Colchester Cycling UK

Great Notley Ride Report

May 14, 2017

Although I had my name down as Ride Leader for some time, the destination lunch stop and morning tea stop were blank on the Colchester group Runs List until just over a week before the ride. Several weeks previously another of the regular riders pointed out that the weekend of May 13–14 was National Mills Weekend and perhaps it would be nice if I could sort out a route that went near to a windmill. Great idea was my response which is where the planning and associated grief came in! I knew that in our area we are lucky to have numerous mills dotted around, many of which have undergone conversion to dwellings but how to link some together as a ride given the locations turned out to be a bit problematic with arranging morning tea and lunch stop locations around them. After over 100 miles of route reconnoitre I settled on a route around 59 miles taking in Terling Smock Mill and Bocking Post Mill.

Twelve of us departed Leisure World Colchester in light rain and as we went through Copford the sun was appearing and a warming breeze soon dried the roads. On through Messing, Tiptree, Great Braxted, past the watermill at Little Braxted and on to Colemans Cottage Fishery cafe for elevenses and from there four more riders joined us. Then across Witham and on to Terling where we had a stop by the smock mill which is now a dwelling. Back on route by Fairstead, Rank’s Green and on to Lily’s at Notley at Great Notley Country Park for lunch. On through Rayne, Shalford, Panfield and to our second windmill, the post mill at Bocking which has had recent cosmetic attention but sadly not open to have a look inside. From there on the ride home through Greensted Green and Great Tey we were blessed with the sun on our backs and the wind behind us, marvellous.

I can recommend Lily’s at Notley as a good place to stop for somewhere to get a snack and drink, it is on Route 16 of the National Cycle Network.

By Simon Brooks