This week our rides depart from Ivinghoe church at 9.30am, 10am or 10.30am. After this we will be switching to “summer mode” when Tuesday evening rides will start at the roundabout in Pitstone at 6.30pm and the longer Sunday rides will start at 9am.
Thanks as always to Dave Bembridge for providing the 10am and 10.30 routes. This week a 31 mile ride takes us to Soulbury while our 21 mile offering loops out to Tottenhoe
Our 9.30am route https://ridewithgps.com/routes/42687782 The Kimpton Kracker, 47 miles with the hills in the right direction (shallow side up). Kimpton is bypassed by two Roman roads, Watling Street and Ermine Street and there is evidence of a network on minor Roman roads through the parish. A chariot bell was found at Blackmore End, a spot we cycle past. This could have been a relic from the bloody encounter between Boudicca, queen of the Iceni and Roman governor Suetonius. Kimpton recieved 138 children from the great evacuation of London in 1938 and two years later this forward thinking village decided to allow female voices to be heard in the church choir!
10am https://ridewithgps.com/routes/42673480 This week a 31 mile ride takes us to Soulbury. Soulbury in an Anglo Saxon name meaning “stronghold in a gully” it was mentioned in the doomsday book as Soleberie. Just before we turn left out of Soulbury there is a road on the right called Chapel Hill, close to the junction with the high street there is a glacial rock on the middle of the road. It is said that the Devil himself once came to the village, but the villagers came together to fight him off. One of them took his sword and cut off the Devil’s foot and as it fell to the ground it turned to stone. The stone came to be known as the Soulbury Boot and the pub being named the duke of Wellington is a nod to the boot! Soulbury has a dark past, with a strong association with the cottage industry of straw plaiting. The Plaiting saw girls as young as 4 years old introduced into long working hours, working with bleached straw. Death rates in the 19th century were 50% higher amoung straw plaiters than the general population due party to having to lick the sulphur covered straw to make it workable.
10.30am https://ridewithgps.com/routes/42673499 21 mile offering loops out to Tottenhoe. Tottenhoe was named in the Doomsday book as Totene Hou meaning look-out house and spur. The knolls were part of a Norman Keep and it was considered to be a fine Motte and Bailey Castle. The stone quarried from the knolls end of the village has been used in many local churches and also St Albans cathedral and Woburn Abbey. At the start of the 20th century Tottenhoe was served by a railway line with the station down at Stanbridgeford, there was a siding for the local lime works and the line attracted many day trippers from the big towns for a day in the country at Tottenhoe. The line was cut during the beeching reforms and is now the “Sewell Greenway” a pleasant cycle route, but maybe not on your best road bike.
In a future week we will be putting out a treasure hunt style ride with some more historic facts to look out for, so keep your eyes peeled and enjoy the rides!