Fermynwoods residency: mostly gates


Having spotted this road sign on my way to Market Harborough the other day, I mapped out a 40 mile cycle route exploring to the North of where I’m staying and of course starting out with Old Dry Lane (North).

Best laid plans and all that…

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The first bit went okay: I found the South end of Old Dry Lane, and the ghost middle part of Old Dry Lane (looks like it came a cropper when the A road was built, maybe?) turned out to be a bridleway and passable by bike.




I got myself across the A6116 without incident, and found what was left of the original line on the North side.


Hmmm, bit of a dumping ground it seems.

The plan then was to keep going up the lane and then turn right and use a track to link up to Benefield Road. I started hitting signs saying ‘private road’ though. There was a ‘bridleway’ sign right next to it, but in between noticing each sign, I also managed to stop and ask a dogwalker if it was possible for me to get through if I kept going that way.

I was just following a line on my Garmin, so I couldn’t give him any useful information about where I was trying to get to, but he did suggest I back up a bit, and take the track through the woods as that would be a better surface than going straight on (which would have me going across fields).


I felt it would be in the spirit of exploration to follow his suggestion, so I got onto the track and had a nice little off-road ride through the woods. I decided I didn’t want to go as far as Weldon, so turned right and tried to rejoin onto my original planned route.

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This looked good for a few minutes, but then I came to a gate with signs saying it was private access only, so I had to turn back to the A road. “No problem”, I thought, just a short stretch, then I can turn left up Benefield Road and get back onto my original route in no time.


Benefield Road goes under the A6116! I had to keep going, back to the footbridge into Brigstock for a lap of honour and then try again…


I really enjoyed the gated road coming out of Lower Benefield, however I kind of get the feeling someone else was less happy about it.


It seemed to be a road that was only reluctantly open as a right of way. The signs seemed to be saying “Well, go on then, but don’t say we didn’t warn you…”



I wimped out of doing the full 40 miles in the end – the previous night’s excitements and the earlier diversions having got the better of me. I hadn’t planned for it to be another ride on the theme of gatekeepers and permissions, nor to be another exercise in being misplaced, but I like how exploring by bicycle reveals the sorts of inconsistencies that are usually hidden to you when you’re driving a car. I also like how bikes are generally very accommodating of plans going a bit different.

I’m not sure if I’ll have time to get another ride in before I leave, but I feel my bike trips so far have shown and taught me a lot. So many unanswered questions though! I want to know about the Old Dry Hills!