Having had far too long a lay-off for one reason or another – decorating, xmas, appalling weather, laziness – today I finally forced myself to get back out on my bike and had a thoroughly good time.
From the village I made my way up out of the valley, through a few impromptu streams caused by rainwater running down off the hills onto the road, and around to Whitecliff, where I turned and rode up under Dog Kennel Bridge – the disused railway bridge that used to support the track between Coleford and Monmouth.
Having travelled along past the former site of Highmeadow House I then turned onto Scowles Road where I climbed until reaching the Scowles and the entrance to Dingle Wood, which proved to be very muddy and waterlogged in places.
Coming out onto Staunton Road I passed the entrance to Stowfield Quarry before turning onto the Monmouth bound side of the main A4136 road, and passed the Staunton Long Stone on the opposite side of the carriageway.
Having reached Staunton I stopped briefly on the village green to take on some fluids and admire the slightly misty view down over the valley in the general direction of Redbrook.
Then it was onto the muddy bridleway towards Bond’s Wood, where I intended to tackle one of the numerous unofficial MTB tracks through the woods.
All went well to begin with, until the first hint of a halfway decent descent, when I realised that the brakes that I had thought left a little to be desired were, in fact, not much use at all!
This necessitated a change of plan and re-route back on myself along a level pathway to the minor road that connects Staunton and Newland, and then over into Birchen Wood and a path that runs to another old railway bridge from the Coleford – Monmouth line, this one just above Upper Redbrook.
I followed the path as far as I could around the edge of Knockalls Inclosure towards another old railway bridge, this one on private land on the bend in the road opposite Furnace Grove. Unable to go any further without ending up going ever further from home I performed another about-turn and took the footpath down beside the Pump House and onto the road that runs from the Wye Valley back up towards Coleford.
From there it was the simple matter of riding up the stream – no make that river – of water running down the road until I reached the junction where the old Newland railway station is situated before making for home. Despite the mud and water it was a lovely ride – just need to get those brakes fixed before heading out again!!…