Getting the miles in the legs ready for the start of Sportive season next weekend. Fab ride out to the excellent Tilly’s in Bunbury via Wales and Beeston Castle. Back via Nantwich and a pint in Market Drayton.


I’ve got the first Sportives of the year starting next weekend: Wiggle The Rocket (Road) on Saturday and Wiggle Southern Rough Ride (MTB) on Sunday, both from the same event HQ at Amberley Working Museum in West Sussex.

With this in mind, I’m conscious I need to get the miles into my legs as my cycling had been a bit curtailed in recent weeks due to work pressures and then horrible weather on a few days when I could actually have got out on my bike. Very frustrating!

Today looked to be good weather-wise, with a bit of sun and not too much wind for a change, so I opted for a 70+ mile ride out to the lovely Tilly’s coffee shop in Bunbury, near Beeston Castle in Cheshire.


I set off pretty late as I was enjoying a Sunday morning lie-in. The route took me up the usual Dearnford Lake route, so I had a chance to do Marchamley Hill again (second time in the last 2 days!).

At Tilstock, just before Dearnford Lake, I turned left and was soon in Wales, after crossing what must be the muddiest and pot-holey border there ever was. It’s as if the Council’s on both sides of the border don’t actually care about the road as it leads out of their area! It’s almost like doing cyclo-cross rather than road biking it’s so horrible. There is a beautiful bridge over the canal, slap bang on the border though, which more than makes up for the terrible road surface.


I was soon in Cheshire and passing through Malpas and onwards through the Peckforton Hills to my cafe stop. As I arrived at the cafe itself, I could see absolutely tons of bikes everywhere and knew there would be LOTS of cyclists inside. Always a great thing as I can have a natter with people from other clubs and areas and pick up ideas for routes etc etc.


After the cafe I headed through Haughton towards Nantwich. It was then down a closed road to Sound Heath, after checking with a cyclist coming the other way that the road was actually accessible to cyclists.

I was soon passing to the west of Audlem and down the back lanes past the Shavington Estate to Market Drayton, where I called into the Joules Brewery Tap to fill up with water and have a sneaky pint.


From there it was an easy ride home, which I opted to extend just neat Stoke on Tern, to make sure I got over 70 miles for the ride. I routed out past Hinstock and Sambrook and was soon home.

A cracking day out with lovely weather and a great route.

Route: click here