Blowing the Cobwebs away in Burley

It’s been a while since the wheels on the tandem turned. This weekend feels like a good weekend to get the legs burning and the wheels turning.

As much as we are out of shape now the good old Brookes saddles fit like a glove as soon as we sit on them. The breeze is cooling as we cycle out of the New Forest Centenary Site and over the cattle grid… brrrrrddd, welcomed into the Forest by ponies, standing, almost contemplating, in the road, as they do.

The tandem responds to our moves as though we’ve been riding it regularly. Fortunately the New Forest is kind to us, rather than hills it just has little lumps to ease us back into riding.

Turning right away from the site the vista opens, I love this view, pinch points in the road calm the traffic, as does the wildlife, scattered lazily, here and there, looking at the cars as if they are a hinderance in their peaceful afternoon.

The village of Burley looms ahead, awash with bikes and tourists. The pavements are full of people buying ice creams, peering into shop windows and just randomly stopping and chatting causing a hold up behind them. It’s too busy for us, maybe another visit out of season when the masses are back behind their desks.

A cup of tea is calling, we find a lovely tearoom with a garden round the back, but we should’ve guessed. Each table is full of holiday makers and there’s nowhere to park up ‘Louis’ within view, we’ve forgotten the bike lock. Back into the saddle we turn back towards The Cider Pantry, two empty tables at the front, ‘Louis’ rests against the fence whilst The Boss sips a cappuccino and I try to tempt my palette with a rather insipid loose leaf English breakfast tea. I’m a northerner, I like to be able to stand my spoon up in my tea. A cup of good, strong Builder’s tea was needed, I got dish water. Beautiful tea rooms though with a quaint little cider shop around the back offering samples, if only I liked cider…. or, indeed, dish water.

Back on the tandem and we head in the opposite direction, the land tinged purple as the heather comes into bloom.

We pick up the disused railway line at Holmsley Tea Rooms back towards the caravan. A flat but quite stoney ride is proving popular today as our wheels ‘per-toing’ stone chip shrapnel at unsuspecting shins. Not many cyclists but lots of shin rubbing walkers.

Not a taxing ride, a ride to ease us back into it. 8 miles all in all. Not a lot, just enough to remind us we really do need to ride more often. If only we weren’t so tired after work.

10 thoughts on “Blowing the Cobwebs away in Burley

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  1. Your blogs and watching a year in the new forest have made us decide to visit again next year Which season would you recommend Was Thinking May /June ?

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  2. Beautiful! I really enjoyed seeing my adopted ‘home’ turf again – although I am with you on the tea! Sometimes in the South…!

    I am not sure whether it would all be suitable for a tandem, but the best ten quid that I have ever spent is the book “Mountain Biking in Dorset” by Colin Dennis. It’s available on Amazon and takes you to some absolutely beautiful and unspoilt parts of Dorset. The rides are graded; we have managed up to ‘Medium’ on our mountain bikes and these usually entail just one hard-ish ascent. The ‘Hard’ ones in West Dorset are probably quite tricky…! (It’s a bit hilly!) The beauty of Dorset is that even on a sunny Bank Holiday, you are unlikely to see anyone!

    If it is not an option on a tandem, the book might still give you some ideas for walking, although the walks in some of these areas do feature in the green OS ‘Pathfinder Walks in Dorset’ book – another very good ten quid! Badbury Rings (Iron Age Fort) and Kingston Lacey (NT) make a nice day out. Ashmore is the highest village in Dorset and there is a beautiful forest there – a great place to see bluebells in the spring! Cranbourne Chase is a stunning landscape and Cranbourne Manor is a gorgeous Grade 1 listed house with peaceful gardens and a garden centre and cafe. Well worth a visit!

    There are free 1 hour guided ‘Health’ cycle rides from Kingston Lacy every Thursday morning. They are for all levels from beginner to advanced and are very sociable – they usually stop for a coffee in the courtyard tea rooms afterwards. They are free on your own mountain bike or you can hire a bike on site for a couple of pounds (probably best to check availability if you need a bike.) If you do one of these, say ‘Hi’ to my friend Helen, who is a regular!

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  3. Shame about work getting in the way of leisure activities!! Happens to us all. We will be getting on our bikes at the end of October and doing some of the same routes you have dine when I will be staying at your site with my son. Last couple of days before you close. Looking forward to meeting you then! 🙂

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