Ordnance Survey map: New Forest Outdoor Leisure 22 (West sheet)

“Red Shoot”,Linwood, Burley, Bolderwood, Linwood (circular route, 16 miles, 2 ½ hours with stops)

Only three of the W.W.C's turned up for a 10am start at the "Red Shoot" Inn at Linwood (187093) in the New Forest. Steve had been out till 2.30am and was still suffering the effects of Tequilla slammers from a party the night before when he turned up. Chris had cycled out from Southbourne, as it seemed a good idea at the time! A 16-mile circular route was decided. Through Roe Inclosure from Amie’s Corner near the “Red Shoot”, across Bratley Plain, then turned right to the A31. Through the underpass (216083), then a long slog across Ridley Plain, down to the stream crossing at Ridley Bottom (199064), including the muddy section where Chris fell off and ended up sitting in the bog (rather smelly, the bog not Chris!)  Then on to Picket Plain, across the main road to the old Smugglers Road (194055) to Vales Moor. Turned back along the paved road towards Burley and turned off at Castle Hill (195039). An undulating, sandy and rutted section, then past Black Bush (ohh err Missus!) across Church Moor to Long Pond (199022). Then rejoined paved road at Chubbs Farm to Burley. Stopped for water replenishment at Burley. The W.W.C’s were very good and didn't submit to an ale in the "Queens Head" !! Turned off at Woods Corner (220042) for the 5-mile on gravel through the South & North Oakley Inclosure’s (235063) to Bolderwood. Saw 30+ Fallow deer in the Bolderwood Farm deer sanctury. Banana & Mars bar stop was required at the Canadian Memorial (240093), Bolderwood before the last leg to the "Red Shoot" via Slufters Enclosure (225093), back across Bratley Plain and through Roe Inclosure, for a few well earned, refreshing flagons of their finest ales!!!


Ordnance Survey map: Purbeck & South Dorset Outdoor Leisure map 15 (Purbeck sheet)

  Corfe Castle-Swire Head-Kimmeridge-Steeple-Ridgeway Hill-Corfe Castle (circular route, 11 miles, 2½ hours with stops)

Weather was pretty windy, blowing from the South-west on arrival at Corfe Castle car park (958818). Started out at 10.30am after a group photo in the Corfe Castle car park (958818). Perhaps the W.W.C. should be renamed the Andy club as there were three Andy’s (Wright, Willcox & Sherwood) present! Also along were Rob, Chris, Dave, Pete & Martin. Absentees were Andy Mould (too much beer the previous night!) & Steve Bateman (dislocated right knee fooling around on a Moto-x bike!). Easy downhill by paved road to Blashenwell Farm (951803), then up a rocky steep, slippery climb to the plantation at Kingston. Then into the strong wind to climb up to the viewpoint at Swyre Head (934785) for a Mars Bar, banana and water stop. Excellent views across Kimmeridge towards Portland (just visible in the fine mist). Then set out for the muddy stretch along the ridge, followed by an excellent fast,downhill descent at the end of the ridge, which everybody enjoyed. Martin’s bike with no front suspension, explained the “shook up” look on his face at the bottom!! Re-joined the paved road near Kimmeridge (918801). Crossed the road for a short stretch along a grassy field, then down a pretty steep, muddy & slippery descent to Steeple Leaze farm. The farm dogs were waiting there for us all there, one mongrel being particularly vocal and determined to get in the way of the bikes!! Then the lovely climb up to Creech hill viewpoint (905817). Along the ridge past Grange Arch (913818), across Ridgeway Hill, Knowle Hill (940824), then that lovely descent down West Hill (955824) into Corfe for a well earned couple of beers in the "Banks Arms".


Ordnance Survey Landranger map No 194 Dorchester & Weymouth

Milton Abbas-Milbourne St Andrew-Winterbourne Whitchurch-Milton Abbas circular Duration: 31/4 hours

Distance: 16 miles (approx, depending who you ask!)

10 Riders: Bob Lewis, Kevin Lane, Chris Morilla, Dave Mullard, Chris Gilbert-Norton, Graham Rendell, Dave Rogers, Graham Seage, Andy "cake boy" Sherwood, Dave Smith)  

A good turn out from ten of the “Wobbly Wheelers meeting at the ”Hambro Arms, Milton Abbas (ST810020) at 10am. 

Weather was warm(ish). The group headed off through Milton Abbas, on the great downhill descent through the village, around the corner then the steep, “heart-attack hill” up to the farm at the top. Only a couple got off and pushed!  Through the farmyard, then across open farmland to Long Close farm (ST792008). Surprised a few of the ewes and their new-born lambs in the field near the farm. The noise from them all was pretty deafening so the group didn’t hang around, although a few of the W.W.C. wanted to keep them company!!!

Dave Mullard managed to fall off his bike whilst we were all stationary (drunk I reckon?) for a photo stop. After Lawn Barn farm (SY796987), a great downhill on the farm track for a Mars bar and banana stop at the “Londis” shop in Milborne St Andrew (SY803976). Headed out on the bridleway to Long Barrow (SY830974). Rejoined the metalled road, after a particularly bumpy section (thank god for front suspension, eh Kev!) alongside some ploughed fields. Turned off at East Farm (SY842995), near Winterborne Whitechurch, the stragglers at the back of the group were attacked by the barking farm dogs! and followed the farm-track to rejoin at Charisworth (ST859019). It was all going so well up to this point, but after the narrow path through stinging nettles and trailing brambles (ouch!) past Thornicombe Farm, the punctures started thick and fast! First Dave Mullard had a flat, then just after that Andy Sherwood, Chris G-N and Chris Morilla had flats all at the same time. Just getting going again, Chris Morillas chain snaps!!! Good job Graham Rendell had purchased chain tool after his chain had snapped the week before on the recce trip with Chris G-N


Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure map No 15  Purbeck & South Dorset map (Purbeck sheet)

Approx riding time 2 ½ hours

Mileage: About 17.6 miles

There were 14 of us who turned up bright and early at the Worth Matravers car park (97047706). Andy Mould was running late so we kicked our heels for a while till he turned up (missed the ferry he says) and watched Pete performing tricks (wheelies BETWEEN parked cars etc) on his expensive looking down-hill racer. We set off along the Priests Way, Rob succumbing to a puncture within 2 miles of setting off. Gave us all a chance to sample Dave Mullard’s boiled spuds, date block and various dried fruits, which he kept producing from nowhere. No wonder his backpack weighed so much!! Down to Coombe (00087808), just outside Swanage. From there we started climbing upwards to Knitson Farm ((00058008) for the climb up the track to the top of nine Barrow Down. Two of us managed to pedal all the way up the track. However when we reached the top we seemed to be be missing four riders!!!! A quick phone call to Dave’s mobile deduced that they had missed the turn off at Knitson Farm and carried on towards Ulwell. So we decided to re-group at the Obelisk on Ballard Down. Some people will do anything to get out of cycling up Nine Barrow Hell! Still the rest of us had the great, fast, if a bit bumpy ¾  mile downhill section between Round Down & Godlingston Hill to the Swanage-Studland road (01088102). A short road stretch, then we turned right for the climb up to the Obelisk (02038103) at the start of Ballard Down. Pushing to the Obelisk seemed to be the order of the day but a few of us cycled  it (well done Martin, Andy & Gilbey). We then rode the top of Studland Hill & Ballard Down, turning left at the cliff edge for the fast downhill stretch along the SW Coastal Path to "Old Harry Rock" (05048205). Mars bars and bananas were consumed and a few of the braver “Wobbly wheelers” attempted thew “walk of death” out along the path towards “Old Harry” (see ride photos for evidence). From "Old Harry" took the path into Studland village. Took the Studland-Swanage road as people were beginning to flag a bit, and turned off at Ulwell, taking the back roads and came out at the school on the Swanage-Corfe Castle road near Coombe. Then faced the final 2 ½ mile uphill slog to the “Square & Compass” for spicy lamb pasties and beer.  Bob and Gilbey strolled into the pub slightly later than the rest. Apparently Bobs bike had problems (or was it the rider….can’t remember!!!!!!!!)    The weather turned just as we were leaving, a bit of drizzle making an appearance. Had expected to get a bit of a soaking as the previous night’s forecast was pretty grim.


 Ordnance Survey map: New Forest Outdoor Leisure 22 (West sheet)

“Red Shoot”,Linwood, Burley, Bolderwood, Linwood (circular route, 16 miles, 2 ½ hours with stops)

Assemble at 10am SHARP at the "Red Shoot" Inn, Linwood (187093) in the New Forest. Through Roe Inclosure from Amie’s Corner near the “Red Shoot”, across Bratley Plain, then turn right to the A31. Through the underpass (216083), then a long slog across Ridley Plain, down to the stream crossing at Ridley Bottom (199064), Then on to Picket Plain, across the main road to the old Smugglers Road (194055) to Vales Moor. Turn back along the paved road towards Burley and turn off at Castle Hill (195039). An undulating, sandy and rutted section, then past Black Bush across Church Moor to Long Pond (199022). Then rejoin paved road at Chubbs Farm to Burley. Can stop for water replenishment at BurleyTurn off at Woods Corner (220042) for the 5-mile on gravel through the South & North Oakley Inclosure’s (235063) to Bolderwood. Past Bolderwood Farm deer sanctury. Rejoin the Bolderwood road at the Canadian Memorial (240093) before the last leg to the "Red Shoot" via Slufters Enclosure (225093), back across Bratley Plain and through Roe Inclosure, for a few well earned, refreshing flagons in the “Red Shoot Inn”


Only remember Martin Sissons coming a cropper on one of the trails on this ride. Thought the "family jewels" had been ruptured, but he was OK in the end!! Spectacular over the bars routine though, impressive!!  Also Dave Rogers took his brand new Specialized out for some "off road action". He went down a nice "bomb hole" and "face planted". The bars hadn't been tightened......!!


MAP:  OS Explorer 118 Shaftesbury & Cranborne Chase   South Sheet

Riding time 2½  hours, 23 miles!

Weather: Pretty hot & humid

A record number of 17 riders assembled outside the Anchor” inn in the village of Shapwick (93080108), including Olli Cox, who at 12 years old was our youngest rider so far on all rides. The group set out west along the road, turning right at the old stone cross (92030207) near Crawford Farm onto the bridleway which passed Little Hundred Coppice, for the uphill slog to meet the B3082 Wimborne-Blandford road (94020401). However when we reached the main road, the group had reduced somewhat from 17 riders to 12!! I scouted back and found Rob fixing the first puncture of the day (more of that subject to come later) and then met Andy who told me that some riders had turned left off the bridleway instead of carrying straight on. Still, does them good to do a few more miles sometimes, eh? We all regrouped next to the field full of pigs, who occupy the old tarmac access road onto the former WW2 airfield of Tarrant Rushton. There seemed to be tourists, who had stopped in cars, taking photos of the pigs. Some dodgy site on the Internet I presume??  Try www.pigfanciers.com The large “train” of “Wobbly wheelers” skirted the northern edge of Jubilee Wood (95040406), and we decided to regroup more often as this amount of riders can easily get separated . Paul “All the gear” Cox loaned me a walkie-talkie at this point, in case of separation!! We veered left at Little Coppice (97030504) and followed the gravel track past Hemsworth Farm. This track joined onto the original concrete perimeter track (95060507) of Tarrant Rushton airfield, where we assembled for a line-up of riders photo. A few of us stopped to look over the memorial at the entrance to the airfield on Windy Corner which commemorates all the aircrews of the glider towing squadrons of HP Halifax’ and crews of the Hamilcar / Horsa gliders who took off from this airfield in the early hours of D-Day in June 1944 to liberate France. Then set off along Sheep Park Coppice where the bridleway skirts the eastern edge. Travelled north and kept to the left of Hogstock Coppice. This section is a bit bumpy and the rutted path is covered with long grass, which claimed a faller, Dave “Retro Boy” Mullard on his borrowed GT Avalanche 2003 model (loaned from “Hot Wheels”, Pokesdown Hill, Bournemouth). The group crossed Little Down (95050805) passing a combine harvester, which was chucking up loads of dust whilst harvesting, so we all got a bit more dusty. Got a good view towards Blandford where the setting up for the “Great Dorset Steam Fair” could be seen in the distance. At the small reservoir (95060903) in front, we turned east down the farm track, keeping to the north of Launceston Wood and Strawberry Coppice (97000808). At the cottage next to the road (97080806) we headed right past the cottage and climbed upwards into Chetterwood (97000804). At this point my Diamondback Vectra Pro decided to start chain slipping, provoking much cussing and explitives. Time to upgrade to a splined Shimano LX crankset, I reckon (review to follow!) We reassembled at Monkton Common Lower  (96020803) and followed the gravel track south to Dean Farm (96090605). Andy Sherwood decided to go and wake up “Falmer Palmer” in Dean Farm at this point and ask him to fill up his water bottle!!  Then rode up the grassy bridleway off to the left, immediately before the farm and skirted around Dean Leaze Farm. At this point Rob Mould thought he should have another puncture and Graham Rendell decided to join him with another so he didn’t feel left out! This allowed a welcome breather for some of the more tired “Wobbly Wheelers” before we set off again on the final third of the ride and crossed the Manswood-Witchampton Road at Lane End (97070707). We followed Sheephouse Drove and turned left onto Rowbarrow Lane. At the tarmac road, turned right and followed the road signs to Witchampton.  We took advantage of the “rest and be thankful” circular seat under the large tree at the top of the hill, for a “Mars” break.

“Revenge of the SPD’s strikes again” Paul “all the gear” Cox decided to show Andy Sherwood how easy it is to release from his SPD pedals (NOT!!) when a car calls a riders bluff at a junction and then demonstrated how to lay down in the road on your side still attached the bike!!!!!!!!!! Paul, you’ll have to go along way to catch Graham Rendell (up in double figures now, I think!!) who is now regarded as the top SPD faller of all time.

We passed through the village and then followed the single-track road to Zanies Cottages (97070508). As Graham Rendell, Graham Seage and I had been well stung by stinging nettles along the bridleway directly in front the week before, we decided to spare everyone the pain and turned  left instead and followed the road, turning right by the house about ¼ mile further on, then joining the gravel track towards King Down (98010308). Riders were beginning to flag a bit now as it was getting pretty hot and was humid. A nice dust cloud was forming, caused by the lead group, then we reassembled at the turning right onto King Down Drove (97080207) Andy & “Retro Boy” Mullard tried to find an external water tap outside a house along the drove but it was pretty inaccessible and overgrown.  Straight on keeping to the left of The Oaks (96060307) then turned left and followed track to pass to the left of Badbury Rings (96050300). The end was in sight by now, with the “Anchor” tourist signed on the Wimborne-Blandford road.  Onto the old Roman road, for a last dash down to the “Anchor” inn at Shapwick. A good selection of real ales was on offer and so we all retired to the beer garden out the back to consume!!!


OS Maps:Landranger 196 Solent & Isle of Wight, Explorer OL29 Isle of Wight (West sheet)

Weather: Sunny and windy

Length 21 Miles

Terrain: Mixture Road / Off road

14 Riders: Andy Mould, Graham Rendell, Dave Mullard, Barry Wingrove, Dave Simon, Paul Brooks, Chris Gilbert-Norton, John Biggs, Rob Niblett, Steve Hills, John Wingrove, Chris “Sutts” Sutton, Dave Rogers, Graham Seage,)

  Another good turn-out for the “Wobbly Wheelers” first “overseas” trip to the Isle of Wight. New riders were Barry & John Wingrove, “Sutts” and Steve Hills. John was sporting some nice facial injuries and a “shiner” from a fall in the New Forest the previous week (see photos in Sept 15th). First mistake of the day was planning to get the 8.30 ferry, which actually left at 8.15. I must have misread the timetable when planning the trip!!   So we all bought return tickets (£7.70) and then had time to woof down some tea and bacon sarnies in the ferry terminal (SZ33039504) before boarding the “Cenwulf” for the 8.45 sailing on the 30-minute trip to Yarmouth, which gave us a chance to revise the intended route. We included more off-roading and cut down on the tarmac riding, but still kept close to the 21 miles.  Clearing passport control and customs on arrival at Yarmouth (SZ35038908), with no full body searches required, we joined the footpath passing the old watermill, then TR onto the old railway trackbed signposted Freshwater and followed the track alongside the River Yar past Backets Plantation (SZ35038708). This flat section provided a gentle “warming-up” for the group.   On reaching the road, we TL and joined the “Freshwater Way” along the Causeway (SZ35008608). At  junction with the B3399 Newport-Freshwater road, headed straight across the staggered junction and then TL onto the bridleway (SZ35028603). Sun was now out and the group spread out TR at next bridleway, then TL for the gravel path climb up onto Afton Down (SZ35058507) passing the keen early morning golfers to meet up with the “Tennyson Trail”, then crossed Compton Down to the 150m high point at Brook Down (SZ38078502). Rob was feeling the effects by now of the alcohol intake & 2.30am finish in “Hype” wine bar in Christchurch that morning!!!!  Paul was having chain slippage and it was agreed that the rear cassette and worn chain were to blame. Some links were taken out but didn’t solve the problem so then Paul, Rob and Steve (bum ache given as an excuse!!) decided to meet up with us later on in Yarmouth, and borrowed a map to get them there. Descended down the steep chalky, rocky, and rutted descent to meet the B3399, a few dramas, close calls and sliders reported at the bottom of the track by most of us. Climbed from the road for the steep ascent to the 203m summit at Harboro (SZ40078407). Some pushed, some made it pedalling. Graham Seage pedalled up all the way on his new mount, a Giant XTC840 (riding review to follow, eh, Graham?).  We all regrouped at the top, had a look at the IOW version of Stonehenge, the “single “Long Stone” on Mottistone Common. Then a good descent across Mottistone Down then down to cross Lynch Lane. Followed the gravel track up the other side and carried straight on at the reservoir (SZ43028403) (184m) picking up the “Worsley Trail” then headed across Limerstone Down (SZ43098307) which afforded great views across Brighstone Bay. Then downhill along the gravel track across Fore Down and Renham Down, to junction with the B3323 Newport-Shorwell road. TL along tarmac known locally as the Cheverton Shute, then TL up farm track after Rowborough Farm (SZ46028500). “Cur look at that steep track on the right”…consulted the OS map………Yep that very steep chalky slope off to the right was next. From now on and forever more to be known as “Crank break hill”

“Crank break” hill, I hear you all say??

The story is as follows………We all attacked it in lowest possible gears. Barry and me were getting towards the top in stops and starts, losing traction quite a few times on the loose chalk surface. I came to a sudden stop? Looked down. The left crank-arm was dangling nicely off the bottom of my SpuD’s!!!!  Thought I had overdone it and had snapped my week old Shimano Deore LX splined crankset. The crank bolt had loosened and dropped out. Oh bugger!!! What did someone say to me earlier about Loctite……. This was about 11 miles into the ride. So the bodge decided upon was to take out the right bolt, tighten the left crank onto the splines and replace the bolt in the right. It worked, but I had to remember to keep bum on saddle or it would be a bit painful if the arm came off the spline whilst standing up!!!*********   The group set off again onto Idlecombe Down, TL and followed the bridleway to rejoin the “Tennyson Trail” (SZ45058600). Then we climbed steadily to the highest point on the ride (hurrah!) of 210m just before passing Ballibury Hump (SZ44028504). We TR (SZ43028403) opposite the reservoir for the fast descent to Calbourne bottom (SZ41098409) passing a young couple, the bloke getting a bit defensive putting up his fists towards 11 blokes speeding past him a bit too closely. More crank tightening at the bottom before crossing Lynch Lane and following the track opposite up Westover Down, passing a scene resembling “Greengrass” camp in “Heartbeat, complete with some hippy chick knitting, a wood fire and an old green van!! Followed gravel track straight on through Chessell Down, then TR before exiting the forest enclosure. We all got a bit bunched up along the single track down through woods before exiting onto the B3399 at Shalcombe Manor (SZ39058506). We crossed over the road and followed the grass track exiting onto the B3399 again at Shalcombe.  More tightening of cranks here then TR onto lane at Shalcombe Holding (SZ38098600) then TR onto the “Hamstead Trail” (SZ38058605). This was a bit on the bumpy side for some, some 18 miles into the ride, so rejoining the tarmac at Wellow was welcomed by some. We TL towards Yarmouth passing through Thorley (SZ37038807), past Thorley Manor (SZ36078901) and TR onto the old railway track bed passing the old Yarmouth station still complete with platform, back past the water-mill, then back into Yarmouth, where we met up again with Paul, Rob & Steve who we dragged out of the beer garden of one of the harbour side hotels. The general consensus amongst all of us was there was no pub where we could store the bikes safely outside whilst supping ale, so we caught the next ferry back to Lymington and cycled the short distance to the “Wagon & Horses” in Undershore road for a few “flagons of frothing ale”


 OS Map Outdoor Leisure 15 Purbeck & South Dorset

 Weather: OK to start with…………deteoriated rapidly into intermittant gale force winds, accompanied by driving “bullet” rain….MMMMmmmmmm

Length: 22 Miles

Time: 2- 21/2 hours (depending if you were at the front or the back!!)

Terrain: Mixture Road / Off road

13 Riders to start with, 9 to finish

Graham Rendell, Dave Mullard, Dave Simon, Chris Gilbert-Norton, Dave Rogers, Graham Seage, Martin Sissons, Paul “All the gear” Cox, John Squires, Andy Wilcox, Dan Rees, Dave Smith, Andy “have I forgotten something?” Sherwood

  We had planned to assemble in the main car park at Lulworth Cove (SY821801). However when we saw the £5 for over 4 hours parking charge we scattered to the far reaches of West Lulworth, some of the “Wobbly Wheelers” parking in front of the row of houses overlooking the car park, and some choosing to park up by the church. It was now that Andy “have I forgotten something” Sherwood realised that he’d overlooked the “front wheel being loaded into the car before setting off for Lulworth” check!!!!!! Despite Andy’s attempts to obtain (or even buy) a front wheel in Lulworth Cove on a Sunday morning, we had to set off without him and Dave Smith (his personal driver). Andy’s attempts at getting a wheel were not over yet…..(he ended up getting a mate to drop one off about noon, he & Dave then doing a shorter cliff-top ride and getting a bit lost and weather beaten, as well as nearly getting blown over the cliffs (ooh err, missus!!)  The rain was starting as we set off up the road from West Lulworth, the wind increasing and the grey clouds were looking more ominous. At Daggers Gate (SY811813) the group TL here onto a bridleway, following signs for East Chaldon, passing Sleight farm buildings. From the top just after the farm buildings, it looked like a great downhill descent into the short valley section. I was at the front and about a 1/3 way down realised that rain and chalky tracks create a lovely “ice-rink” feel. Before I could do anything, I was sliding off the track into the bushes. “Better warn the lads” I thought. So I turned around, just in time for a grandstand view of Graham Rendell, closely followed by Dave “do you like my new GT Avalanche” Mullard, followed even more closely by Dan “do you like my bargain £650 bike off off of E-bay bargain” Rees hitting the deck in true Formula 1 pile up style . All three had decided to try the horizontal slide and ripping flesh test at the same time. Didn’t see Dan and Graham skin themselves with a concealed cheese grater but they must have hidden this by the time they had all stood up again (see injuries section of the site for “Casualty” style wound piccys). Dave Rogers then decided to try out a slide as well near the end of the slope.  After the falls everyone seemed slightly less inclined to attack the tracks????  We passed through East Shaldon, following the road to the right around the village green, passing the “Sailors Return” (Doh, not open yet you see) pub (SY790835). Whilst ½ way up the steep hill after the pub, Andy Wilcox’s rear dropout decided to snap. Andy Sherwood had “liberated” this dropout to ride Coed-Y-Brenin a few weeks before, so his name was mentioned a few times. The removing of the rear derailier and shortening of the chain in the by now driving rain didn’t work too well, so Andy and John “cor you Wobbly wheelers stop a lot” Squires decided to return to Lulworth. I reckon a few of the other “Wheelers” were thinking about joining John and Andy at this point in time (wet & windy, increasing!). The dwindling group, now down to 9 riders on RH, decided to carry on, shortening the original route slightly. At the top of the hill we TL through the gate, signposted “White Horse Hill”, into the misty murk heading straight across the first road (or was it a river?), then straight across Holworth-Owermoigne road (SY765840) (another river!) We were a bit confused at the 4-way junction and didn’t want to get the OS map out as it was now pissing it down (mildly understated) We TR then TL towards Moigns Down Barn, down a very muddy and rocky gravel track to Watercombe (SY757848). Everyone by now ploughed through the mud, cow shit and deep puddles and flowing rivers as we were all soaked through so it didn’t matter anymore. We TL onto A352 to Warmwell Cross roundabout, then headed straight across towards Broadmayne on the A352. After the “Black Dog” pub (Doh still not open!!!) we TL onto Osmington Drove (SY726860). We stopped here for a spud and date cake break, most of us drenched through to the skin by now and needing some energy (did someone mention warm dry clothes and a roaring pub fire?). Most of us were getting pretty cold so short stops from now on.  At the end of the steep climb of the Drove we TR through the gate onto track, passing Half Moon Coppice (SY719852). TL (SY710848) for the climb to the 158m summit of White Horse Hill (SY718844), where a group of cows were looking at us in a “what the f*** are you w****** doing up here on a day like this” kind of way.  Graham Rendell then decided to have a puncture now (Doh!) just before Pixon Barn (SY735838).  We all stood around shivering, wringing out socks & gloves whilst trying to shelter from the gale force wind and rain, which we were now riding eastwards into, whilst the gale force winds were heading west! On the move again, we headed straight across at crossroads of bridleways then pedalled downhill to the A353 main road. The group TR onto A353 (bit risky on the sharp blind bend) then TL into road passing through Upton, before a steep climb.  By now the slog against the gusty, gale force wind (I’m not exaggerating here!) was beginning to get to most of the group.  Great views from Brightstone N.T.  carpark out across Weymouth bay.  The rain on the face here was like being sandblasted accompanied by more pedalling down hill, passing Sea Barn Farm (SY766818) before we joined the cliff top bridleway back to Daggers Gate (SY811813). We were glad to TR onto road for more downhill pedalling to the cars. As it was now 2.50pm we needed to find a warm, dry, pub. After a change of clothes (apart from Dave Rogers, Doh!)  we found the pub at Sandford was open all day. However, it was sparce on heating, so the hot air dryer in the gents got plenty of use, especially by Dave...


Weather: wet and muddy....

Riders: Can't remember!


OS Map Landranger 184  Salisbury and the Plain

Weather: Grey and misty, but rain held off.  Not windy

Length: 19 Miles

Moderate, but muddy!

Terrain:Mixture Road / Off road (chalky, flinty, muddy tracks).

4 Riders : Graham Rendell, Dave Mullard, Chris Gilbert-Norton, Phil Dade

Only four of us turned up, having decided that a 19 miler across Salisbury Plain, was a better option to trudging around the shops in the pre-Xmas shopping chaos.  We assembled outside the “Black Horse” at Great Durnford. Phil Dade, an old work colleague of Graham, turned up, having already cycled over from Bowerchalke, west of Salisbury. We waited for 5 minutes then realised that it was only going to be us 4 riding today. We TR opposite the church into a stony and hedged uphill track. Dave struggled up here. Thought he was a bit unfit, till he realised that his seat post was loose, and he was getting lower with each pedal revolution. TWAT! We crossed a field to meet the A345 road. Crossed over then left onto well-defined twin track parallel with A345. Cycled along the approach path lights for Boscombe Down airfield to meet a track at the corner of airfield.  We continued on ‘byway to Amesbury’ to Stockport Junction. Crossed over A345 on bend onto concrete road, SP “AEP Modular Construction”. Followed bridleway across common land, where a walker warned us it was a bit slippery on the chalky, downhill path into Amesbury, so we all took it a bit easy (the Lulworth “sliding” experience still fresh in the minds of Dave, Graham and Gilbey). We then turned right onto A345, straight ahead over mini-roundabout into town centre. At roundabout, Graham stopped for a tyre pump-up, then headed to the A303 roundabout. Straight across onto A345 SP “Marlborough”, TL uphill, SP “Bridleway, Larkhill” following main farm road SP “Old King Barrow’s”. We followed stony farm road past some tall trees to old silage pit (mmmm…nice!), then round to the right past Old King Barrows, to tarmac road at Strangeways. At T-junction we TL onto Fargo Road for a fast downhill on the road for 1 mile to Larkhill.  Here, amongst the salubrious surroundings of Larkhill Camp married quarters, Graham decided to fix the slow puncture he had. We feasted on boiled spuds and malt loaf, while waiting. I did my impression of the 1928 Larkhill camp boxing champion in true “Gentleman Jim” style (see ride photos). The others thought I looked more like Graham Norton…. ……the Bastards!!   However the sight of a ½ naked sex god doing a photo shoot was too much for sleepy Larkhill and attracted the close attention of an army family, who seemed blessed with 8 kids. So I covered up and we set off on a single farm road. There was a big muddy dip as we crossed The Cursus. Crossed the A344. There were plenty of tourists out at Stonehenge, and in true tourist style we stopped for a few photos. Then crossed the A303. Straight ahead into open twin-track, SP “Byway”. This is where the gloopy, sticky thick muddy sections started over Normanton Down. At Long Barrow junction, we carried on along a narrow rutted track down the side of a field.  Single tracks here were deeply rutted & full of mud and water.  We TL onto the A360 at Druids Lodge, then TR onto tarmac track to Druids Head Farm, onto dirt track for last 100m to “crossroads” at the wood. We TL then headed south on wide dirt road, through open fields past the wood on crest of hill and down to Chain Hill crossroads. TL SP ”Byway”. Headed E for 2 miles, on stony, then grassy, then rutted well muddy twin-track. Graham gave Phil the advice to “not go down that rut”, just as Phil did a corker and fell off!!!   Sound advice Mr Rendell Looked good from where Dave and me were, although we had to concentrate on what we were doing, just to keep upright and not do the same. Think the expression used was “technical”. We met the A360 and TR for 400m to crossroads, then TL signposted “The Woodfords” for the fast tarmac downhill to Middle Woodford. At T-junction we TR to Lower Woodford, then followed to northern end of village.  TL onto footpath hidden by small building after 1st house on left. Crossed over 3 bridges, the rivers levels being high, with all the recent rain. Met some touring cyclists coming the other way , who remarked how clean we weren’t!!!  By now all of us and the bikes were well covered by thick mud, Graham more so than us, due to the lack of MUDguards (there’s a clue there Graham!) Then we rejoined a tarmac road & climbed to junction at Salterton Farm.  Only real “hill” on the whole ride. I think MBR magazine has a different definition of hard/strenuous riding to the “Wobbly Wheelers”. They should try “Nine Barrow Hell” sometime……Then we TL uphill through Netton. Saw a sign saying “The Black Horse” so we followed that!!!! Changed out of our muddy gear, posed for a few “after” piccys then adjourned to the pub for a de-brief, Stella Artois and Ringwood Brewery ales. If any of you get the chance to meet Phil, ask him to tell the “fig” story……………………………………..


Riders:  John Biggs, Andy Craig & son (didn't finish), Clive, Phil Dade, Richard Gears, Richard Hutson, Joe Logan, Mrs "M", Dave Mullard, Graham Rendell, Dave Rogers, Graham Seage, Andy Sherwood, "Sutts"

Route: Red Shoot to Burley and back to the Red Shoot"