Not a long ride this time, approx. 31 miles from home and back, but it took in some wonderful countryside especially around Coln Saint Aldwyn just north of Quenington. This is a very nice route to take of an early spring evening just after the clocks went forward. This is a nice and easy journey, with only a couple of tricky corners – tricky in so much that I was paying more attention to the scenery than the road which is easily done as this route takes in some of the most beautiful sections of the Cotswolds.

The view between Quenington and Coln Saint Aldwyn is so quintessentially Cotswolds it’s almost cheesy. The Americans love it; in fact, as locals will know, Henry T Ford did try to buy the cottages at Arlington Row in Bibury – that’s how wonderful the scenery around here can be.

Along the route are ample pubs; especially at the time of day I was riding these seem to be the only places offering a refreshing drink of coffee or tea.

I love coming to Bibury, and often bring my family here too. This evening, even with the light fading, Bibury retained most of it’s charm. With the sun dropping, the atmosphere of the village alters. The river Colne continues to gurgle its way through the high street; the Swan Inn is still serving; the trout are still swimming; the best thing about this time of day is the quietness which is almost tranquil in itself. If I had more time, I would have stopped and had a mooch around.

Dating back to before Domesday records in 1086, Bibury sits on the River Colne which flows along the main street. It is a picturesque village with famously honey coloured 17th century mill cottages of Arlington Row which are, probably, the most photographed scene in the Cotswolds.

At the other end of the street is Arlington Mill, now a private residence, and next door is Bibury Tout Farm, where you can both feed and catch the trout to take home. There are tea rooms and pubs to eat and drink at. Parking is available opposite the Trout farm, along the main street and beyond, but it can be difficult to park on a nice day so get there early!

Heading out of Bibury towards Barnsley on a road that is not particularly the best road in terms of conditions, Barnsely is another Cotswold treat waiting. The instantly recognisable stone cottages appear and you instinctively know you are soon to arrive in yet another lovely village.

Moving on, now starting to think about getting home before it gets dark, I took the road back towards Fairford, turning off towards Meysey Hampton and Down Ampney. If time allows, stop in these two villages and you will get even more of the sense of the Cotwsolds. Top tip – visit the churches in all the villages and towns, and look around the graveyards. Sounds macabre, but it does fill you with a sense and wonder as to what once went on and what people did in these ancient villages.

Leaving Down Ampney, I headed back to Cricklade via Latton and a short section of the convenient A419.

A pleasant evening ride out – short but so very pleasant!

The route:- Cricklade; Kempsford; Fairford; Quenington; Bibury; Barnsley; Meysey Hampton; Down Ampney; Latton; Cricklade

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