Thursday, 20 April 2017

Magical Mystery Tour 37

In Leamington for a couple of days and arranged a ride out with Graham and Mick.  Well, Graham arranged the ride and after we met in Stoneleigh took us on a 'mystery' tour.  Quite a change having no idea where we were going.  Left Stoneleigh and headed through Baginton towards Coventry.  We did need to navigate the A45 at Toll Bar Island and after a 3 year major reconstruction it was a tortuous affair that required us negotiate three or four cycle crossings.  Carrying on through the eastern part of Coventry it dawned on me.  We were going to Coombe Abbey.

Coombe Abbey

Built as a monastery in the 12th century, it is now a hotel whilst the grounds are owned and managed by Coventry City council.  It is a Grade 1 listed building.  This view is looking down the main drive towards the house.  We came here to have a look around the grounds and try and find a heronry, the biggest in Warwickshire.

Coombe Lake.

A view of the rear of the Abbey looking across the upper part of Coombe Lake.  The grounds were redesigned by 'Cababilty' Brown in 1771.  A local man advised where the heronry was so we cycled through the grounds to find it.  Luckily there has been no rain for some time and the dirt tracks were rideable.  

Bird Hide

We found a bird hide, part the way round the lake but could not actually see the heronry.  We were treated to the site of nesting cormorants and them flying around with nest building material to the tree tops.  Couldn't stop there all day though, onward and upward.


A very pleasant ride around the estate.  A lot of fallen logs scattered about and we surmised it was to help in the management of the wildlife in the park, they were ideal hideaways for bugs, mice, voles etc.  You can see below how rideable the paths were.

Brandon Marsh

We left Coombe Abbey and followed a bridal path, a bit rough in places, over to Brandon.  The destination there was a very nice tea room adjacent to the offices and shop of the Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve, managed by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.  Tea and toasted tea cake were the order of the day, thanks to Graham (he had the token) and we sat in a window seat watching birds feeding.  Not too many of them unfortunately as workmen were building a hide nearby and that disturbed them.  Saw a reed bunting for the first time and long tail tits were feeding very close to the window.

Left the cafe and after negotiation Toll Bar Island again, made our way home, parting at Stoneleigh.  A good ride today, been to a few places I've not been before so a real Magical Mystery Tour.  Covered 37 miles and also exceeded the weekly target.

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