Summer Wednesday Exploration Ride to Bransby Horses
17th July 2019
A true 'Summer's Day' was forecast with a sunny morning and a maximum temperature of 25 degrees Celsius. Perfect for a ride to Bransby Horses (Rescue and Welfare).
Meeting up at Willingham Woods were Barry Jordan (who had ridden from near Binbrook), Rob Whitworth, John Ambler and Tim Newbery. Chris Owen had hoped to meet up with us at Bransby.
Today's route would have Cycling UK Louth members follow Sustrans NCN Route 1 past the race course into Market Rasen and then along the B1202 to Linwood. Turning west along Lissingley Lane, we enjoyed some attractive very rural roads that criss-crossed the Lincoln to Grimsby railway line. Interesting too to pass the famous Jim Broadbent Theatre at Wickenby. Built in 1878, it was converted from a Methodist Chapel to a theatre in 1971 and takes its name from Roy Broadbent who was heavily involved in its conversion. Hollywood actor Jim Broadbent is the son of Roy Broadbent.
Continuing into the wind and climbing 'Welton Hill' (altitude 13 m) we made good progress to Welton, arriving at The Secret Garden Tea Rooms a few minutes ahead of schedule. The Tea Rooms are quite a revelation as there's a super garden that opens out of the main seating area. We were made most welcome with Shelly making us feel at home. A fine selection of cakes but on this occasion, members opted for the bacon buns. Cooked to perfection with aficionado John Ambler giving a high mark! We were scheduled to return later in the afternoon when we would hope to sample the home-made scones and cakes!
Sadly Chris had picked up a puncture and wasn't able to join us at the Tea Rooms but had messaged that he'd be waiting for us at Bransby, whilst Barry returned on a direct route home to be back in time for his Garden Club meeting.
Our route would take us through the attractive village of Hackthorn with local stonework much in evidence. Once a Medieval settlement there's still a well preserved ridge and furrow and the remains of the priory of Bullington (founded by St Gilbert of Sempringham, Lincolnshire) can also be seen near Grange Farm. Another of the villages that succumbed to the horrors of the Black Death.
Crossing the busy A15 at RAF Scampton, we were delighted to have one of the Red Arrow Hawks fly around on a series of 'circuits and bumps'. Followed by a fine descent into Brattleby, through Thopre le Fallows it wasn't long before we arrived at Bransby Horses, exactly at the time Chris arrived. Bransby Horses, set in 600 acres, looks after more than 400 rescued horses, donkeys and mules. It caters for Rescue, Rehabilitation and Rehoming. We noticed a group of hard working and enthusiastic team of staff and volunteers and their dedication was obvious to see. Following a tour, we also enjoyed hot drinks and refreshments from the Feedroom Cafe.
Departing at about 2 pm the club retraced the outward route and looked forward to climb up the Lincoln Edge to the old Roman Road, Ermine Street. It was here that we encountered a lady walking briskly up the hill, only to touch the signpost and turn back. Exchanging pleasantries and on enquiry, we discovered that this lady had a terminal illness but was still determined to accomplish her daily exercise, come what may. Truly inspirational.
Chris would leave us at Mill Farm to continue to Cold Harbour whilst the rest continued to Welton and another visit to the Tea Rooms. Definitely worth a second visit and the home made scones and flapjacks were super.
Replete, finally, a return to Willingham Woods in time to watch the arrival of the 'Bikers' for their Wednesday Meet. We also met a father and a very enthusiastic son on their push bikes. The young lads aim was to own a racing bike. Great to see such enthusiasm.
A wonderful day out, with 49 miles clocked up, Barry having completed 46. Many thanks to all.