26th Oct 2008

As I looked out of the window at 6.30am on the morning the clocks went back it was pouring with rain and the wind was blowing strongly. Did I really want to take my cold and cycle in this? I nearly didn’t but in the end the weather further north was nowhere near as bad and I don’t want to be a fair-weather cyclist!

I met up with my brother around the midpoint between our homes near Warwick services on the M40 at Burton Dassett Hills Country Park. At 8.45am it was wet and bleak on top of the hill but there was brightness to the north where the weather was coming from. We had worked out a route, partly from a route in an old book of cycling on Warwickshire lanes and partly out of my head (and to avoid the bridleway bit which I thought might be muddy!).

The Country Park is right on top of a hill and has a distinctive beacon visible from the M40. In the light rain we zipped down the hill to Northend and along the lanes towards Knightcote. A beautifully smooth and deserted lane (Hambridge Road) took us north. The lane only seems to serve a couple of isolated properties yet is one of the best maintained roads I have ever seen! We reached the outskirts of Bishop’s Itchington and turned the wrong way according to the route but decided to keep going as we could rejoin the route further on. Unfortunately this meant we missed cycling past the Bishops Bowl Lakes so we’re not sure what we missed there.

We cycled through Deppers Bridge and on to Harbury. The squat and spreading church looks interesting with it’s huge flying buttresses and Harbury itself seems a pleasant village as the rain petered out. After Harbury we cycled past Chesterton Windmill isolated on its hilltop and upon it’s stone arches and columns, a most unusual sight. Through Chesterton Green we diverted from the book route along a narrow lane labelled on the 1:25k OS maps as the Warwickshire Feldon Cycle Way. We navigated several cattle grids before the lane crossed the M40 and the rumbling traffic below. Lighthorne has a steep descent down and up again and the village is nestled either side of a narrow valley.

Some lovely cylcing lanes followed, unfenced in places with farm and heathland alongside and we descended into Kineton of which we only saw the very outskirts as we turned back north and through Chadshunt. Most of this road was walled and had some fast traffic but it wasn’t long before we arrived in Gaydon crossed the busy B4100 and onto another well-surfaced and tiny lane (amusingly called Pimple Lane for some reason) which crossed the M40 and took us back to Northend. Only the final steep climb back up to our cars was left. As we got back to the cars there was blue skies about to arrive and my initial fears of getting very wet and cold were unfounded.

It was great to meet up with my brother and see his Bike Friday in action, a complete contrast to my tourer but very capable as his NZ to UK blog attests! I look forward to further rides with him in the future.

Distance :: 23.52 mi
Time :: 1h57m27s
Average Active Speed :: 12.01 mph
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