PENALLT OLD CHURCH AND MARYLAND

09.04.11

Unusually warm weather for the start of April, was a good opportunity to take a ride out on the golden lanes of Gwent. A 09:00 start saw us riding through New Inn and Monkswood, with a fast sprint to Usk to stock up for supplies. I had brushed off the cobwebs on my Mercian to give it a Spring airing, like wise Nick had brought out his Longstaff. Quite a few cyclists out on this fine Saturday morning, most of them however seemed to be frequenting coffee shops! The lane out past the gliding club was quiet and there was a splendid climb up to Kingcoed to drop down to the old A40 near the Somerset Arms. Mitchell Troy saw the brothers climbing up a new route, past Craig-y-Dorth. It was a steep climb with good views taking us into the secret, upper world, of the Trellech plateau. It was not long before we were on the lonely path toward Penallt Old Church. With a  Song Thrush soundtrack, the leafy road brought us to the isolated old church that stood elegantly over the Wye valley. After stopping for some lunch , our route took us down a narrow lane,a local gave us some good advice on the path to Penallt village. Some more splendid cycling took us through the Narth and Maryland, here the remote isolated dwellings were left to join a rough track below Beacon Hill. Before long Cleddon Hall was reached, this quite large building was the birth-place of the philosopher, logician and mathematician Bertrand Russell. The great Cleddon Bog looked resplendent in the afternoon Sun as the journey continued to Trellech and Llanishen. The usual fast descent down Star Pitch was enjoyed. Although I was enjoying the ride I had developed a great thirst, getting extra drink from Nick was not enough and at the shop in Usk I devoured 1 litre of cold soft drink! The route home was our 'traditional' through Prescoed, Coed-y-Paen and the 'three humps of Nessie' on the Trehebert road to Croesyceiliog....50 miles.

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