the daily rush to get from one appointment to another, how many
of us stop to really appreciate the beauty of our part of the world?
no exaggeration to tell you that it was my bicycle that brought
me to south Northamptonshire 12 years ago. The quiet lanes, pretty
villages and beautiful scenery made for an irresistible combination
that grabbed hold of my heart and simply wouldn’t let go.
by bit, I spent that first summer exploring every nook and cranny
of the countryside within about ten miles of my cottage in Weston.
In some ways I feel nostalgic when I think back to that time – an
era of "firsts" – and yet I know nothing has been lost. It’s all
still there and waiting for me whenever I can find the time and
energy to pump up those tyres, pop on my cycle clips and start peddling.
just as a Londoner may make little use of the capital’s museum’s
and art galleries, it’s all too easy to take our everyday surroundings
for granted. So journey with me now, even if it’s only to rediscover
the magic you already know of this little corner of our county.
route taken by Jonathan Staples
favourite way out of Weston has always been the narrow road that
leads through the tiny hamlet of Plumpton with its tiny church and
on to Woodend and Blakesley.
from being free of traffic, the rolling hills capture everything
that’s best about this part of the world for a cyclist within just
a few short miles - easy gradients, far-reaching views, charm and
sign at Plumpton Wood used to boast of guard dogs and prosecution
for trespassers but no more. Revolution at the Forestry Commission
has come in the form of a "Walkers Welcome" board and a chance to
explore the once forbidden glades carpeted in May with bluebells.