July 12th - Burgh Heath
Ride and report by Andy and Tish
Starting in Burgh Heath on an overcast and slightly ominous morning, we made an early get away to miss the crowds. The days riding, however, was quieter than expected as many people had been put off by the weather forecast. 4 tandems and one solo head out through Banstead, up Chipstead valley and down through Gatton Park towards Merstham. Not stopping there though, we climbed steeply to Nutfield with the sound of church bells ringing in our ears to the A25. We seemed to be following a well marked route and we saw a few riders with numbers on their bikes and marshals by the side of the road. We left their route and after a few hundred yards on the main road and we turned to speed downhill on a leafy side road. Our destination for morning coffee being the Pilot’s Hub café at Redhill Aerodrome. A few spots of rain and we were glad the bikes were under cover and we were inside. Not many planes around today but were reliably informed that had the sun been shining it would have been very busy. We were now 15 miles into our ride and less than 10 to lunch which was good timing as the rain drops started and a deluge passed over whilst we lunched at The Plough at Leigh.
Admiring the classic Austin Healeys as we left the pub, the skies began to brighten and even a stray shadow was cast. We picked our way gently through little back lanes to Brockham and the bridleway across the golf course towards Dorking. A short stretch alongside the dual carriageway and we were ready to climb Box Hill. We regrouped and caught our breath. It was surprisingly quiet up at the top and we set off again heading towards Epsom Race Course. Stopping at a locked gate, we surprised the group by insisting that we all climb over with our bikes to proceed on our ride. We had now entered the spectacular Langley Vale Wood. England’s new WW1 commemorative wood to mark the centenary. 650 acres of newly acquired land by the Woodland Trust. Following a decent farm track we passed 10,000 recently planted trees, joined the bridleway and climbed out over the racecourse on the final homeward miles.
Tea and cakes back at the house and plenty of chit chat before our guests headed back home after our 40 miles of damp but not too damp riding.