The Levellers sang about walking in ancient places, I like to cycle in them but you can't really get away from them living around here. It was a couple of miles of road and possibly West Somerset's only cycle path, past Dunster Castle and onto Park lane a tarmac lane that turns into a muddy rocky mile long climb up towards Aller Hill.
I tend to use Park lane as a measure of my improving fitness, a couple of years ago I'd be pushing from virtually the bottom and have steadily improved and get most of the way along it to a another steep up towards the top that No1 always seem to fly up. I gave it a go today but managed to lose traction and balance half way up and pushed to the crest. This area is normally shrouded in darkness by the tree canopy so it was a bit of a surprise to see the the sun breaking through the mist as I rode along the top. The forestry people had been busy since we last came this way and transformed the landscape completely.
|That's where the trees went|
After a quick breather at the top we headed off over Bats castle the site of an ancient iron age settlement, you can see why the people settled here, there's some cracking views and great downhills in every direction
|View from Bats Castle|
After the downhill from Bats Castle it was a quick ride down to the crunchy track, another favourite down. No1 was flying today, he'll fly down rough tracks and drops but hates going down on his road bike, I think the disc brakes and six inches of suspension have something to do with it. After a quick bit of road we where at the foot of Grabbist Hill. Its said that Grabbist was the inspiration for the purple headed mountain in the hymn All things Bright and Beautiful as it was once treeless and covered in heather before it was planted up.
This is when No1 decided he didn't fancy any more up and I did. For someone who grinds to a halt at any incline there must be some dark pleasure I must gain from going up. No1 headed home and I went up, after a steep initial push its a nice steady climb to the top followed by another push up a steep incline to the top of Grabbist. Instead of heading down into Alcombe combe I continued the uphill theme and rode along the ridge line of Knowle hill towards Hopcott, this meant I would be nearer to home when I dropped off the hill. It was certainly bright and beautiful up here.
|View of Bats castle from Knowle Hill|
I then hit the descent towards home, its not as technical as some but its a quick one, once back under the tree line I was riding on a carpet of leaves, Autumn was still strong in this neck of the woods. It was just a case of aim in the right direction as the track had disappeared. An old boy was most impressed as I rang my bell as I approached him and his dogs. I know its not cool to have a bell on your bike but I find walkers more welcoming if they hear the bell.
It was then a rapid ride down the Hopcott road and home, shame I had to finish the ride alone but it was well worth it for cycling on such a glorious day.
Distance - 10.2 miles
Avg Speed - 7mph
Elevation gain - 1529ft
Top speed - 31mph