Maps, maps, maps

August 23, 2009 at 3:35 pm | Posted in Cycle Rides, Eating and Drinking, Julian, Travel | Leave a comment
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“Gosh [said Julian’], how I do like the beginning of a holiday, getting ready, looking at maps, planning how to get there and at last setting off!” (Five Go Down to the Sea)

For once, I wholeheartedly agree with Julian. After a productive visit to Stanfords, map and travel bookshop extraordinaire, I’ve spent the morning channeling both Joanna the Cook and Julian, by baking a seed cake while planning the first stages of my holiday route in more detail, looking up cycle paths on Sustrans’ excellent website and marking them out on my crisp new Ordnance Survey maps (incidentally, Stanfords currently have a great 3 for 2 offer on all OS maps).

As I am joining my holiday companion in Oxford, I’ve decided to catch the train from London Paddington to Didcot. Yes, Didcot. I know this may not sound terribly exciting, but I’m interested in exploring the Hanson Way, part of Route 5 of the National Cycle Nework. According to Sustrans, this offers an easy and attractive 15 mile cycle from Oxford to Didcot (or vice versa). It goes through Abingdon and Sutton Courtenay and is a mixture of river, canal & railway paths and quiet lanes with apparently very nice views over beautiful Oxfordshire countryside. As I also have to get from East London to Paddington, I figure this makes a nice gentle start to the cycling extravaganza – a far cry from the forty or fifty miles Julian and Dick plan for the Five on their first day of holiday in Five Get Into Trouble.

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