The Cotswold Section Touring Week - 2015
(Click the photo to see a larger picture in a slide show.)

Rob, Terry, Stuart and Lesley were at Hayles’ Fruit Farm, Winchcombe, for the Cotswold Section Touring Week.

The weather was a mixture of rain cloud and some sun over the week. The runs all had route sheets as opposed to last year’s drop off system and the routes were all around the 80 mile mark. Monday’s run was into the Forest of Dean. I rode with Ron and Rosemary Muirhead from Swansea as Terry was not arriving until mid afternoon and Stuart and Lesley had returned home to swap their clutchless Norton for a Truimph. The route passed the Prescott Hill Climb and we had a tea stop at the Trioscape Garden Centre before reaching the Dean Hertitage Museum where we had lunch. There were some interesting sculptures on display and Rosemary fancied a dragon. “Of course you can have it dear,” quipped Ron, “So long as you can carry it home.” (See photo of Ron and the Dragon below) After lunch the route was back through the forest towards Newark and Tewksbury before returning to the campsite.

Tuesday we were off to the north-west and the Malverns. I led with Terry, Stuart and Lesley following. The route used mostly B roads and we passed some very pretty villages with thatched cottages. Our tea stop was in Upton on Severn before climbing the Malvern Hills and reaching the old black and white building of the Farmers Arms at Birtsmorton for lunch. The return trip passed through more pretty villages and as were had plenty of time we took a tea stop at Toddington Station before returning to camp about 5 o’clock. Here we found the gates chained and locked with a combination padlock. Of course none of us had numbers so I popped up to the farm shop to get them. Some of the campsite workers came around later in the evening to give us the combination numbers!

Wednesday’s run was entitled ‘A chocolate Box Tour of the Cotswolds.’ And we were going to take in all the pretty tourist villages. Luckily as it was mid week we were mostly free from tourists. Terry was leading our group and we were joined by Eric Hale from Fleet on his Kawasaki. The weather was dry and later the sun came out. Our route took us through Lower Slaughter where we stopped to look at the church, stream and the cottages. We rode through Burford and had a tea stop at the Burford Garden Company. From here we passed the pretty villages of Shilton and Eastleigh and on to lunch at the Keepers Arms in Quenington. Our mid afternoon stop was in the Market Square at Northleach (After Terry took us round the block. He said he liked the look of the street that he wanted to see it twice! After our break we were overtaken by Ian on his very nice Norton. As he was local we followed him. He turned off one junction early and took us through the lovely Salperton Park with glimpses of the house and Church. We stopped for a pint and a chat a little later at the Half Way House in Kineton. Back at the campsite we had the BBQ in the evening in lovely sunshine.

Thursday’s Run was to Newark Park, a house belonging to the National Trust. Here we were having an explanation and talk on the history of the house by Reg Eyre. The run was over quiet country lanes which were reasonably devoid of traffic. Eric had praised our run the day before and his friend John on a BMW decided to join us. All of our previous runs had been at a speed of between 35 to 50 mph dependent on road or lane conditions. I was leading and at this speed we were riding safely and I could keep an eye on our group if we were spread out. More importantly we could see and enjoy the scenery. Part of our route passed through Compton Abdale, near the roman villa and the old airfield at Chedworth before reaching Newark Park. The house was built in 1550 as a Tudor hunting lodge and has been enlarged by various families since. It was taken over by the National Trust in 2011 from the final owner Mr. Michael Claydon. After our visit we returned the way we had come, stopping for lunch at the Hunters Hall Inn and later missing the turning for Compton Abdale. On entering the next village we made a right which brought us into the centre of Compton Abdale and back to our route.

Friday’s route was a short run, to Hidcote Garden and on to Lavender Farm for lunch, a total of some 40 miles. Terry had decided to miss this as the Guzzi was not running well and Stuart and Lesley also decided to head home. Rob completed the run in the company of Eric and Joyce, Ron and Rosemary and others. Everyone was back at the campsite by 2.30 and with the Honda on the trailer and the Romahome tidied up, Rob was off by 4 and home by 6 after a lovely set of rides exploring the Cotswolds.

Words: Rob
Photos: Rob & Terry