Cycle Ride 2

Cycle Ride 2 Special Roadside Verges from Arkesden

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A route of about 12 to 13 miles from Arkesden on gently rising and falling land. Passing by 4 Special Verges including possibly the largest colony of Crested Cow-wheat in the UK. Refreshment opportunities at 3 pubs. You should carry a good wildflower book, as well as the usual cycle repair kit, water and snacks. OS Map Sheets 154 and 167.

Cycle Ride 2 map

Cycle Ride 2 map ©  OpenStreetMap contributors, CC-BY-SA

START at Point [1] in Arkesden, opposite the Axe and Compasses pub, and head north-west, following the valley of the Wicken Water upstream.

[2] At this junction follow the road round to the left continuing to follow the river and eventually pass the entrance to Rockells Farm at what feels like a left turn, following the road uphill.

[3] At the top of the hill the road turns to the right, and once around that corner you will find the Duddenhoe End Special Verge on both sides of the road, though the west side has lost most of its special flowers due to nutrient enrichment from the arable field. The east side however retains a mixed chalk flora including Crested Cow-wheat. Continue up to the next junction and turn left to pass through the village of Duddenhoe End, eventually reaching another T junction by the village hall, where you turn left towards Langley.

[4] After several bends look out for the verge markers on both sides of the road by a right hand bend. This is the Langley Upper Green Special Verge with a spectacular colony of Crested Cow-wheat, which is now probably the largest remaining site in the UK for this very rare species. You may also find Common Spotted Orchid and Pyramidal Orchid. Continue on to the village green, which has seats to take a rest. Turn right at the T junction on the green towards Langley Lower Green and follow this road downhill.

[5] At the Lower Green turn right at the T junction by the pub and go a few hundred metres looking out for the verge marker on the right hand side. The best section is on the sharp right hand bend where you may identify about a dozen species of chalk grassland in a very short stretch. Small but spectacular on a midsummer day. Retrace your route back into Lower Green and continue on towards Clavering. This stretch is generally running gently downhill.

[6] Pass the junction with the road from Langley Upper Green coming in from your left and then downhill to pass a roadside pond, always worth a look to see what you might find, and then climb a short hill, turning left at the top, and soon passing a restored windmill tower, now a private house. Immediately past the mill is the Clavering Mill Special Verge, again with mixed chalk loving species, including Common Spotted Orchid , Meadow Vetchling, Common and Greater Knapweed, and Bush Vetch. Carry on along this road passing thorugh Stickling Green, a small village green with good wildflowers.

[7] At the end of this road you reach a T junction with The Cricketers pub opposite if you need another drink. Turn left here towards Arkesden, with a gentle climb out of the village onto a ridge where there are long views across open countryside towards the east. Then you reach a long descent that takes you back into Arkesden to return to the start point.

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