Alton Water, Holbrook and Stutton

OS Explorer map 197 coordinates 1535 for the car park, cafe and bike hire shop. Alton Water bike hire and maps at this website

I’ve been to Alton Water before and hired a bike to go around the lake. Now I’ve got my own MTB and a bike rack I can go when I like which is great because the bike shop and the cafe were closed today.

I did a lap and at point 6 went off onto the road for a bit which avoids some of the up and down bits alongside the lake. Its a tiny diversion and next time I think I’ll just stick to the track. There’s a signpost on the road which leads you back to the lake at point 7, Birchwood.

After my lap of the lake (about 9 miles) I headed left out of Alton Water park for a look at the Royal Hospital School in Holbrook.

On the way back to Alton I took a left signposted for Stutton Church hoping  this might get me closer to the river. This was a narrow leafy lane and just past the church there’s a public footpath to your left which turns into track and was cyclable all the way to the River Stour. I got some lovely views across to Wrabness and then looking downriver could see Felixstowe port in the distance. Looking back there was a great view of the Royal Hospital School and grounds.

According to the OS map it looks like the track goes all the way along to Shotley Gate. I turned back when it started to narrow but I might go back another day. A lovely hot and sunny 13 mile ride on my now very dusty MTB.

Posted in Manningtree, River Stour | Tagged , ,

Kirton Creek

OS Explorer map 197 coordinates 286 423 for the track to Stoney Wood, on the right just past Hemley church.

This ride has been on my ‘to do’ list since @SuffolkCyclist described a route to Kirton Creek on my Hemley post. Now I’ve got the MTB I can do a bit of off road exploring so I set off on a sunny Sunday morning.

Past Hemley church I noticed that the straight ahead route to the Deben was blocked by a locked gate and a big ‘private no access to river’ sign. That’s disappointing but maybe it will be open another day. Its a dead end but I wanted to have my lunch there and maybe see an owl.

I turned around and found the track and headed off to Kirton Creek. That didn’t work out either. The sluice is being repaired and the notices say the path will be shut until 6th April 2012 or later. Its later as we’re well into May.  Just before the big fence blocking the footpath I climbed the bank and got a lovely view across the creek to the Deben. I’ll definitely be going back to explore the track onto Falkenham creek and hopefully all the way down to Felixstowe Ferry.

I had to retrace my steps to Hemley but rather than taking the road to Waldringfield I turned left along a wide track that went through Ranglins Wood, across Puddingpokes (really, look at the map!) and rejoined the road at Newbourne village hall. There were a couple of stiles and I’m grateful to the nice chap who lifted my bike over for me, otherwise I might have done my third U-turn of the day.

I covered 14 miles in a couple of hours. It didn’t work out as planned but it was fun and I’ll go back another day.

Posted in River Deben | Tagged , , ,

Rendlesham Forest

After Sunday’s 66 miles on the road (see Suffolk Sunrise post) I fancied a bit of a contrast today so put the MTB on the car rack and drove to Rendlesham forest to try out their 10 mile bike trail.

It was beautiful and if you fancy a bit of cycling but don’t like roads I’d recommend giving this a go. You’ll need an MTB, CX or hybrid rather than a skinny tyre road bike. There is a bike hire shop but it wasn’t open today.

For directions and other facilities look at Rendlesham Forest visitor website here

I followed the green FIDO signs along sandy track, gravelly bits, muddy bits with puddles and through piles of pine cones. I got around in about an hour.

The ride was accompanied by birds singing, squirrels scampering, pigs grunting and deer running across the track right in front of me. Oh, and I saw some ponies. Idyllic or what?

Posted in Woodbridge | Tagged , , ,

Suffolk Sunrise 100km

Sunday 13th May 2012 I rode in my first sportive, the AMR Suffolk Sunrise 100km.

The route was a loop starting at Framlingham College taking in many towns and villages including Kettleburgh, Bredfield, Wickham Market, Woodbridge and Alderton before working back up the coast via Hollesley, Orford, Iken and Snape and finally westwards back to Framlingham via Knodishall and Saxmundham.

I started, I finished and I got a medal. The organisation was excellent, the signage perfect, the riders friendly and the food stops well stocked. The weather was kind and the scenery beautiful. I had a brilliant day and I watched some of the 100 mile riders finishing and wondered if I want to go further next time.

No, not until I can go faster. 6 hours 2 minutes in the saddle is quite enough 🙂

Posted in River Alde, Woodbridge | Tagged , , ,

Aldeburgh scallop

OS Explorer Map 212 coordinates 468 575 for the car park near the scallop sculpture.

Maggie Hambling’s sculpture on Aldeburgh beach has been a cycling target of mine for ages and today I finally got there. This was 27 miles from Kesgrave via Woodbridge, Rendlesham Forest, Butley, Sudbourne, Iken and Snape. Chilly but peaceful and packed with wildlife including deer, piglets, pheasants, rabbits, squirrels and sadly, a dead fox.

I was met by my lovely family in the car park as we’d planned to ride up the coast together to Thorpeness and maybe Sizewell but due to it being cold and draughty mini-me refused and I had to concede that my knee had resigned round about Snape and could probably do with a rest. The coast path up to Thorpeness looks great and we’ll definitely be going back.


Posted in Aldeburgh, River Alde

Framlingham College

I’ve been to Framlingham before on the old bike (see Framlingham Castle post). This was the first time on the new bike, the first time I’ve gone as far as the college AND my first ride powered by raspberry lucozade and jelly beans.

This is more training notes for me than a route guide suffice to say 36 miles round trip roughly Kesgrave to Woodbridge then Wickham Market onto Framlingham. Through Fram to the college, look across the lake at the castle view. Back into Fram for a close look at the castle and some lucozade and a Trek bar. Out of Fram to Kettleburgh then back to Wickham Market. More lucozade and some jelly beans in the bus stop then home via Dallinghoo, Bredfield and Bealings.

Note to self….I’m fit enough I just need more fuel stops and to practice eating jelly beans on the move. Bring on the Suffolk Sunrise! Looking forward to it slightly more than dreading it now. 🙂

Posted in Woodbridge | Tagged , ,

Winter Deben

Just a few pictures today from a beautifully bright lunchtime ride down to Kyson Point Woodbridge via Broom Heath. Only 9 miles but it was great to get out on the bike after weeks of cold, gloom and snow.

Posted in River Deben, Woodbridge