Day 7, Thursday 29 May, 2014 - Burnham-on-Sea to Leominster, Herefordshire

Burnham-on-Sea to Leominster, Herefordshire

Dist : 160km
Riding time: 8:00
Total time (including stops) : 10:45
Stops: 4
Climb meters up/down 1,446/1,481

It was a long day in the saddle.
The original planned kms was 140, but somehow I added an extra 19.5km.

It was my best night's sleep since leaving home. The "Full English Breakfast" was the right amount of fuel for a full day's cycling and being a small B&B, I shared interesting conversation with other guests. The Knights Rest B&B was an excellent example of a style of accommodation not seen widely outside UK and Europe, but very pleasant to stay at.

I left at 8:45 and immediately got lost following the GPS. The words of one of my motorcycle friends rang true- alway check the GPS waypoints the night before. Still I was not in a Moroccan desert, so my safety was not at risk. Immediately after resetting the GPS, I got a flat rear tyre ( the difficult wheel ).

So I actually started at 9:30 toward the pretty town of Axbridge. Climbing the hill out I noticed a bike path that took me along an old railway track (strawberry line), including a long, dark tunnel. Although slower, it was good to relax away from traffic.

My extra kms occurred when I unintentionally went via Bristol. Here I saw the famous Clifton suspension bridge, designed by the poetically named Isambard Kingdom Brunel and finished in 1864 after riots about its design. It is attributed to the first modern bungy jump in 1979.

The ride to the Severn Bridge was via an industrial area, and the GPS and goggle maps were conflicting on their routing.

Eventually, I crossed into Wales on the 2.6km long (1966 opened ) Severn Bridge cycle path.

As I still had a long way to peddle, I stopped for fuel and cross checked the GPS and mapping and was half way at 15:30, with 82km to go before nightfall at 20:15.

The cycling in Wales was some of the best yet. Rolling hills and little scenic villages and generally careful, courteous drivers (exceptions: black Audis and white transit vans)

At the very green Chepstow horse track, the new age hippies were queuing for the 4 day 'Sunrise Organic Music Festival'.

The 100m descent into Tintern was enjoyable and the magnificent ruins of the abbey a surprise.

At Monmouth, there was a grand private school on the river with a plaque describing the effects of its bombing in 1942.

Then it was on to my booked accomodation at the Royal Oak Hotel, Leominster. I passed via Hereford, but cannot remember it. The Cadbury factory on the way into town had a wonderful aroma.

Dinner was Italian and it was getting late. It was temping to have lasagna again, but went with bruschetta and risotto. It poured rain between my arrival and walking out , so I was lucky it had been an overcast, dry day.

Tomorrow it's on to Nantwich. Just two days cycling then a rest day to go to the IOM TT.

 Strawberry Line tunnel  - more suited to a mountain bike, but a welcome break from the traffic

Strawberry Line tunnel  - more suited to a mountain bike, but a welcome break from the traffic

 Bristol Canal - they use to bring ships up here. The 1864 Cliffton suspension bridge spans the river.

Bristol Canal - they use to bring ships up here. The 1864 Cliffton suspension bridge spans the river.

 Another silent windmill generating electricity. No non-miking cows or housewives with headaches in site. These symptons must be more likely in Australia.

Another silent windmill generating electricity. No non-miking cows or housewives with headaches in site. These symptons must be more likely in Australia.

 Down the 100 metre descent to Tintern. Wales had good cycling on the roads.

Down the 100 metre descent to Tintern. Wales had good cycling on the roads.

 Back into England from Wales. I did not remember Herefordshire, but I'm sure its famous for something (other then this sign)

Back into England from Wales. I did not remember Herefordshire, but I'm sure its famous for something (other then this sign)

 Tintern Cathedral - an amazing sight as I entered the small town at speed. Not sure why is ruined.

Tintern Cathedral - an amazing sight as I entered the small town at speed. Not sure why is ruined.

 Crossing the very long Severn Bridge into Wales. By this stage of the day I was way behind schedule, as it took a long time to get onto this bridge. I could see it in the distance, but navigation thru the industrial area was not easy. This was when I realised an organised tour would not have these navigation issues, and could cover more ground as they would not get lost and add 30km to a day.

Crossing the very long Severn Bridge into Wales. By this stage of the day I was way behind schedule, as it took a long time to get onto this bridge. I could see it in the distance, but navigation thru the industrial area was not easy. This was when I realised an organised tour would not have these navigation issues, and could cover more ground as they would not get lost and add 30km to a day.