This was the first time your Junior Correspondent (Paul Swaddle) has arranged a run and it unfortunately showed! (no paper route, last minute admin I hadn’t done…), my personal apologies to anyone who had a “sub optimal” experience as a result of that.
We had a good turnout, with 15 riders joining us at the start of the route, the Udder Farm shop in East Stour.
Sign in completed, briefing done and tea’s drank, we set off in three groups “huddled” around those with sat navs (mostly “beelines”) along the A30 towards Salisbury.
Pace for the day didn’t much exceed 50mph, just right to be able to take in the many splendid views the route out and back had to offer.
Taking the “twisties” behind Old Saram, first stop of the day was a very busy Old Saram air field cafe for refreshment.
Many skydivers where to be seen nervously awaiting their drops or swirling down on their “silken chutes” above us in the reasonably warm sky’s.
At this point, some of the group left us to attend other commitments (…some birthday or other?! ;-)) and 11 of us continued on in two groups towards the ultimate goal of Pewsey and two white horses the area has within some stunning scenery.
Once beyond Amesbury, the roads and traffic take on a more rural setting, with fantastic sweeping roads weaving their way through Salisbury plain.
Your Junior correspondent did lead his group to the wrong end of the road that passes the first of the White Horses (known as “The Alton Barnes White Horse”), hence the strange photos from a corn field looking back to the hill, but no harm done, we did the route in reverse then double backed on ourselves to be back on track again.
The recent extreme weather was evidenced everywhere, with the predominantly luscious green rolling landscape now scorched a multitude of Spanish like yellows, browns and golds.
Entering Pewsey, we quickly found the area the cafes were in and opted to park in the central square in front of not our originally intended stop (“The Lunchbox”) but the “Pewsey Vale crafts and tea room”.
Despite not expecting lunch for 11, they did a superb job of feeding and watering us all with a very friendly demeanour and going out of their way to accommodate us all outside with extra seats.. superb service!
Once on our way for the return route, it was a short journey around the corner for a top up with Essos finest E5 (… does it really contain little to no ethanol?! I keep asking Esso station attendants but so far have been met with shrugs of “I’ve no idea mister!”… can any of our readers provide the details on this more than just a strong rumour I’ve heard from multiple sources?)
This route out of Pewsey and up the back roads towards Netheravon is one of my personal favourites.
As you approach the base of the hills you are met with the splendid views of Pewey’s 2nd white horse before climbing steeply in a long drawn out right hand bend that rapidly provides you with amazing views of the surrounding area as you climb above and beyond the white horse you were just observing.
The very straight road on top of the hill then provides you with @5 miles of splendid views in every direction, all the way to the horizon, that you can enjoy in relative safety due to clear views of the road ahead.
Eventually, you turn down towards Netheravon where the roads are cris-crossed with tank tracks and interesting military installations, although thankfully we didn’t encounter any Challenger tanks suddenly blocking the way ahead today! While our machines are some of the finest Italy and Britain had to offer, I doubt they’d fair well against fully chobham armoured main battle tanks! 🙂
The roads here change from two lane to single track, which keeps the ride engaging as you continue through some fabulous landscape.
Crossing over through Larkhill and then down to Stonehenge, my big concern for the day, the roundabout that crosses the A303 loomed up and was horrendous as I’d warned the group about at the start of the day.
Thankfully we all traversed the stream of hot and angry motorists trying to go east and west with almost effortless ease and safety… emerging on the far side with our group all still together and zooming on to re-join the A30 route back to East Stour that had brought us to this wonderful area earlier in the day.
All in all, an absolutely splendid ride that feedback I’ve had so far, people really enjoyed.
Till next time! (*now complete with paper route maps!)
The Udder Farm Shop at the Start