Seven of us (Graham, Jenny, Sally, Marion, Richard and David) set off on what I hoped would be a route with a difference – little did we know how different it would be!!
Fairly uneventful as we passed through Acton Burnell and Kenley toward Harley – and there were fabulous views from the top of the ridge. We then crossed the A458 on the lane to Wigwig and Homer. Graham and Jenny said they'd always thought they should visit the former after passing the signpost at the turn-off on many occasions, but Jenny came to regret it – she punctured just before the ford.
This was just the start of our tribulations; the farmer at Wigwig was out with tractor and big rotary brush trying to clear the road of you-know-what, but only succeeding in making more of a mess!! After much wheel-spinning, blocked mudguards, Graham falling in a hedge and a kind lady with a jetwash, we manged to climb the steep hill to the Wenlock-Buildwas road.
By this time, lunch was calling, so I decided to abandon the last bit through Wyke and Broseley and enjoy the fast descent to Buildwas and the short ride past the power station into Ironbridge. After a welcome lunch at Truffles cafe, and after Graham retrieved Marion when she set off in the wrong direction, we took an alternative route up to Little Wenlock. Climbing Church Hill, we enjoyed the spectacular views over the gorge (well, we tried to but it was rather steep!).
Over the top, then a fast descent into Coalbrookdale to turn right and follow a bridleway alongside the railway. This passed some impressive old ironmasters houses and the original millpond that fed the forges before steam came into common use. A left turn on Park Lane (no, not that one) took us under the railway and up to the Ironbridge bypass. A lane on the other side climbed gently (!) through Lightmoor and Doseley to Horsehay and then on the last bit of a climb through Coalmoor to Little Wenlock.
On a gloriously sunny afternoon, with superb views of the heavy showers in the distance, we climbed over the shoulder of the Wrekin and came home via Uppington, Walcot, Withington and Upton Magna. Not many miles for a 'B' ride, but it was quality rather than quantity – think my legs are going to ache in the morning!
p.s. Full marks to David – he came out expecting to go on the 'C' ride, but he was the only one so we persuaded him to join us, despite his only going out on a few 'D' rides recently. He, and the others, thanked me for an enjoyable ride at the end, and I'm sure it wasn't just to avoid hurting my feelings!