Starting out at Andy's. From l to r, Graham holding my bike, Di, bending Graham's ear over something, Andy, Roger and John. I think Di was telling Graham that she had put two housebricks in Roger's panniers. The route was going to be out to Priors Marston, Hellidon, Staverton, Flecknoe, Broadwell and back to Southam.
A common site in east Warwickshire, this brick structure is an air shaft for a disused railway tunnel that runs through the hills that divide Northamptonshire and Warwickshire. The plan was originally to run the Great Central Main line through a cutting but the Catesby Estate insisted a tunnel be built. There are 5 of these air shafts along the 3000yd tunnel. 2,900,000 cubic yards of material was dug out and the tunnel, portals and airshafts are lined with about 30 million bricks. Some project when you consider it was all done by manual labour.
Skylark cafe Staverton.
Unfortunately, Di and I got separated from the others near to Hellidon. I had stopped to take a photo with Di, and the others carried on and turned left to Hellidon. We did not realise this and when we rached the A361, the main Daventry to Banbury Road it dawned on us that we had become detached from the main group. Another cyclist stopped and chatted with us and put us right as to where the Skylark Cafe was. After a unescorted tour around the pretty village of Staverton and old dear mowing her lawn (we think the only human being in a 10 mile radius) giving us directions, we finally caught up with the rest at the Skylark Cafe. A nice place to eat, a bit pricey but a good menu. One interesting thing about the place, the extensive grounds were covered in chickens scratting about all over the grass.
Left the cafe and turned right off the A425 towards Flecknoe. A nice road this, a bit of a roller coaster as someone put it. This is John reaching one of the tops of the little climbs. Beware the potholes scattered along this stretch though.
The Old Mint Pub SouthamA historical curiosity about Southam is that in medieval times, the town minted its own local currency. This was done because local people found ordinary coins too high in value for everyday use. The old mint house is now a pub called The Old Mint. During the Civil War, King Charles used the mint to make new coins to pay his soldiers. It is a grade 2 listed building.
28 miles today, in glorious sunshine and tackling not so glorious hills. The one heading towards Hellidon was more suited to be tackled by cable car.