Distance: 87.9 miles. Elevation: 3570 ft
It was a beautiful sunny warm day. I decided to revisit some of the lanes I had discovered on the audax. I had arranged to meet a friend at Pluckley station, but as can be seen from the map above I took several wrong turns just as I was almost there. Tip: when heading for Pluckley Station, do not follow signs for Pluckley! The village is nearly two miles from the station.
As often happens when you backtrack over part of the course, my Garmin now thought I was off course, so for the whole of the rest of the ride it didn’t warn me when I actually did go off course, which was quite often, due to the difficulty of reading the new map I have on there.
There were some lovely lanes on this ride. I had hoped to stop at The Devil’s Kneading Bowl restaurant just outside Wye, which promised lovely views to the South. Unfortunately, when we got there it looked very quiet. We saw another guy leaving. He went on to tell us in some detail that it was no longer open as a restaurant and it only caters for functions now.
Luckily we found a really nice pub in Wye, The King’s Head, where I had a tasty, but almost too large, smoked-salmon sandwich. Suitably fed, we continued on more nice lanes to Ashford where we managed to get through nearly the whole town on cycle paths, mainly following the courses of the East Stour and Great Stour rivers. During this section I missed turns about four times and had to keep backtracking. This new Garmin map is very difficult to read when there are lots of other roads, rivers and railways around.
There followed a lovely ride through Etchden Wood, then Pluckley and home again via the Vale of Kent through Headcorn and Staplehurst.