Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Roadtrip! ; Sherwood Forest


Francis was Vetting at a Horse Endurance event at the weekend near Ravenshead in Nottinghamshire so i went along with a bike to go for an explore over the two days, 250 miles down south and we arrived at the venue, tent up, a cider, then i walked the dogs, right away i saw how sandy/loam the soil is down here, like back home!, never expected that here in the middle of England away from the coast. Ice age Glacier deposit.



Where you can cycle is a bit different in England- no cycling in footpaths!, although i have cycled plenty in Northumberland where other people have done so too, everywhere is signed down here...




Saturday;
5.50am rise for Francis to start vetting horses heading out to do the longest 160km rides...


I brought the Surly Karate Monkey which i hoped would be ideal for riding Bridleways and Byways, i headed out early after some breakfast...


See the trail?..




Into the woods around Sherwood...


I bought  an OS map and then headed for one of the most famous trees in the UK...


Sherwood forest is of course famous for Robin Hood, and its Oak trees...





The Major Oak;
Estimated to be around 1000 years old this tree if it could talk could tell some story of our history...












Being 9am i had the place nearly to myself and cruised along some resurfaced Bridleways...




Lovely forests...





Gravel grinding...




Across into Clumber Park for a loop...

Along some of the No 6 National Cycle route...







Mighty Sequoia...



Back along to Sherwood again on the No 6 cycle route...


Another type of Right of way in England-R.U.P.P  Road used as Public Path..


The flat expanses of Heather and Pines reminded me of woods i have cycled through in Holland...


Back through Sherwood, ace easy trails!...


And past the Major Oak again, behind me was over 100 visitors now it was nearly 11am, Easter weekend was starting to wake up...


These old Oaks take on an almost mythic artistic presence to the eye...


Were deft in England, after some lunch at the Visitor Centre as i moved on an afternoon cricket match has started!...


Time to ride back towards Ravenhead and explore some more trails...



Nice...





All these signal boxes have disappeared back home in East Lothian now...

A memorial to the past industry here ....






I popped out into Sherwood Pines forest-where the mountain bike trails are, No6 cycle route would lead me from here back towards Ravenshead...


Into Blidworth. Memorial to the Mine here and the men that worked it...



Cruising at 11 mph!...


Approx 49 miles done, a cracking ride and  lovely trails, and met and spoke to some real nice folk-more about that at the bottom of this post.

Back at the tent and a cider, Mowgli and  Harley-a temp housed rescue Springer staying with Francis until re homed watching all that was going on...


Sunday;
Sunday awoke to a cold chill breeze and overcast with an almost sea haar type fog...




Dogs walked, fed and chain re lubed with Squirt lube and i was off out again on more old roads i found looking over the map yesterday evening...

New hedging...


Look how soft this Byway was!, i had to get off and push up this climb!, should have brought the KramPug 29+, be perfect for around here...


Here is a sign you do not see in Scotland - though a few do exist although not advertised...

A public road you can drive on!...


More trails and National Cycle Route 6 again returned me to the meeting point of yesterday with the MTB trails in the Forest Pines Park...

I joined the blue route and followed it to it`s end at the trail centre car park, then road a loop of the red route. The Kitchener Trail is so named after Lord Kitchener, as these woods were where 30,000+ men were based and trained in trench warfare before going off to fight in the horrors of the first world war...

Trail centres are not really my thing these days, i have paid my dues at them in the Tweed Vally for a few years, and now prefer the coast and exploring old historic routes...
Some people slag off trail centres and the people who frequent them, and laugh at folk all armoured up.
I don`t. Trail centres have an important place and offer a car free (usually) non cycling traffic free one way trail. Their great for families and  expert riders alike. If people want to wear armour etc then why not?, nothing smart about a knee or elbow full of grit and needed scrubbed snipped and  then stitched.
Some riders  think there sanitised,  in some ways they are, but if you think there too easy then your over biked.
Riding a rigid drop bar 29er around i had fun even if a bit rough on the braking bumps...
I shot loads of film from the fork mount with the Go Pro but in the end just made a quick little film so folk get an ideal of the trails. Sherwood has nice trails, a lot flatter than what i have ridden in the Tweed Vally, but still fun...
Song is track 1 from the Gorilaz LP
click on the cog icon to view in HD



Back to the trail centre after 13km on the red route and some food!...


Next around the Blue route to section 17- here a pic from yesterday...

Back to Blidworth village on the Route 6 cycle path...





And back down that sandy Byway, ride able going down...



I spied a pub in the distance...




:)



Fox and Hound!,  and happy to take Scottish bank notes!, time for a Cider and crisps!...



And back to base off road...




Heading home we stopped for fish and chips...



Through Newcastle and we would soon enough be home...


Nice place, nice trails, Nice people...
I really enjoyed my visit to Sherwood and the surrounding area to the south,
Away from the tourist trap of Sherwood everyone i met while cycling was very appreciative of me ringing my bell and often apologised for being in the road!, very well mannered indeed.

Around the old closed colliery mines are like here in East Lothian and now replanted with woodland, and here to was much like around here with a fair amount of litter and stuff dumped.
Again these are areas scarred for life with the closure of the coal pits, which effected the whole community and changed the lives for these people forever.
The Industry may well be gone but the scars you see are also remembered by the people who have lived and once worked at the coal face and which their communities grew around. There are many memorials to the pits and the miners like the pic above of the Blidworth memorial with the pit wheels.
I saw many closed village halls, social clubs, churches and other buildings that once were a social part of peoples lives. Everyone i spoke to really appreciated me visiting and enjoying cycling around their countryside.
I have never received a welcome like that by shop keepers, people walking etc i spoke to before. real nice people and a nice place to visit with a bicycle. Their are a lot more bridleways and byways to explore down there on Ordnance Survey Landranger map  sheet 120...