The Dukeries weekender - Bike Tour

ZigZag HQ, The Dukeries, Forest Cor, Edwinstowe, Nottinghamshire, NG21 9RN

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The Dukeries weekender - Bike Tour



Date: Saturday 25 – Monday 27 June

Start/Finish: The Dukeries, Nottinghamshire

Duration: 2 nights

Distance: 15-20 miles a day

Difficulty: easy/medium

Highlights: The eccentric 5th Duke of Portland and his labyrinthine underground tunnels; the reactionary 4th Duke of Newcastle and his delusional feudal fantasies; dissolved medieval monasteries, enormous country houses and bucolic parkland, inter-woven by miles and miles of level gradient, cycle-friendly public bridleways.

The Dukeries was so named because it was once home to four ducal seats: Worksop Manor (Dukes of Norfolk) Welbeck Abbey (Dukes of Portland) Thoresby Hall (Dukes of Kingston) and Clumber House (Dukes of Newcastle. Each of these vast estates, with their sprawling parklands, are inter-connected by easy to ride public cycle routes – making the Dukeries the perfect setting for Zig Zag's two days cycling holiday with overnight accommodation; a meandering exploration through one of the most important architectural legacies of aristocratic house building and the omnipotent dukes.

Accommodation: YHA Sherwood Forest, Edwinstowe, NG21 9RN. Situated in the heart of Sherwood Forest and surrounded by some of the oldest oak trees and primaeval forest in the United Kingdom, within walking distance from the Major Oak. The entire venue will be reserved for the duration of the tour and will be for the exclusive use of Zag Zag's guests only.

1 x private double room with double bed and en-suite.
7 x private double room with double bed and shared bathroom.
2 x private single room with shared bathroom.
3 x shared room with two bunk beds and shared bathroom.

Day One – Saturday 25 June:

10am: arrive at YHA Sherwood Forest for check-in, bag drop-off, coffee and briefing.
12pm – 2pm: Ride out to Budby Common, a picturesque open heathland in the depths of Sherwood Forest. On to Budby Village, an exemplar Welbeck Estate village, untouched since the early 19th century, stopping for lunch at Budby Antiques Centre. Before lunch a visit to Earl Manvers' Victorian masterpiece Thoresby Hall (the hotel is strict on access but we will try to gain access to the mysterious Egyptian revival pyramid in the middle of the parkland).
2pm – 5pm: Further investigation into the story of estate villages, through the Duke of Newcastle's Perlthorpe and Hardwick and then into Clumber Park to celebrate the story of the hyper-reactionary and megalomaniacal 4th of Duke of Newcastle
5pm – 9pm: Back to the YHA Sherwood Forest for post-ride drinks. Dinner will be served with wine and prepared by our resident Italian chef who will also demonstrate how to make your own handmade pasta. Menu: antipasto; pasta with green beans and parmesan; homemade Bakewell tart.
9pm – late: For those who still have the energy, a night walk around Sherwood Forest or have it large in Edwinstowe (or both).
Day Two – Sunday 26 June:

8.30am – 9.30am: Cooked breakfast Italian style.
10.30pm – 1.30pm: Leisurely ride to Welbeck Abbey, the ancestral home of the mighty Dukes of Portland, for a guided tour of the estate. We will try to make sense of the weird and wonderful world of the eccentric 5th Duke of Portland, known as the 'Underground Man' for his network of labyrinthine tunnels beneath the estate. We will also investigate the circumstances around the mysterious death of George Bentinck, eldest son of the 4th Duke of Portland and patron of the famous mid-Victorian Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli.
1.30pm – 3.30pm: Lunch at the Harley Café on the Welbeck Estate. Opportunity to visit the Welbeck farm shop for artisanal foods and also The Harley Gallery which features a temporary exhibition 'Tunnel Vision' exploring the story behind the 5th Duke of Portland's underground tunnels.
3.30pm – 5.30pm: Guided tour of Welbeck Brewery with a chance to sample some of their finest ales. Well oiled, we depart back along a picturesque route to YHA Sherwood Forest.
7.30pm – late: out into Edwinstowe for dinner and delights.
Day Three – Monday 27 June:

8.30am – 9.30am: Cooked breakfast Italian style.
10.30am – 4.30pm: Optional cycle back to Nottingham with Zig Zag, along Route 6 of the National Cycle Network, via Newstead Abbey (approx 4 hours at a leisurely pace). Stopping at Newstead Abbey for refreshments and a brief consideration of Lord Byron of Newstead, the progressive and reformist patrician, poet and raconteur.
Getting there / Getting back:

By Train: A member of Zig Zag will be on the 8.25am Nottingham to Shirebrook train on Saturday 25 June to lead a picturesque 40 minutes ride along quiet country roads to Edwinstowe. Please notify us if you are taking the train so we know to look out for you.
By Car: Free parking is available at YHA Sherwood Forest.
By Bike: If cycling from Nottingham please let us know and we will provide you with a gpx route along quiet country lanes and bridleways to YHA Sherwood Forest.
By Helicopter: available upon request.
What's included:

2 nights accommodation in Sherwood Forest.
1 Italian dinner and wine on the first evening.
2 breakfasts.
1 guided tour of the Thoresby, Welbeck, Newcastle and Newstead Estates by 18th and 19th century historical expert Toby Ebbs.
Full assistance by qualified bike mechanic Antony Hopwood.
What's not included:

Dinner on the second evening.
Fridge magnets, snow globes, keyrings, postcards and the obligatory bow and arrow.

Book Tickets

Guide Prices

£125 = 1 person + 1 bed in a shared room with two bunk beds and a shared bathroom
£190 = 1 person + 1 private single room with shared bathroom
£300 = 2 persons + 1 private double room with double bed and shared bathroom
£340 = 2 persons + 1 private double room with double bed and en-suite

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