Sunday saw number three son and I head out again on our bikes with the dog for another ride, this time choosing a completely different starting point and route from the recent rides that the dog has come on.
Inspired by a route map included in the April 2016 issue of MBUK magazine – which has a sixteen mile route beginning and ending in the village of Redbrook alongside the river Wye – I decided to take part of it but start near the top of the valley and end back there rather than starting and ending down at the bottom.
So it was that we made our starting point the edge of Newland village where we set off down Laundry Lane. We had only travelled a few feet when the four-legged one managed to flush out a bird that had been hiding in the greenery on the verge at the side of the road!
Carrying on past the bottom of Savage Hill we then encountered the first uphill section, heading up onto the very top of the valley, which quickly became a little too rocky and wet for the humans in our party to tackle with ease!
Having eventually reached the top and decided which of the various possible routes to take down, we carried on down the main track which would lead us all the way down to the primary school in Redbrook. Although it started off dry and rocky there were some places where the track would prove to be rather muddy in places where some pretty big tyres had left their tracks.
Naturally, as some of the muddy puddles in these tracks could be pretty deep the sensible thing to do was to skirt around the edges of them. At least that’s what I thought. Number three son seemed to think that heading straight into them and hoping for the best was a better plan!
Once we reached Redbrook itself it was necessary to put the dog back on her lead as we needed to push our bikes alongside the main road for a few hundred yards until we got to Coach Road where she could be set free again and we almost doubled back on ourselves to start a fairly gentle ascent before levelling off and passing Bigwell Fly Fishery on our left.
It was along this section that the dog suddenly spotted something off to the side of the track that took her interest and started jumping up on her back legs every few yards for a minute or so. Once past whatever it was that so caught her attention we were soon passing Glyn Farm and then the small lake just past the impressive Grade II listed farmhouse itself.
We stopped for a quick snack at the bridge just after the lake before setting back off on the next section of our journey which would take us across open land following the path of the Valley Brook back around in the direction of Newland. At this point I needed to once more put the dog on her lead, as there were sheep roaming free, meaning that I was now riding one-handed and leading her with my other hand, which was a first!
Once past the gamekeeper’s house were back onto Laundry Lane and the home straight to where we’d started nealry 100 minutes earlier. The weather had gradually improved and we’d warmed up nicely during the ride so two sweaty humans and a panting dog finally came to a halt having travelled a little over five miles in total.
For those interested in the stats – if indeed anyone is – Endomondo’s tally was 5.7 miles in 99 minutes. Strava went for 5.3 miles in 97 minutes (of which we were apparently moving for 67 minutes). ViewRanger, meanwhile, claimed 5.24 miles in a total time of 98 minutes.
Next weekend I’m hoping to hit the Verderers’ Trail together with the dog and number two son. Watch this space…