Week 8 day 56 –  Monday 18th May 

  • 65 minutes at 120 watts
  • Max heart rate = 120 bpm
  • Calories = 551 (total so far 19068)
  • Distance covered = 23.41 miles
  • Sunday afternoon bike ride = 7.40
  • Total distance so far = 715.81

We couldn’t resist the sunshine yesterday – but neither could hundreds of other people, so although we enjoyed our ‘real’ bike ride, the queues kept us away from the ice cream stall. Never mind, it was another good session of ‘active rest’ and gained me some extra miles on the challenge. For the gym bike ride I listened again to the legendary Rolling Stones Hot Rocks. You can choose which track I found most apt – 19th Nervous Breakdown, or Time is On My Side!

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I continue today in a south easterly direction towards Gloucester. There is some beautiful countryside here as to the east I have the Malvern Hills and to the west, the Wye Valley – both designated AONB.

On the way I pass through several small villages with some rather unusual names. One is Trumpet (or The Trumpet) where the village is named after the timber framed Trumpet inn on the major intersection of the Gloucester to Leominster and Tewkesbury to Hereford roads. The half-timbered inn is said to be some 800 years old and so named from the obligation of coaches that passed by to blow their coach horns.

Redmarley d’Abitot has a very fine ring to it and a long history. From what I can glean, the name Redmarley comes from ‘woodland clearing with a reedy pond’, from the Old English words hrëod and lëah. D’Abitot is thought to come from Urse d’Abetot, who was Sheriff of Worcestershire and who held the manor in 1086. The village dates back to pre-Norman times and there are many beautiful old buildings. It was also a battlefield for a Civil War encounter during the siege of Gloucester.

My final stop for the day is Maisemore. Here we find the Maisemore bridge. It takes us across to Alney Island, a 200 acre strip of land and nature reserve, which is formed where the Severn splits in two at Upper Parting and rejoins at Lower Parting. Not surprisingly with so much water around, the area is prone to flooding and there have been at least six previous bridges here. The parishioners of Maisemore were, by ancient custom, liable for the repair of the bridge, but this apparently proved beyond their means as in 1709, they were fined £200 for non-repair. Over the years it passed into the hands of trustees and eventually to the Gloucester Council. 

Alney Island as well as being a nature reserve is also regarded as the best viewing spot for the famous Severn Bore, which attracts visitors from around the world. As many as 60 bores occur globally and the tidal range on the Severn is the second highest in the world. 

The shape of the Severn estuary is such that the water is funnelled into an increasingly narrow channel as the tide rises, thus forming the large wave. The width of the river decreases rapidly from 5 miles at Avonmouth to less than a hundred yards across at Minsterworth. At the same time, the depth of the river changes rapidly and forms a funnel shape.

Flooding seems a rather distant thought for us all here in the east as we start off what promises to be another very warm week. Denied access to garden centres for the purchase of the usual spring seedlings, some people have been very resourceful. Thankfully, whilst enjoying a delicious ‘distance’ tea with a friend, Mary was given some little seedlings grown from seeds saved from supermarket tomatoes – watch this space for their progress.