Total tour distance: 90 miles
Daily tour distance: 30 miles
Difficulty: 30 / 100
The August bank holiday weekend sees a return to an old Bicycle Beano favourite: the Grange, a Grade II-listed Georgian mansion on the edge of the small Shropshire market town of Ellesmere.
The area is scattered with 'Meres' - lakes left behind by retreating Ice Age glaciers, now rich with wildlife. We spend a long weekend exploring the canals, meres, and timeless pastures of north Shropshire in England and across the border into Wales. This is a perfect area for cycling on a bank holiday – hardly any traffic and the only tourists we see are on narrowboats.
A network of little-used lanes leads us to the meres at Colemere, Whitemere and Blakemere; to the magnificent aqueduct across the gorge at Chirk, and onto the towpaths of the Llangollen and Shropshire Union canals. The rides are mostly easy going, with a few hills here and there.
At the end of every ride we return to the Grange where we can relax before dinner in its expansive lounges, play a game of croquet on the lawn, or maybe go for a wander in the wildflower meadow before dinner in the oak-panelled dining room. Many of the vegetables in our meals come from the house's own walled garden and greenhouses.
Accommodation is in twin, double and single en-suite bedrooms, plus two singles not en-suite. The Grange is licensed to sell wine, and usually gets in a barrel of local real ale specially for us.
The Beano begins with dinner on the Friday evening. We go for day rides on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, finishing with more tea and cake (of course!) back at the Grange on Monday afternoon before we head for home.
Numbers are limited for this Beano, so be sure to book early if you would like a place.
[Photo of the Grange courtesy of Zoe Weston]