Whilst Clive was taking some Seahaven riders along the Loire Valley, four members from the Touring Section went on a five-day mini tour of Normandy in early September, the total distance cycled over the five days was 260 miles as a round trip from Seaford, utilising the Newhaven to Dieppe Ferry. The aim was to introduce new tourist members to unsupported cycle touring, avoiding busy roads and where possible riding some of the many “Voie Vertes” or green routes.
Day 1 Dieppe to St Valery en Caux 29.2 Miles (17 miles on car free cycle routes) 1368 ft of ascent.
A short ride from Dieppe took us to the Veloroute du Lin, a former railway route that has been converted to leisure use, similar to the Cuckoo Trail. This just left a few short miles on quiet roads to St Valery en Caux.
Cifftop at Pourville Sur Mer
Veloroute du Lin
|Day 2 St Valery en Caux to Honfleur 53.2 Miles 1647 Ft of Ascent. All on Roads.
A quiet back lane route on the most part took us to Honfleur, highlight of the day was crossing the Pont de Normande by bicycle. Honfleur is a medieval port, with a fascinating history , it has a bustling centre with many with many bars and fish restaurants.
Pont de Normande
A well-earned Beer
|Day 3 Honfleur to Evreux 58 Miles 2242 Ft of Ascent 26 Miles on Traffic Free Routes|
|Another disused railway cycle route (Eure 2 Voie Verte) took us off road from Pont Anthou to Evreux, through the heart of the Normandy Countryside.||
Start of the Eure2 Voie Verte
|Day 4 Evreux to Gornay en Bray 61.3 Miles 1851 Ft of Ascent 21 Miles on Traffic Free Cycle Routes.|
|It was time start heading back to the Channel, our destination town for the longest day of the trip, Gornay en Bray, familiar to those of you who have cycled the Paris -London route. Once over the River Seine river we cycled past the coach loads of tourists at Monet’s Garden, which looked pretty with the late summer roses in fine bloom.|
We picked up the Eure 4 Voie Verte de La Vallee de La Epte another former railway line which merges with Avenue Vert at Bray et Lu. This particular route finishes at Gisors.
The Abbey at Gisors
|Day 5 Gornay en Bray to Dieppe 47.5 Miles 951 Ft of Ascent 30 miles on Traffic Free Routes|
|We followed a route close to the Avenue Vert as far as Forges Les Eaux (Heathfield’s Twin Town), where we picked up the former railway line that drops all the way into Dieppe.|
We stopped for refreshments at Neufchatel en Bray, in the former railway station that is now a café.
Cafe at Neufchatel en Bray
|A thoroughly enjoyable five-day tour, not too many steep hills with most of them being gearable. France really has opened its countryside to Leisure cycling, and is experiencing a bit of a tourist bonus as a result. About 100 miles of the trip utilised traffic free tarmac surfaced former railway lines, the easy gradients being a welcome relief from some of the hills in Normandy. Nearly all of the rest was on quiet D or C class roads. A more detailed write up with routes is available from Dave Sutton who is contactable via the ride leaders page. It can also be downloaded from THIS LINK
I’m glad I Had.
Good company and a Garmin GPS with back up navigation methods.
Next time I Would
Choose a town centre hotel for Evreux.
Happy Cycling Dave
Photos Dave Sutton, Joe Hamilton, Phil Draude and John Buchan.