Colchester Cycling UK

Harkstead Ride Report

May 13, 2012

A clear blue sky day greeted us this morning for our ride out to Harkstead. Eight of us (Stuart, Des, Clive, Steve, Malcolm, Nik, Andrew & Grace) set off through Highwoods towards Langham and Stratford St Mary. Just as we were entering the village of East Bergholt, we had our first (and only) puncture of the day, so we stopped to fix this. A cyclist who was on his way out of the village for a ride stopped to see if we needed any assistance, and I mentioned to him that we were the Colchester CTC group and encouraged him to look on the website if he fancied joining us one day.

Repairing a puncture

It was not long before we were on our way again. Malcolm took us to see the bell cage at the church in East Bergholt. The tower for the bells was never completed due to a shortage of funds, and the bell cage which was originally a temporary structure has remained ever since. The cage contains 5 bells which are the heaviest set of bells to be hand rung in England. After this we made our way to the tea room at Bridge Cottage, Flatford for elevenses with lovely views over the Stour.

Following elevenses we carried on through Bentley, Tattingstone (across Alton Water reservoir), and through Cutler’s Wood. The path through the wood had some soft sand/mud and I fell over after inadvertently turning my handlebars too sharply. Luckily no major damage to me or the bike. We continued onwards through Freston and turned just before Woolverstone going south into Harkstead.

The Bakers Arms pub was reasonably busy with people making the most of the sunny weather. Unfortunately there wasn’t much on the food menu but we managed to make do, with some passing on food. We were joined at the pub by Keith who had made his own way up from Great Bentley.

The route home after lunch was reasonably direct through Stutton and Brantham. At Brantham, Malcolm had found a bridleway which avoided most of the busy A137. We got back on the A137 just before crossing the Stour. After Cox’s Hill it was a flat ride, though into a headwind, back into Colchester.

It was a beautiful day for a ride with some lovely views and lots of yellow rapeseed fields along the way.

By Grace Lee