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The Wye Valley
   
 

 
Tour Summary

 

This was our first foray into cycle touring. Terry had purchased a touring bike and some panniers for commuting to work and Isa had borrowed some panniers. We decided to set out from Worcester towards the Wye Valley for an overnight stop over the first May Bank Holiday in 2003. The total route was 120 Km

 

 
Map

 

     

 
Commentary & Photos
 

This route started out from Worcester and headed generally South-Westwards towards the Wye Valley. Being our first ever outing on loaded touring bikes the start was a little stuttering. Loading a touring bike is an art - if you get the balance wrong the bike handles like a pig - or you go around in circles.

 

 
View from Old Hills towards the Malverns
 
 
Wye valley  near Strangford
 
The next problem was due to poor mounting of panniers, causing a pannier to drop off the back of the bike, followed by the heels of our shoes hitting the bags. Eventually all the minor niggles were sorted out and we had left Worcester behind us. This being our first fully laden route we chose a flattish route South of the Malvern Hills. This lead through quiet country lanes until we reached the bottom of the Malverns where a headwind started.
 
 

 

Once past the Malverns the headwind died down and we made our first stop at Much Marcle to visit the lovely old Hellens House. A tour of the gardens was followed by tea and cakes. Unfortunately the tea and cakes left no room to visit the other highlight of Much Marcle - the Westons Cider Mill.

 

 
 
 
River Wye at Sellack
 
From Much Marcle the road climbed steeply to cross the Marcle Hills - a good 100 m climb. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that the reality of the taking a loaded bike up a steep hill wasn't nearly as bad as we had feared (that said it still wasn't a walk in the park). The road dropped down to How Caple on the River Wye. The road then followed closely to the River Wye with beautiful steep wooded slopes to the left full of Bluebells.
 
 

We crossed the River Wye via a small footbridge near Foy. The footbridge was fine but the route onto the road the otherside involved a stile - never good with a loaded bike. The bikes were unloaded, lifted over the stile and then reloaded again and we were continued to the hamlet of Sellack. We found a quiet corner of a field and set up the tent just as the sun was beginning to set. The camping spot was ideal, lovely views and perfectly tranquil.

We ate that evening in the Lough Pool pub down the road - a relaxing, sumptuous treat when you are camping in a field with no facilities.

 
Footbridge over the River Wye at Sellack
 
 
View of teh Malvern Hills from the Marcle Hills
 

 

The tranquility was broken as the dawn rose by a wild (ie mad) duck that insisted on flying up and down the river adjacent to the tent. The duck repeatedly flew along and landed in a huge flourish of spraying water and raucous quacking (Note: don't forget ear plugs next time).

We started off from Sellack by crossing another small footbridge across the Wye to Kings Caple. The quiet country lanes made for great cycling as we passed through numerous tiny villages and hamlets.

 

 
 

The route took us through Fownhope and then to Woolhope. Woolhope is a sleepy little village hidden away in the folds of the Marcle Hills and has two fabulous pubs well worth visiting. We carried on climbing up to the summit of the Marcle Hills. A top ten view point along the ridge and Eastwards to the Malvern Hills. We cooked up some sausage sandwiches for lunch, and feeling brave decided to return to Worcester by tackling the Malvern Hills

 

 
View to Ridge Hill from Marcle Hills
 
 
Bluebells on the Western Slope of the Malvern Hills
 

 

We took the fast descent and the little Marcle Lane to Ledbury where we stopped for a cup of tea. The backroute from Ledbury manages to avoid all of the traffic on the busy A449 before reaching Colwall Green. The climb of 200m from here to the B4232 is steep in places but quiet and varied enough to take your mind off the burning thighs. Once on the B4232 the the cycle around to the North end of the Malverns has a constantly changing view - and a rip roaring final descent into Great Malvern and thence to Sherrards Green.

 

 

 

The final 8 kM faded away as the sun was setting and we reached home with a great sense of achievement. A good nights rest and another sunny day and we decided we would definitely give cycle touring another go!

 

 
For more information or questions please contact us at isaetterry@mac.com