What a fantastic day, the sun was shining and the shorts were out, which was stark contrast to the ice and snow and the winter woollies two weeks previously. Leaving Reigate Hill, the 12 of us headed off to Walton on the Hill. Setting out along the ridge we crossed over the M25 to the cross roads by the Mint Arms. As we entered the bridleway towards Banstead Heath a group of horse riders requested that we returned to the road so they could pass (something to do with horses and electric fences). The horses were bigger than us so we obliged. Our second attempt on the bridleway was more successful, but a few of us were caught out by a huge puddle a foot deep encompassing the whole track with electric fences on each side. No electric shocks but a few wet feet. Through the woods on Banstead Heath most of the mud was hard, but a few big mud swamps made pedalling extremely tough and Xavior decided to take a close examination, covering himself in the sticky mud. Check out the photo.
From Walton on the Hill we descended down the ‘narrow’ path to Nohome Farm. This has recently been cleared and is far less treacherous and wider, however a rather excited dog gave Dave Ricketts a bite in the arm. Dave was OK and continued on the ride. There is something about this lane at it was the same place where Marcus had two fingers broken by a horse stepping on his hand last summer.
Reaching the top of Stane Street we set out to ride its entire length to the foot of Box Hill. Part way down there was an option for those wanting an earlier tea stop to turn right and get to Brocketts farm by road. The rest of us completed Stane Street and headed for Burford Bridge. Climbing Crabtree Lane beyond the car park and right to the top, we followed some fast tracks on a gentle decent to Brocketts farm where we met up with the others, and the rest of the world who were out for the day.
After a slice of Mars Bar cake we set off for a fairly direct route back to Reigate Hill, over the river Mole, across Stane Street, past Headley Heath and down Tye Lane where Peter punctured. The rest of us continued over the golf course where Xavior punctured within sight of Reigate Hill.
After 23 miles we encountered a total of 21 horses, which may be a record.