• Day1

    And we're off!

    September 18, 2020 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Not quite what we'd hoped for our second bike trip away, but we're pretty sure the New Forest and Suffolk are going to be just as beautiful and lovely places to ride and explore as anywhere in central France would have been!

    After making sure both children set off for school and a quick supermarket trip to make sure they had enough food to at least survive the weekend, we set off at 9am as planned.

    Traffic getting out of Cornwall wasn't too bad and we decided to add some extra time to our journey by heading to Liskeard, Tavistock and across Dartmoor. It was a beautiful clear warm day, but the wind picked up as we crossed the Moor and it was really blustery and did get a bit chilly. We both used our heated grips for a bit, and Jamie regretted wearing shorts under his bike trousers!

    Once we hit Exeter though the traffic suddenly got a lot worse, and we felt like we queued pretty much from there the rest of the way. Being on bikes did mean we were able to skip past some of it, but as we both had large panniers we were a bit wide to fit down the smaller gaps between traffic, though there were plenty of narrower bikes that were happy to squeeze down the middle of the road.

    We meant to stop in Moretonhampstead for coffee but managed to ride past all the parking spaces before we realised, so decided to push on and stop at the next place we saw. Obviously there wasn't anywhere else to stop and we ended up at a very crowded Exeter Services. It was too busy to stay any longer than necessary, so we had a quick wee and a swig of water and pushed on.

    Roadworks and ridiculous traffic meant we only made it as far as our favourite farm shop with a view (Felicity's) to stop for a cup of tea and to eat our packed lunch. But that was fine as the view is worth stopping for and it was scorching hot by then.

    From there it was stop start traffic all the way to Ringwood where I had to stop for fuel (170 miles) and we arrived in Fordingbridge about 3:30.

    Despite there being slim pickings for accommodation, we have managed to find a little gem. Right in the middle of town but down a small alleyway so away from the road and with a garden that runs right down to the river, it's a beautiful spot.

    We sat by the river for a cup of Bearded Brewery cider that we'd brought with us then went for a wander round town. Despite many childhood holidays near here, I have no recollection of Fordingbridge at all. It's a sweet little town with a beautiful old church in an immaculately kept churchyard, and really lovely old buildings.

    We had already booked a table at the Italian restaurant which was necessary as everywhere was booked up, but we did manage to find a table in the Ship Inn for a drink afterwards. Then it was home for an early night! Those 175 miles really did take it out of us!
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