Cycled Fleet Pond with Dad (30th August 2008)

Another glorious Summer evening. I convinced Dad to ride with me to Fleet Pond.

We took the Basingstoke Canal down to Pondtail, then joined the road by the bridge. We crossed the crossroad and used the residential street to cut out a big corner. We turned left at the end, staying on a road to cut out some more distance. It was muggy amongst the houses.

We considered cutting through the woods to the ford on the way down. I wasn’t certain which path it was and it would be a nicer highlight to visit on the way back. Something to look forwards to.

We continued clockwise around the pond, stopping at a few places to look across the water. It almost feels like looking over the sea. You can clear see the far bank but the wide expanse of water tricks the mind. There are a few islands which are each big enough for a copse of trees to grow on them!

While riding alongside the railway, dad noticed the row of narrow arches where water flows from one half of the pond to another. The railway built a giant causeway across the pond and these arches allow the water to stay level. Despite the causeway, it still took about half an hour to cycle around. Makes you realise how monumental a body of water it really is.

Riding parallel with the embankment, I tried riding up the tough route I conquered a few months ago. Dad watched and said it looked “tiring”.

Nearby we saw a group of Shetland Ponies, on the pond side of the fence. I guess they’ve been introduced to help graze the grass, similar to the giant cow-like things which have been introduced into other areas around here.

Eventually, our clockwise circumnavigation of the pond finished at the sandy beach opposite the railway causeway. It still had a miniature bay with a spit of land across it. There were some tree trunks laid from the beach to the spit, which stood clear the lowering Summer water level.

To avoid ending up on the route we had approached the Pond from, we left the beach the same way we had entered it. This leads to a track through the woods where we turned right, away from the pond. A narrow bridge cross a stream which I could tell led to the ford due to the orange stones in the bottom. The water was very clear.

A man was walking his dog, which promptly lay in the stream as I was about to ride through it. He called the dog away and it got up but choose to paddle further into the stream. I talked to it and it seemed calm, so I rode through.

On the way back, we exited the woods onto the same residential street we’d used on the way out. But this time we headed straight back to the main road, then went left, down to the crossroad. Instead of rejoining the canal we turned right, without cheating the corner by using the pavement…honest guv!