April 10th - Tadworth
We wanted to plan a route that took in some lovely local parks that you wouldn’t ordinarily cycle through.
Four tandems and a solo set off from Burgh Heath on a chilly but bright day across Nork Park heading for Nonsuch Park. Stopping briefly for a quick history lesson about Henry VIII’s glittering long gone palace, that gives the park its name, we headed out toward Ewell village negotiating the busy A24. Nipping through the back routes, we picked our way onto the London Loop for a short way, following the Hogsmill river.
We stopped for coffee at the delightful little garden centre tea room at the back of Ewell Court House, resplendent after a devastating fire in December 2013 that took the roof off the grade II listed building.
Leaving the Hogsmill river behind we picked our way through the mud onto a decent track around Horton Country Park. From there we entered Ashtead Common, owned by the City of London. There is a vast network of paths in this area between Epsom, Ashtead and Chessington. We managed to keep to the ‘all weather’ track after a slight muddy detour and emerged at Ashtead level crossing by the train station. We sped along the road under the M25 and the back of Leatherhead and through to Fetcham on a byway that took us over the river Mole on a little foot bridge. Keeping to the roads now, we quickly passed through Great Bookham, up past Polesden Lacey NT and over to the award winning vineyard Denbies for lunch.
Having fed and watered ourselves, we pushed on up the popular zig-zags of Boxhill and stopped for ice creams at the top. Time was getting on as we headed towards Headley Heath and the back of Epsom race course to Walton on the Hill and across to Kingswood train station where half of our party caught the train and returned home into London.
The remaining 5 of us headed out through Chipstead valley and our final climb of the day up towards Banstead and a cup of tea at Pistachios café in Lady Neville Park.
The day had stayed bright and dry and we had traversed 36 miles from park to park. Whilst slightly convoluted at times in order to miss busy roads, it made for an interesting ride in what is a busy area . We traditionally get lost at least once on our ride and apart from an extra loop around a cul de sac in Leatherhead, we managed to get everyone back.
report by Tish and Andy