Saturday, 12 October 2013


Some rides really are fabulously fabulous – this was one of them.  Apples were advertised and my goodness, they were delivered on this ride!  We were also keen to take in the resurfaced Alban Way too.  And, the weather forecast had changed from wet to sunny.  First we headed east – here are three of the septet gliding smoothly along.

Another remarkable feature of this particular ride – we allowed a chap to come with us!  His local CTC group is looking at running 5MTF style rides, so this was important outreach opportunity.  Our man is also a pomologist, so we benefited from his expertise as we plundered the windfalls in Highfield Park.  In fact, he enjoyed the orchard so much he asked us to leave him there and carry on without him.  The pictured section of orchard is near to Hixberry Lane, mainly cookers and a few desert trees. This was the orchard of the Herts County Mental Hospital, built in the late 1890s.  Further west we cycled through the old Cell Barnes Hospital orchard too.  Both these hospitals had farms to provide food and therapeutic work for the patients.  Find out more at the Highfield Park Trust website.

Having gathered bagfuls of apples, we meandered through the autumnal beauty of Highfield Park, picked up the London Road cycle route and in no time at all, we were ensconced in the Dahlia Coffee House at Ayletts.  We recommend the date slice and the availability of lactose free milk.

Our return route looped round by Sopwell and Cottonmill to take us to the western end of the Alban Way for more smooth tarmac enjoyment as we returned to Fleetville.