Posted on Wednesday 22 June 2016 by Charles Harvey
I have to confess that I’m not that interested in gardening but my last three rides have been to a flower show and to two gardens open to the public as part of the National Gardens Scheme (NGS). They make for a pleasant destination for a ride and usually have the added attraction of excellent cake stalls.
This ride was to Mackerye End, a grade 1 listed manor house. I’d cycled past it many times but this was the first opportunity I’d had to visit it so I jumped at the chance. Eight met up at St Albans. There was a bit of a hiccup as one of our number realised that she had left a pannier on the train so while she spoke to the station staff about it I rang ahead to confirm lunch.
We left St Albans through Bernards Heath, had a quick look at the pre-Roman fortifications to the north of the town, then rode on through Sandridgebury, Sandridge, Nomansland Common to Wheathampstead. There had been error over the train times in the rides list so we had an extra half hour before lunch. Some went for a short extra ride, others looked round the village.
After lunch at The Swan, we passed though Ayot St Lawrence. The chance to visit Shaw’s Corner, the former home of Bernard Shaw, playwright and CTC member, now owned by The National Trust, proved a greater attraction for some than a garden so some went there while the rest of us rode on to Mackerye End. The garden there was an interesting contrast to the one at the manor house at Ayot St Lawrence which I’d led a ride to two weeks previously. It was bigger, less manicured and had some wild areas at the edge. I leave it to others who know more about gardening than I do to add to this account.
After tea, it was a short ride to Harpenden. We had to go up an evil hill at Crabtree Lane to get to the station about 1.630.