Friday, 18 November 2011

New ride discovered

I was on the saddle for just short of three hours and I have questions. Why do people pee in clear plastic bags and leave them hanging on branches by the side of the road? There's no punchline, I just want to know why as I saw a few on my new ride. To be honest, I thought it was something out of the Blair Witch Project, you know, weird signs left in the woods, but, well, if you have the answer, let me know.
Fields on Skid Hill Lane.
In addition to questions, I have made a discovery too: I now know where travelling fairgrounds go when they're not on the outskirts of town or bang in the middle of a local park entertaining the townsfolk.

Yesterday (Friday 18th November) I set out alone and I was on a mission: to find another destination. I found one, with plenty of park benches (a place called Coney Hall) and there's a better place (Keston) but I didn't get there, although it's roughly the same distance away.

The route's roughly the same: meet at Warlingham Green, travel along the road to Botley Hill (B269) and turn left into Beech Farm Road. Then travel along Hesiers Road (not Hesiers Hill). Hesiers Road becomes Skid Hill Lane and then, at the junction with King Henry's Drive, cycle straight over and into Layhams Road. Both Skid Hill Lane and Layhams Road are good roads, although the latter is longer and both are rural. I cycled the length of Layhams Road, but ended up on the A2022 Addington Road - that was a disappointment as I knew that by turning left I would have riden back towards home. Turning right would have taken me into Bromley and going straight ahead (up Corkscrew Hill) would have taken me to West Wickham.

I turned back on myself as the Coney Hall Recreation Ground was rather pleasant - plenty of benches! I crossed the fields into Church Drive, turned left and found a parade of shops - including a bike shop - but the shops were just shops so I rode back along Church Drive, left into Queensway and then right into Birch Tree Avenue. This led to Layhams Road, I turned left and retraced my route towards Skid Hill Lane and back home, via those back roads past St Leonard's Church, emerging at Warlingham Sainsbury's.
Looking down on the bottom of Hesiers Hill and Beddlestead Lane from Skid Hill Lane.
Along Layhams Road were a lot of gypsies - and fairground equipment. This, I realised, was where fairground rides (and their operators) take a rest. George Irwin's fairground rides to be precise. Layhams  has two roads - North Pole Lane and Nash Lane, both of which lead to Keston via Fox Lane and I reckon that Keston is where we should go, although the recreation ground at Coney Hall, while exposed, would be nice on a pleasant day.

Theoretically, there's a hell of a lot of off-road in the area. I found a 'footpath to Keston' off of Layhams Road (1.25 miles) but there's a vast expanse of land between Layhams and the busier A233 Westerham Road on Layhams' eastern side. It is possible, according to the map, to leave Keston on Fox Lane, turn right into Jackass Lane (no, not the same one) and then turning right into Blackness Lane and then following tracks a long way to Sheepbarn Lane, hanging a right and rejoining Layhams at the crossroads with King Henry's Drive and Skid Hill Lane.

The only problem is this: I was on the saddle for just short of three hours and without the customary NoVisibleLycra tea break. I left the house at 1020 and reached home at 1310. Translate this to our usual early morning times from the Green and that's 1010 back at the green - without stopping for tea!

I suggest we try a road ride to Keston and back first to test the time more than anything else.

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