Today’s picture shows one of the pygmy goats that graze outside the windows of our cottage.
We certainly didn’t let the grass grow under our feet today. We got up and had breakfast, put our bikes in the car, made a packed lunch, researched our chosen route on the internet, found the right maps, went out to leave, went back in to get all the things that we had forgotten to put in the car and finally started on our way as early as about a quarter to eleven.
The late start served us well though because when we arrived at Wellow and looked for a cup of coffee in the pub there…
…the landlady was kind enough to serve us although they weren’t officially quite open. After our coffee, we got the bikes out of the car and set off along a cycle track in the general direction of the City of Bath. Our intention was to try out the newly opened ‘Two Tunnels Greenway’ into the city.
The first part of our trip took us along an old railway track on National Cycle Route 24.
We had our photo taken by two cyclists who were on the same route.
The cyclists were taking a day off from going to their local diving club. Its home is one of the many old quarries in the district. They dive almost every day and told us that last Christmas Day over 100 Santa Clauses had turned up for a celebration dive. The mind boggles.
The railway track surface wasn’t bad but it was as nothing compared to the newly surfaced track that we found when we got to the Two Tunnels part of the route. This was off road cycling in luxury.
The track was being well used by walkers, runners and cyclists.
Here we see Mrs Tootlepedal about to venture into the first tunnel. It is a mile long!
The (w)hole thing was amazing.
It wasn’t quite as bright as the camera makes it look but it was a treat to cycle along and from time to time, hidden loudspeakers gave us a musical accompaniment.
The second tunnel was shorter at 300m but it was just as much fun to go through. We were given a belated welcome when we came out of the tunnel.
The greenway ended rather abruptly in side streets of Bath with no suggestions as how to go on. We were aiming to complete a circle by cycling through the centre of the city and catching the canal tow-path for the return so we set off tentatively down hill on the grounds that the river must be at the bottom of the hill. This turned out to be true and by good fortune we found the route along the river bank that we were aiming for. This was part of another national cycle route and some excellent signing took us painlessly slap through the centre of Bath….
…and out of the other side and decanted us safely onto the canal bank.
The Kennet and Avon canal is a mixture of beauty and the beast. There are wonderful willows, geometrical bridges, very tatty boats which people live on permanently and endless dogs running about giving the need for the dog poo bin you can see in the foreground. Luckily the dogs gave us no trouble…
…and we arrived at the Dundas Aqueduct which was our destination for this part of the journey. We had been here, coming from the other direction, last year so we knew that at the end of this short cut, which was originally part of the Somerset Coal Canal…
…there was a café. We stopped there for a cuppa and a toasted teacake shared between us. We read a pamphlet while we were sipping our tea which suggested we should visit the fine weir and the historic mill at Limpley Stoke near by. As it was still such a nice day and Limpley Stoke is such a alluring name, we decided to take their advice and visit the weir. Sadly this was the closest we could get to the weir…
…and the historic mill had been converted to an office block so we returned to the canal a bit miffed. When we got back to the Dundas Aqueduct, we left the canal for good and pedalled along some very quiet back roads to complete our circle.
Then we got back onto the old railway track and headed back to Wellow.
We had noticed this construction by the side of the track on our outward journey….
We had thought that it was just another of the frequently unintelligible art works which tend to crop up on cycle tracks but closer inspection of a notice board beside it….
…showed that it was a representation of the geological strata of the surrounding country and a tribute to William Smith, the father of English geology, a local man who had worked as a surveyor in the mines and was able to date the strata he found there by the fossils in them.
We got back to Wellow after twenty miles of first class cycling and gave a silent vote of thanks to Sustrans, the cycling advocates who had been the driving force behind the cycle trails we had used.
Mrs Tootlepedal was full of energy even after pedalling up a 1 in 7 (14%) climb back into the village and suggested a drive to visit the town centre of Bradford on Avon. We have been to Bradford twice but only as far as the canal basin and she felt the town itself would be worth a visit. It turned out to be a very charming place but absolutely stuffed with traffic.
Originally a settlement round a ford (Broad-ford), a packhorse bridge was built in Norman times and this is the basis of the modern bridge which was widened in the 17th century.
The town grew wealthy on the wool trade and this building was the last working textile mill in the town…
…and it has now been converted into apartments for the elderly.
The town is a mixture of old and irregular buildings…
and smart Georgian rectangular buildings. Some fine mills complete the picture. The town is built on the side of a hill and like many a northern mill town has a selection of winding narrow back roads, ginnels and stairs.
We walked back to our car passing this magnificent magnolia on the way.
And just to show that not all railway tracks are now cycle paths, I took this shot on Bradford Station platform.
No flying bird picture today as I had no opportunity to take one.