Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Day 3: Bampton to Chepstow (88 miles)

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We awoke to clear skies and bright sunshine. Although it clouded over during the course of the day, it remained warm and dry all day, with virtually no wind. Near-perfect conditions for cycling, in fact.

After another Full English Breakfast at The Swan in Bampton (a curious establishment that appeared to have no customers) we set off along the B3227 towards Taunton. Although still undulating the Devon landscape was more gentle than the previous day. A few miles along this road we left Devon behind as we crossed into Somerset.

A few miles before Taunton we turned north to skirt the edge of the Quantocks on the way to Bridgewater. This entailed a few steep climbs (no problem for us now) but allowed us to enjoy a charming landscape of sunken lanes and fine views before descending to the Somerset levels.

When we arrived in Bridgewater we stopped at Morrisons for coffee (two lattees and a danish pastry, Rob). Then across the Somerset Levels to Cheddar. The Somerset Levels offer a totally-flat fen-like landscape - so not completely unfamiliar to us.

After a late lunch in a cafe in Cheddar (baked potato with beans and cheese washed down with two fruit smoothies) we set off again, making a steep climb over the Mendips followed by a descent and then a short level ride to Clevedon on the Bristol Channel.

From Clevedon we continued north along tiny single-track roads to Portbury and the motorway bridge over the Avon.

Somewhere near Portbury I found myself flagging so I brought the group to a halt to allow me to eat a banana and half a sandwich, which perked me up for the remaining ten miles.

Once over the Avon we contemplated various routes towards the Severn Bridge, deciding in the end to follow a signposted cycle route which ended up being an typical Sustrans magical mystery tour. Eventually we arrived at the Severn Bridge (which was much further than we expected) and crossed over into Wales.

The first town in Wales is Chepstow. We stopped at the very comfortable Chepstow Hotel, where the manager kindly gave us a discount after being told we were doing a charity ride.

Dinner in the hotel was only £5 due to a splendid special offer: I had salmon, potatoes and peas followed by apple pie and ice cream for an additional £3.50 (this is getting to be too much detail), washed down by a couple of pints of Stella.

Overall, a really fine day's cycling.

Vital statistics: Distance: 88 miles. Average speed: 12.7 mph. Max speed: 35.9mph. Total distance from Land's End: 236 miles.

Tomorrow: Day 4 Chepstow to Ludlow


  1. Hi Nigel, well done for having the energy to make your posts after the day's efforts. Glad to see you haven't had downpours to contend with yet - unlike in London!

    Surely Rob means you to report your daily intake of food in Bridget Jones style?

    Units of Cake 20, Impromptu snacks 6, very bad...


  2. Tim - I know. Stella was all there was...

  3. As long as your breakfast plate doesn't explode due to the amount you are craming in it, your calorific intake is absolutely fine. We had one lad on the NZ tour who's bowl combusted as he got to the table and he and his team mates ended up wearing a fair amount of cereal. He went back for the bacon and eggs as he reckoned they were safer....