Saturday 13 May 2023

That Bluebell time of year (and beyond)

 May, and associated spring flowers.  The Wednesday evening before this ladies ride was full of hawthorn, cow parsley, and wild garlic, all white and all in full glory.

A grand turn out, with Coronation Flags still on display on the Community Noticeboard.

We split into two groups, and headed out to Barrow.  I picked the shorter route as I was planning of heading on out for the rest of the day and getting the train back (personal sharing - I am due to have surgery on Monday so will not be able to ride for a bit - may give me a chance to catch up with blogging though!)

One of the joys of meeting in a quiet but community location is that you never know who you may meet, or who will stop to chat.  Just before the group photo, as I turned back from getting my camera, I note this chap with the CUTEST little doggy, chatting to one of my ladies.  I think the dog was called Brutus!!

Heading out through Pipers Ash, into the lanes.  Crossing the A51 was busy, as not only was the M56 closed, but also the A56, meaning all traffic was pushed to other roads and usually quiet lanes - which we discovered later on near Broomheath.

Cow Parsley, aka Anthriscus sylvestris

dropping down to cross the Gowy

We crossed the A51 to come round to Oscroft and then cross the A54 to the back lanes around Barrow.  Here we have lanes with deep sandstone cuttings, shady, and at this time of year spotted with bluebells.  I stopped to take a picture but there was a sneaky breeze, causing the little bells to move (and makes a blurry photo!)

I could not decide between these two shots though - the one on the left has a lovely bluebell and all the verge flowers including a sneaky cow parsley, and the one below has the road too for some context, and more of the cow parsley.  Speckled with shafts of sunlight.

Ahh, that's nice!

For the second time this year, we sat around in the sunshine (although only one table was really outside), enjoying the peaceful area at Bluebell Cafe.


After the break, we sent the groups back to Chester, and Catherine joined me as we set off, back to cross the A54 and into the lanes.  My ultimate plan was to head for Little Moreton Hall, hopefully passing the Pink Church at Hassell Green so I could grab a photo for the Bob Clift rides that I am organising for June.  But we stopped for photos, and at one point had to retrace a mile back down Wood Lane (near Utkinton, all downhill!) to try and find a piece of paper I was missing by the top of the hill (with my planned route); which was not there so we climbed back up again!

We crossed at Cotebrook, and along to Rushhton.  We are now in the wide flatlands of the Cheshire Plain, which limits views so fewer photos.

But we passed Oulton Park, which has a most fabulous brick wall all the way around, and there was racing going on (a quick google tells me it was MG racing - fitting as my hubby has had a Midget since I have known him and I used to have a couple of 'B's)

(c)  📸 PS Images, Oulton Park

St Bartholomew's - a church has been on the site
since before 1540's, but it appears to have had many
fires and restorations!

We landed at Church Minshull after about 20 miles, and feeling a bit peckish, so we stopped at The Badger, next to the church.  Glorious garden, although I did wonder why the shadows seemed to be getting a bit longer (in my head it was 2pm).  

I checked the route, 10 miles to go, and then saw the time - 16:40!!

So I agreed it was a bit late and we instead headed into central Crewe to catch a train home.

Church Farm House early C.17

Trains were delayed, but we did not know why.  Arriving back at Chester eventually we saw a splendid blue train, and a lot of people milling around the platform.  Turns out it was a charter from St Albans to Llandudno, but had had a fire so the whole station had been closed.  The poor passengers were being decanted onto busses for their long journey home to the South - makes you glad you have a bike and your own method of getting home!

I think this train should be called the Bluebell, what do you reckon?

(I have realised I have a lot of blue this year - today bluebells, blue car and blue train; and previously blues in Jan post.  Hmm, watch this space, maybe I will theme each year with a colour!)

PS - Wednesday evening rides as mentioned at the start of this post run from April to August every year, meeting at Chester Town Hall at 7pm, for a leisurely ride out and back by 9 (or by dark in April and early May) - maybe a tad later if the weather is particularly glorious in June and July - finishing at The Pied Bull in Northgate Street, for a chinwag and refreshments