Greetings fellow cyclists and readers. We are a group of recreational cyclists: all members of Cycling UK formerly CTC. We enjoy rides on Tuesdays on routes around Chester.

We meet near The Plough pub, Plough Lane, Christleton on Tuesday mornings and set off at 10.00. All are welcome; we are a friendly group. Please wear a cycling helmet. We will expect you to join Cycling UK after the first couple of rides, that will ensure you are insured.

We typically ride for an hour or so to a cafe for 11’ses and then on for another hour or so to our lunch stop. This is more often than not, a pub. If you want to bring your own grub that’s fine also. By lunch we will have usually covered 20-30 miles. Depending on the route we’ll have a 15-25 mile return leg back to Chester. Some of the group will join us just for the run to coffee, some will carry on later and for a longer ride, especially in the summer for afternoon tea before returning home. We are flexible. You would be right to gauge we like our coffees/teas and lunch.

We cycle to all points around the compass from our starting point including country lanes in Cheshire, The Wirral, North Wales and Shropshire. You’ll enjoy lots of our countryside right through the seasons as well as good company and champion discussions not to mention refreshments.

We take our name Watson’s Wanderers from Harry Watson – Harry the Bike who set up and led this group over the last 26 years. Harry reached 88 years in November ’16 and stood down from running the group at the end of the year. He has cycled >710,000 miles to date and still joins us occasionally! The Wanderers have visited over 630 pubs under Harry’s leadership during the last 26 years.

2018 Rides List

Date 11’s Lunch Approx mileage
02-Jan-18 Tillys, Bunbury Farmers Arms, Ravensmoor  35
09-Jan-18 Hosta cafe,  Ledsham Old Quay,  Parkgate  38
16-Jan-18 Shire Horses Cotebrook Bluebell cafe, Barrow  32
23-Jan-18 Delamere Stn cafe White Lion, Alvanley  33
30-Jan-18 Chocks Away Golden Lion, Rossett  40
06-Feb-18 CANCELLED CANCELLED
13-Feb-18 Station House cafe, Whitegate Willington Hall, Kelsall  38
20-Feb-18 Cleopatras, Holt The Buck, Bangor on Dee  40
27-Feb-18 Tarporley fire stn Red Lion,  Winsford  40
06-Mar-18 Nets Red Fox, Thornton Heath 43
13-Mar-18 Tillys,  Bunbury Cholmondley Arms 38
20-Mar-18 Gladstone library, Hawarden Red Lion,  Doddleston 40
27-Mar-18 The Stableyard, Bangor on Dee Sun Inn, Welshampton 50
03-Apr-18 Pillory Cafe, Nantwich Bhurtapore inn, Wrenbury 50
10-Apr-18 Tarporley fire stn The Badger, Church Minshull  50
17-Apr-18 Gemmas, Malpas Old Jack, Calverhall  65
24-Apr-18 Tillys, Bunbury Dysart Arms, Bunbury  40
01-May-18 Yvonnes, Connahs Quay Piccadilly inn, Caerwys  62
08-May-18 Station House cafe, Whitegate Barbridge Inn  45
15-May-18 Hosta cafe, Ledsham Refreshment rooms, Eastham  55
22-May-18 Tillys, Bunbury White Lion , Barthomley 60
29-May-18 Shire Horses Cotebrook Tatton Park 65
05-Jun-18 (9.30 start) Hanmer Sleap airfield 80
12-Jun-18 (9.30 start) The Stableyard, Bangor on Dee Ponderosa Cafe (Horseshoe Pass) 65
17-Jun-18 (Sunday) BOB CLIFT RIDE BOB CLIFT RIDE 50/100
19-Jun-18 Nets Wirral Circular Trail 68
26-Jun-18 TBA Cornmill, Llangollen 62
01-Jul-18 (Sunday) VETS 100 miles VETS 100 miles 100

 

External Links

We are part of Chester and North Wales CTC, here is the link to their website.

http://www.ctcchesterandnwales.org.uk/

Another group our members ride with from time to time is the Chester Easy Riders, here is a link to their website.

http://www.chestereasyriders.co.uk/

This U-Tube video gives a summary of Harry’s cycling exploits.

 

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Tuesday February 6th – RIDE CANCELLED

Dear Riders,

We have cancelled tomorrow’s ride on the basis of the forecast of poor weather.

We will resume on Tuesday 13th February with our planned ride to Station House Cafe, Whitegates and Willington Hall, Kelsall.

We will reschedule our ride to Nets and the Red Fox to a later date.

2017 Rides

 

2017 Rides List

Date 11’s Lunch approx distance
03-Jan-17 Gemma’s Malpas Anchor Whitchurch 45
10-Jan-17 Hosta cafe Ledsham Thatch Raby 44
17-Jan-17 Tillys Bunbury Black lion Nantwich 43
24-Jan-17 Cleopatras Holt Gladstone library 47
31-Jan-17 Yvonnes Glasfryn Mold 50
07-Feb-17 Tarporley fire stn Red lion Winsford 43
14-Feb-17 Nets Jug & bottle Heswall  50
21-Feb-17 Nantwich pillory Audlem Bridge Inn  52
28-Feb-17  Bluebell cafe  Queens Head , Frodsham  50
07-Mar-17  Chocks Away  Golden Lion, Rossett  40
14-Mar-17  Cotebrook Sh horses  White Bear, Middlewich  55
21-Mar-17 The Stableyard,  Bangor on Dee  Red Lion,  Ellesmere  55
28-Mar-17  Hosta cafe, Ledsham  Irby Mill, Irby  50
4-Apr-17 Fire Station Tarporley  Barbridge Inn  45
11-Apr-17 Tilly’s Bunbury Olde Jack, Calverhall  58
18-Apr-17 Delamere station cafe Anderton Lock, Stanley Arms ca 52
25-Apr-17  Cleopatra’s Holt Erdigg – National Trust Card needed) ca 45
02-May-17 Yvonne’s Connah’s Quay  Piccadilly Inn Caerwys  ca 60 and hilly.
09-May-17  Pillory Cafe, Nantwich  Red Lion Inn, Market Drayton  ca 65
16-May-17 The Stableyard, Bangor on Dee Cock O Barton (Gemma’s closed until 1st June) ca 45
23-May-17 Station house cafe Whitegate way White Lion Alvanley ca 45
30-May-17  Pillory Cafe, Nantwich White Lion Barthomley  ca 63
06-Jun-17  Nets  Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight  ca 50
13-Jun-17 The Plassey, Bangor on Dee Chirk Castle – Bring National Trust card ca 65
20-Jun-17 Hawarden Library cafe Pant-Yr-Ochain, Gresford ca 45
27-Jun-17 Cottage tea shop, Frodsham Maypole,  Acton bridge ca 45
04-Jul-17 Gemma’s Malpas Cotton Arms, Wrenbury ca 45
11-Jul-17 Nets Refreshment rooms , Eastham ca 55
18-Jul-17  Cleopatra’s Holt  Sun Inn Welshampton  ca 60
25-Jul-17  Shire Horses Cotebrook  Barbridge Inn  ca 45
01-Aug-17  Station House cafe Whitegate Tatton Park Knutsford  ca 60
08-Aug-17  Pillory Cafe, Nantwich  Olde Jack Inn, Calverhall  ca 60
15-Aug-17 9.45 start  Hanmer  Sleap airfield  (Led by Graham – )  ca 70
22-Aug-17  Delamere Stn cafe  Bulls Head Davenham  ca 45
29-Aug-17 Bangor on Dee  Red Lion, Ellesmere  ca 55
05-Sep-17 Gemma’s Malpas Wheatsheaf Whitchurch ca 50
12-Sep-17 Chocks away Golden Lion, Rossett ca 40
19-Sep-17 Station House cafe Whitegate Tatton Park ca 65
26-Sep-17 Nets Burton marshes Lady Lever, Port Sunlight ca 55
03-Oct-17 Pillory cafe, Nantwich Bridgemere Garden centre ca 60
10-Oct-17 Macmillan coffee Red Lion Little Budworth ca 40
17-Oct-17 Cleopatras Holt The Keys, St Martins ca 55
24-Oct-17 9.45 start Tillys Bunbury Bhurtapore Inn ca 45
31-Oct-17 Sycamore Garden centre The Thatch, Raby ca 40
07-Nov-17 Bangor on Dee Wheatsheaf, No Mans Heath ca 50
14-Nov-17 Tarporley fire stn The Badger, Church Minshull ca 45
21-Nov-17 Frodsham Tea rooms Maypole Acton bridge ca 45
28-Nov-17 Cleopatras Holt Gemma’s Malpas ca 40
05-Dec-17 Gladstone library Red Lion Doddleston ca 35
12-Dec-17 Cancelled – poor weather -Shire Horses Cotebrook Blue Bell, Barrow Cancelled

ca 32

19-Dec-17 Kingsway cafe NETS  Xmas lunch (12.30) ca 33
26-Dec-17 NO RIDE

Tuesday 9th January, Hosta Cafe and The Old Quay, Parkgate

It was a cold, grey Tuesday morning that saw ten of us set off from the Plough. We agreed to keep the ride succinct given the mercury was hovering around 3C. We took a direct route onto the Greenway turning off in Blacon and on to Saughall. We turned off before leaving the village onto Lodge Lane in the direction of the A494 bypass. As we left Saughall we cycled through milky puddles outside Parkgate House. We were intrigued to learn that a few hundred metres south sat the remains of Shotwick Castle, just a few earthworks remaining from its origin in 1093.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shotwick_Castle

We briefly glimpsed the milky sun for a few hundred metres as we crossed the A494 then back to the cold grey: at least the ice had largely retreated to the side puddles. Into Ledsham village and then the warm embrace of Hosta Cafe but to reach it we had to snake our way through the garden centre with our bikes.

At Ledsham eight of us had a straight run on road and track to Willaston, two looped back home. In Willaston we turned right towards Raby but managed to introduce a useful detour bringing us to the east of Neston. We picked up the Wirral way and found ourselves by a graveyard. Lionel directed us to the grave of the former church organist. Apparently he died, struck by lightning, while playing the organ! The engraved stone work offered little sympathy to the poor man.

The Old Quay provided a satisfying buffet lunch. We paused as we were leaving to briefly look at the wall plate on the building opposite: dedicated to Emma, Lady Hamilton, born in Ness and mistress to Lord Nelson, plus much else.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma,_Lady_Hamilton

Our rides are full of history.

We made our way onto the cycleway by Burton Marshes then back onto the Greenway and home.

Happy New Year

Tuesday 2nd January to Tilly’s in Bunbury and The Farmers Arms, Ravensmoor

The weather forecast 36 hrs before we rode was pretty diabolical but in the eventuality we really only had some early showers.
Eight of us met up at the Plough and after Happy New Years and remembering we didn’t have to wait for Dave we got underway to the accompaniment of said showers.
Tilly’s was packed but she had kindly reserved us a table.
Ravensmoor was not so far and we arrived before one. We were seven for lunch. The pub had only one other customer as we arrived. The food was very good.

Everywhere en route was wet and any opportunity for standing water seemed to have been taken. Great care is needed through puddles as these can hide unforgiving potholes. We survived without a spill.

The route itself was not so adventurous and took us along familiar lanes. It suited our scope during the short winter day.

A good start to our cycling trips in 2018.

Xmas Lunch 2017

Harry organised lunch for us at Nets for the 3rd year running. The weather kept fair which was remarkable considering the previous 10 days and we sat down at 12.30.

We had a full Xmas lunch, starter, main & dessert with mince pies & teas/coffees to follow. Not bad for £15.00. There were 30 of us in total.

Some photos of the day have been posted on the Gallery.

Harry made his traditional speech at the end of the meal but finished by saying it would the last one he would organise as he would be 90 by then. However we will make sure that he gets to next year’s lunch – even if we have to pick him and Celia up by Car.

Next year’s Xmas lunch has already been booked and will again be at Nets on Tuesday 18 December. We will check with you all around October to firm up numbers.

 

Tuesday July 11th, Net’s Cafe and Refreshment Rooms, Rock Ferry

Eight of us set off from the Plough on a wet morning. We took Hare Lane and into the back of Guilden Sutton before picking up the start of the Greenway. We took the bridge over the A494 and turned off into the Deeside Industrial Estate winding our way through; our track took us under Weighbridge Road (A548) and onto the marshes. We found Harry catching up on all the World news courtesy of Net’s copy of the Daily Mail. Lionel joined us shortly after.

Harry and Lionel took a scenic route, three returned home and five continued on another scenic route. The rain returned this time with a vengence.

Us five cycled east intially back along the marshes then at the first opportunity we turned north and climbed up to Ness Gardens. Then followed a mysterious route that took us to Port Sunlight. We cycled through the estate and passed Lady Lever Art Gallery and out onto Boundary Road. We cycled passed the site of a massive gas explosion some months ago. The central area is cleared to the foundations but is surrounded on all sides by damaged and boarded buildings – horrendous.

http://www.itv.com/news/granada/2017-05-17/latest-55-62-year-old-man-arrested-after-wirral-blast/

New Ferry Road took us towards the Mersey and onto the path/promenade by the side of the river and at the bottom of some large houses all one time grand many in need of some serious tlc. The condition of the path was poor but the Refreshment Rooms awaited us. The place had been the first stop for liner passengers in days of yore. The pier stretching out into the Mersey is still operational but I think the liners call in at the north bank of the Mersey. The Refreshment Room was quite splendid and doubtless had been rather more so in former times. We were in the back room, the front had a magnificent chandelier ex a passing liner. Our food was good, very tasty I’d say. My bowl of scouse was complemented by a jammy doger incrusted meringue; seemed fitting for our location.

We’d all been soaked as we arrived and soon enough it was time to put on our wet gear and make tracks. We left Harry hoping to catch the next liner and followed Rock Park Road through what had been an exclusive estate until the A41 bypass carved its way though the gardens of those formerly magnificent homes I mentioned earlier. Lionel was in his element explaining all this and seemed to be rehearsing as a Thomas Cook guide. We continued along the river side through Shorefields Cliffs then along the A41 for a while before turning onto the Wirral Circular Trail. We arrived at the Eastham Dock and called in at The Eastham Country Park Visitors Centre, saw the photos and forge but there was no time to visit the Bear Pit – future trip for the grandchildren.

On to,  eventually, the B5132 alongside the M53 and into Rivacre Valley Country Park. The wet and humid conditions seemed positively tropical. The unstoppable Lionel was in full force outlining the history of the Lido which had been close by, long since disappeared from view and much else.  Continuing on devious side roads, tracks and lanes we ended up in front of the Whitby Lighthouse near if not in the National Waterways Museum Ellesmere Port. We snaked through the place and onto the canal path. The rain gathered strength, we pressed on ducking under the bridges but not falling in! We left the canal at Stoak and took Picton Lane to Mickel Trafford, then Guilden Sutton and home.

I was very surprised just how many green spots we had cycled through along the north Wirral coast.

Yvonne’s, Connah’s Quay and Piccadilly Inn, Caerwys, May 2nd

I am now the proud owner of a new set of pedals for my newish bike: the cleat base dropped out on one side. Now the man who fitted it used to live in Halkyn Mountain whilst working in Chester, so every evening he would cycle back the 17+ miles and up the hill. Respect.

On Tuesday we had a large gathering at the Plough, the eighteen of us set off in two groups and we took two routes to reach the start of the Greenway near Lea Farm Cafe. Nevertheless we reached Yvonne’s portacabin nearly at the same time. The trailing group had found Harry on its approach to Yvonne and we were 19! Tea and coffee in sunshine and much weekly catching up.

There was quite a partition as we progressed to the next leg; twelve took various early returns and seven of us headed onto lunch and into the hills.

We rode through Connah’s Quay and up to Northop, then onto Halkyn, Pentre Halkyn to Babel (couldn’t find any fish) before arriving at Caerwys for lunch. There was quite some climbing with oxygen starvation noted at several points and near Babel the gradient was up to 20%.

The Piccadilly Inn was efficient and friendly. There was a good range of offerings available and we all seemed satisfied.

Our routemaster Dave assured us that the route back would be flat, we were duped or his theodolite is wonky. There was a lot of climbing preamble then it was back over the Halkyn (twice in one day) before a careful helterskelter back to Connah’s Quay. We crossed back on the Hawarden Bridge. The party split at this point with some on the Greenway and others back along the Dee.

 

Delamere Station and Stanley Arms/Anderton Boat Lift, April18th

Another bright cool spring morning greeted us. Dave guided us on a most unlikely route to Delamere: through Waverton West towards Peckforton Castle before turning off to Clotton, up the hill past Willington Hall and onwards. We turned onto Chapel Lane, a lung buster then followed up to Waste Lane. That took us past a selection of emerging million pound houses at the back of Kelsall and then a shorter lung buster up Yeld Lane. We turned off onto a track that led us through Delamere and onto the Station Cafe for 11ses. There we met up with Lionel, Dave M and a new member, Dave B.

A few left us at coffee but ten pressed on for lunch. We sped off to Norley, through Pytcheleys Bottom and crossed the River Weaver at Winnington up Soot Lane to the Stanley Arms. The sun was shining and the party decided to split with a few staying indoors and a few more outside. But the wait for food was challenging at approximately one hour: we didn’t get our lunch until 2pm with the barests of apologies. This will not encourage an early return.

We headed for home past the Anderton Boat Lift through Acton Bridge and Weaverham where there was an unplanned split: eventually we all reunited at The Oaklands Hotel. On through Sandiway, Cotebrook and back to Waverton  on Ryecroft Lane.

We had two punctures en route both repaired professionally in just over a jiffy. We also had a few bad tempered interactions with motorists: the world is always in a rush and manners short supply.

Over the last three weeks we have welcomed two new members Garnet and Dave: we have a winning formula, our group is growing.

Tuesday 21st March “The Stableyard”, Bangor on Dee and “The Red Lion”, Ellesmere

Despite a fairly dire weather forecast the day was crystal clear with bright spring sunshine if strongish SW breeze and cool temperature ca 6C. Ten of us set off from the Plough including a new rider Ian S. We took our familiar route to Bangor on Dee: Aldford, Farndon, Holt, over the A534 to Ridley Wood, Bowling Bank, Cross Lanes before entering Bangor on Dee  via the A525. We parked up at our favourite Stableyard Cafe only to find Harry already tucking into the biscuits.

Six of us travelled on to Ellesmere, five opted for a shorter ride home. We travelled on some lovely country lanes through Cloy, near Penley and finally reaching Ellesmere after a fairly tough trek into the wind. The Red Lion offers a fairly extensive menu and generous portions. We enjoyed.  As we left Ellesmere (14.30) for the home run we fairly quickly ran into a blocked road, gingerly we hauled the bikes onto the verge and round the blocking lorry. The tarmac was still warm on the other side and still effusing that joyous tarmac smell. We spent a moment with the two guys who had just laid it all and marvelled at the thickness of the new surface. 100 metres of this new layer would have covered a mile or two in our home localities. The lanes in North Shropshire are a delight to ride on compared to the worn offerings nearer home.

Thanks to Dave R for planning the route and leading the ride. Welcome to Ian our newest rider.