Orwell Bridge, Ipswich

OS Explorer Map 197 coordinates 170 412 for the layby at Wherstead.

I got enthused at the idea of exploring the Shotley peninsula after looking at some aerial photographs.  I wanted to tick off Pin Mill, Holbrook and Shotley Gate. Getting to Alton Water by bike was looking possible. I was keen to see Felixstowe from the other side of the Orwell and start working out some routes near the River Stour estuary. All that, however, will go on hold due to the horrible experience of cycling on the B1456.

My route from Kesgrave to Shotley Gate was going to be NCR 1 into Ipswich then across Bridge Street and down the west bank of the Orwell along Wherstead Road, past the Shell station and left at the Bourne roundabout/Fox’s marina. Then it looked like a straighforward ride along the B1456 all the way to Shotley Gate. 30 mile round trip or thereabouts, no problem.

By the time I got to Freston I was so frazzled from being overtaken too close at high speed by numerous cars and lorries I decided to pull into a layby and consider my options. Looking back down Freston hill there was a great view of the Orwell bridge. Looking uphill I shuddered as another truck hurtled by. Reluctantly I turned around and rode back down the hill stopping just to take a few pictures.

I rode back the way I had come along NCR 1 feeling a bit disappointed. That’s the first time I’ve abandoned a ride like that. From the safety of my living room I can see a nice diamond marked route on the map that might have got me from Freston all the way to Shotley well away from the main road. I think the answer might be to put the bike on the car rack and drive a bit to see if the road improves past Freston Hill, then I can decide when and how to try again.

There is a campaign to build a cycle route alongside the B1456 which I now completely understand. The views of the Orwell and the bridge are impressive but for a cyclist the road is dangerous. Details of the SPCC (Shotley Peninsula Cycle Campaign) here.

Things didn’t go to plan today but it was still worth the ride out. I clocked up another 22 miles in the amazing October sunshine and had a look under the Orwell bridge, until now I’ve only ever driven over it.


About debencyclist

Cycling enthusiast
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