While flicking through Cycle Tours Of Hampshire And IOW I came across a route taking in Petersfield and The Meon Valley that would, looking at the profile make an ideal training circuit for my upcoming Coast to Coast ride with several testing climbs.
The weather forecast was predicting a sunny day resulting in the hottest day of the year to date with temperatures reaching 15 or 16 degrees so with a full water bottle and an energy bar I set about pedalling some miles.
From Binsted I head West through Wyck and East Worldham, on to West Worldham before picking up the B3006 towards Selborne. The pungent smell from the nearby lavender farm fills the air as I approach the home town of Gilbert White, the narrow main street that is home to Gilbert Whites House and The Oates Museum is always busy with traffic slaloming through parked cars, the 20mph speed limit is at least one blessing for the cyclist.
On leaving Selborne I take a right turn towards East Tisted and start a gentle incline, ahead I can see another bike with panniers and bar bag. I am closing as we start a short sharp climb up Galley Hill that requires bottom gear, I pass the touring bike and with the usual “good afternoon” greeting I look across to see a very elderly lady turning the pedals, I was genuinely surprised but also amazed and impressed at her fortitude on the climb, it was obvious she still enjoyed her cycling.
The next few miles to Warren Corner were a series of climbs and descents to test the legs and although the roads were dry there was a lot of loose gravel so care and concentration were the order of the day. From one of the highest points in Hampshire a winding downhill run to the market town of Petersfield, through the busy high street and some fine Georgian architecture before heading South East exiting past the boating lake to the pretty village of Buriton complete with church, duck pond and of course a pub.
From Buriton I turn West, under the busy A3 and enjoy the clear country lanes and a gentle incline to Ramsdean, ahead I spy another bike with panniers on the side of the road, this time it is a rather portly older gentleman with jacket and woollen bobble hat, as I pass he seems almost applogetic that he has stopped to remove his jacket as he was getting warm. His bike is set up with bar bag and OS map and I salute the guy who probably like me is grateful to be out on the bike on such a nice day.
The quiet flat roads from Bramdean through East Meon to West Meon are lined with low hedges encompassing grass fields and livestock, with a following wind the Cannondale glides along as the speed increases. In what seems no time at all I reach the A32 as we enter West Meon. The next few miles involve some moderate climbs followed by a steep decent to our crossing of the A32 before ascending again to the farming hamlet of West Tisted, the fields of the local farm estate very evident by the bright blue field gates they wear as a uniform and testimony to the vast acreage under their ownership. A gentle downhill run to Ropley before turning East through Gilbert Street and the continuous climb up Swelling Hill and onto Four Marks.
From our highpoint it is now mostly downhill through Lower and Upper Farringdon until we rejoin the start of our loop at West Worldham.
This is the 2nd ride I have completed from the book and can thoroughly recommend the routes that seem well researched, their is an overview of each ride detailing places to stop for refreshments, the nearest railway station along with a useful elevation profile. A great way to spend a few hours on a sunny Spring afternoon.