Nick Livermore follows the beautiful Severn Estuary north from Bristol to discover one of Gloucestershire’s very best tea rooms, a favourite among cyclists in the area.
Park your bike up round the back, a secure area in which to lock your bike or enjoy a spot of cake in the fresh air and hobble inside. On your way to order coffee you’ll find yourself drooling at the sight of many expertly-produced homemade cakes, before stumbling over your words in an attempt to decide which you want that little bit more than all the others.
Unlike in many small-towns I’ve visited, this quaintly proportioned, well-decorated and amicably staffed tea room gets everything right; not just the cake, but the hot drinks too. Ordering a cappuccino, I was pleased to note that it possessed a strong coffee flavour, which cappuccinos all too rarely do. The remainder of our number were equally impressed by their loose-leaf tea and black americano.
It’s not often you come across an establishment that gets it so right that there’s nothing worth complaining about. In truth, I’d wanted to continue on to Malmesbury for our coffee stop, but was coerced into taking a break in Berkeley; I’m so glad we did. It seems there are hidden benefits to cycling with tapering triathletes afterall.
The Route – 60 Miles, 850m Climbing
Leaving Bristol from the Grove, head up the sometimes busy but always pleasant to look at A4018 – taking in Park Street, Whiteladies Road and Blackboy Hill – before crossing Bristol’s famous Downs and heading out in the direction of Henbury, Hallen and Easter Compton.
Turning back on yourself only for a second at Easter Compton, head along Over Lane towards Almondsbury, briefly joining the A38 before turning off to the left, through Tockington and Olveston.
Head out of Olveston, following signposts for National Cycle Route 41, which will take you – via Littleton-upon-Severn – through some truly beautiful countryside and all the way to Berkeley and its smashing tea rooms, which are you on your left as you enter.
Following copious refreshment, pop back on your bike and power out of Berkeley in the same direction, before swiftly taking a left in the direction of Thornbury. Continue on through Alveston, rejoining the original route as far as Stoke Bishop where you can either return home via the original route or head speedily down the Portway and home.