Get out and ride: Meandering in the Midlands
By: Sarah Wilkinson
Travel stories of late centre around crossing far away continents often taking weeks and months out of people lives. CP tries another option, squeezing a whole journey into just one day.
The idea of spending weeks in the saddle has never floated my boat, work usually being a constant spoiler of such ideas, but nonetheless I do like to get out on a bike whenever possible. I am also a firm believer in the UK when it comes to finding great places to be, in this fair land we have just about every type of scenery imaginable, from lovely blue seas to stunning hills and cliffs, so why the need to jet off and trouble other lands, let alone the impact that such travelling has on the environment.
The need to get to the south-west of the UK was fast becoming a great one but, with a natural hatred of motorways I started to look at other options to get there. I had a free day before I had to be there too, and a great bike in the shape of a new Morini, so I planned a leisurely romp through the heart of England. I had no idea what to expect and just meandered around, keeping the sun roughly ahead for the most part and ended up discovering some real hidden treasures.
The first part of the journey from deepest, darkest Lincolnshire was nothing out of the ordinary – there is only one way to get out of the county when heading into the Midlands and that is the A46 to Leicester. From there I headed directly to Coventry and then on to Warwick, stopping off to take in the stunning old world buildings and in particular the castle, standing proud above the River Avon. I was hoping to visit the series of 21 locks that form the descent of the Grand Union Canal around Warwick but, on the day, an accident had caused the A4177 to be temporarily closed, so that spectacle would have to wait for another visit.
By now it was time for lunch, having ridden all morning, so a detour into Stratford on Avon was planned. I parked the Morini by the marina and took some time to have a good look at the statues depicting the town's most famous resident William Shakespeare and some of his characters. This was cut short by some typical UK summer weather, the rain started to fall and looked as if it meant business so it was get kitted up time and set off to the second place I had planned to visit. Heading off along the A422, towards Banbury for a short while, I intended to have a look around the delightful village of Wroxton, I stayed in a few months back while photographing some new bike or other. The receptionist of the hotel I bunked in on that job told me how pretty the village was, but also waxed on about a castle just a few miles away. I was aiming for Broughton to find the castle, and she was right to point me in that direction, the moat ringed fortification, set in stunning grounds, is a well worth a visit.
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