turn south east on a long straight road that takes us to Wing where the road layouts have been changed recently for the new housing estates, causing a little confusion, however once in the High Street familiarity returns and we are soon on the straight downhill through the cultivated fields to Mentmore Cross Roads. Over we go to the long bumpy climb to Mentmore Village was originally owned and designed by the Rothschild family. The Stag, once an upmarket restaurant is now a community pub including a bicycle service station in their courtyard and a warm welcome for cyclists.
Mentmore Towers is difficult to see until out of the village but was home to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Guru of transcendental meditation through the 1960’s. On to Cheddington and the Three Horseshoes pub for lunch, usually a filled baguette and a drink and more chat.
After lunch everybody makes their own way home, which generally amounts to the same direction so we continue as a group until members decide to turn off to make their own way home. Any new members less familiar with the routes are advised or accompanied until they are in known territory. With unexpected sunshine all day another wonderful day out on the bike with excellent company in the lanes of Buckinghamshire.