Monday, 5 May 2008

Ride: Dunsop Bridge

The tiny hamlet of Dunsop Bridge is a pleasant collection of houses and a post office at the geographical centre of the British Isles. It sits at the gateway to the Trough of Bowland in the Hodder Valley in Lancashire. This was our destination for a day out on the bikes at the weekend. The weather was forecast to be reasonably warm with the possibility of heavy showers later in the day. Cycling shorts and short sleeves were donned with the optimistic view that we'd be getting quite warm on a longer ride. We packed rain gear nonetheless.

Travelling via Whalley and Mitton in the Ribble Valley, we circled around Longridge Fell to cross the Hodder valley towards the Whitewell, where we refreshed ourselves with some fine Challenger bitter from the Copper Dragon brewery in Skipton. Not exactly sports fuel drink but the sun was out and it was pleasant sitting out the back by the river.

A short ride from Whitewell brought us to Dunsop Bridge where we had lunch at the Post Office cafe, sitting outside in the sun. Being a bank holiday weekend there were plenty of visitors who had parked in the sizable car park. Some were feeding the ducks by or eating ice creams by the river. Others were off walking the fells or other outdoor activities. Dunsop bridge is a great place to start off many interesting walks around the Hodder or the Forest of Bowland. There are also some interesting looking mountain bike routes up through the forests onto the grouse moors.

We weren't going further, so we made our way to Newton and back to Waddington over the rather challenging Waddington Fell, which on the map, has three steep climbs. We couldn't argue with the map and vowed next time to go the extra distance to Slaidburn and back via Smallden Lane to Grindleton. That route has only one steep hill but is a lot lower. Waddington was hosting a scarecrow festival and on Monday, the bank holiday here in England, they have a duck race. It was busy in the village and, pretty though it is, it had a distinctly British seaside feel to it. Rather than queue here for more athlete's fuel we forged on past Clitheroe to Whalley where we sat and ate ice cream and drank tea before returning home. It was a satisfying 37 miles and it didn't rain once, so we felt we'd had a good day out in some of the best countryside there is.

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