On Wednesday 12th August an intrepid band of vets comprising Richard, Andy, Adrian, Kerry, Jim, Joe and Russ set off from North Leigh Common to cycle the beautiful Evenlode Valley to Charlbury and back. The heat was already building as we set off in good spirits.
First stop after descending a stone track to the valley floor was the impressive English Heritage riverside Roman Villa with its restored mosaic tile floors. After a sketchy ride along the western bank of the river through woodland and swathes of nettle, which Russ managed to fall into, we crossed the river and cycled onwards to Charlbury, taking in the views over the river valley only blighted by a community solar farm which powers Charlbury village. We were met by a sign on the outskirts of the village proclaiming “ Charlbury welcomes cyclists and walkers ! “
After a jolly, suitably distanced, French style lunch beneath pergolas laden with green and red grapes at the Bull in central Charlbury, we sallied forth into the still heat of the afternoon to pick up Sustrans route 442 which winds its way back along the western valley side through the Cornbury Park estate, home of the infamous Co
rnbury Festival. Large numbers of deer were seen flaked out in the shade of the massive parkland trees. After passing through a shaded remnant of the Wychwood Forest and some challenging, but fun, downhill off road riding, we picked up a quiet backroad and cycled gently back to North Leigh Common through the heat of the afternoon. It was only when I later downloaded my Garmin watch that I discovered that the temperature in the mid afternoon was 91 degrees Fahrenheit……