Since we came back from New York last week I’ve been mad busy with work and struggling to get my mid-week ride in. Today seemed like the only chance I might get this week and the weather looked ok, if not a bit windy from Storm Caroline last night.
I fancied a change so decided to make a big loop round Cheshire and pop into the lovely Hopley House Farm Cafe near Middlewich for lunch. I’ve been here before as this is my ‘elevenses’ stop on my 108 mile ride from home to Altrincham and back, but I’ve never had lunch here before.
I planned a route out using most of my route to Tilly’s in Bunbury via Whitchurch, Malpas and Beeston Castle. Then extending this over through Church Minshull to the cafe. Routing back would take me onwards to Sandbach and then down to the hilly section around Madeley, to get some hill practice into my legs.
I set off just before 10am as I was waiting for the early morning rain to stop first. The route is the same as the Dearnford Lake ride up until Tilstock and then turns left and into Wales, over possibly the nicest little bridge on the muckiest, potholiest (is that even a word?) road.
After Malpas, I headed off up into the Peckforton Hills and along past Beeston Castle into Bunbury. Normally I’d stop at the lovely Tilly’s Cafe here, but I had 10 more miles to go to my cafe stop today!
As I arrived at the cafe I could see it was busy with lots of pensioners wearing Christmas cracker hats. Oh well, I’m always happy to crash a party! As I entered the shop I saw the cafe was actually closed for the day for the party and no amount of me suggesting I joined the pensioner’s party would persuade them otherwise.
I opted to carry on on my route and stop at the farm cafe at Wheelock Hall, just outside Sandbach. I’ve been past this many times on the way to Jodrell Bank and always thought it looked nice and I should try it. Today was to be that day! Just an extra 6 miles from where I thought I was stopping for lunch.
Wheelock Farm turned out to be a lovely little cafe although by the time I arrived most of the cakes had gone. I settled for a double latte and two mince pies (it is nearly Christmas after all!). I did not stop too long as I was conscious of the time and that it would start going dark soon.
Not long after I entered my third county for the day – Staffordshire – and reached Madeley and the hilly road back home. No problems here and I enjoyed the route and the hilly road.
I stopped at the Swan With Two Necks on the A53 for a top up of water and a very quick pint as it really was starting to get dark by now.
By the time I reached the top of Shay Lane it was all but dark but that’s no problem as I have my lights with me on every ride this time of year.
I arrived home with just over 85 miles cycled. Another really fun day out on the bike.
Route: click here