Heading south to Paper Mill Lock
This was one of Mick’s slightly longer rides for the 20 of us who rode from our usual start point on Drury Lane. There was an option to start from Great Leighs for those who wanted a shorter ride. This group of 6, led by Adrian and Diane, met us near Humphreys Farm at Ranks Green.
Mick’s safety Thought for the Day was about riding on the correct side of the road. Apparently there had been a near miss last weekend, by a hot, tired, rider cutting a corner at a t-junction, when an oncoming car had to do an emergency stop. Also, Diane and I had been riding single track roads, and I was aware that sometimes(!) I was paying more attention to talking than riding safely, and I needed to drop back to single file when approaching corners.
It was a glorious day for riding on country lanes. The midsummer flowers were abundant on this part of the ride. There was a very attractive pink and white bindweed (which I am glad was not in my garden!), some astonishing yellow iris in a boggy patch at a turn in the road, yellow ragwort, red poppies, blue cornflowers, pink scabious and white yarrow. I also saw the scourge of the railways – pink rosebay willowherb – just coming into season! This wildflower has windborne seeds, and migrates easily along railways, because the passing trains create an airflow that distributes the seeds.
We went through Fuller Street, Terling and crossed the A12 at Crix. It then seemed mostly downhill to Paper Mill Lock, which today appeared a popular destination for cycle groups. This was a moderately hilly ride for the Braintree Easy Riders, as Braintree is about 200 feet higher altitude than our destination, but although we descended about 400 feet, we had also climbed about 200. This means it was going to be mostly uphill on the way back!
On leaving Paper Mill Lock, we toiled back up the hill, turning right at the top, making our way to Hatfield
Peverel. We pedalled over the railway line and made our way to Fairstead, before retracing our steps from Ranks Green back to Braintree. 27 miles.