Wallington's cycling stories

Head Gardener Simon on a cycling holiday in New Zealand

When we talk to our visitors about the joy of cycling and how much fun the Dragon cycle trail is, it’s because we do have the cycling bug here at Wallington. We have a number of enthusiastic cyclists amongst the staff who really understand the health and well-being benefits of heading out and about on two wheels. Not to mention the opportunities to enjoy the scenery and have new adventures with friends and family. Here are a few of the team telling you about their cycling stories.

Peter is a Wallington gardener and a keen cyclist. A couple of years ago he went on a big cycle tour through 8 different European countries and into Morocco. “It was an amazing way to experience the culture and hospitality of this fantastic continent. I saw some vast  and impressive landscapes, wild camped a lot and one night was kept awake with the howling of jackals around my tent. I met lots of people, many of whom were happy to offer accommodation to a random, sweaty stranger. In Spain, I was fed by firemen on a rainy night and in Morocco was invited back to stay at a farmer’s house with his family. It was a wonderful experience and great fun.”

Gardener Peter at the top of Mont Ventoux
Gardener Peter at the top of Mont Ventoux
Gardener Peter at the top of Mont Ventoux

Simon is Head Gardener here at Wallington and another keen cyclist who has had plenty of two-wheeled adventures. In 1995, Simon and his wife Tracy spent 6 months cycling around both the North and South islands of New Zealand. They bought the bikes in Australia and flew them over to New Zealand. When they started this adventure, Tracy could barely ride a bike and had never ridden with pannier bags on! Go Tracy. During the 6 months, they covered about 3000 miles and it was so much fun, they nearly didn’t come back. We’re rather glad they did!

Another of Simon's cycling adventures was in 2009, when Wallington needed to raise some money to build a new, bigger staffroom for all our garden volunteers. One of the fundraising activities was a sponsored bike ride from Wallington to Bamburgh Castle and back ( 100 miles). “Four of us completed it and it was a great way to spend a day. We were a very mixed ability group but we stayed together, ate lots of cake and got it done. Oh and we did build the staffroom too.” 

Head Gardener Simon on a sponsored cycle to Bamburgh
Head Gardener Simon on a sponsored cycle to Bamburgh
Head Gardener Simon on a sponsored cycle to Bamburgh

Lloyd is our House and Collections Manager and although not a regular cyclist, he really likes to explore the area around Wallington and sometimes beyond. “The great thing about this area is that there is plenty of variety and plenty of new views to see. I like calling in at different villages, visiting the local churches and looking at the architecture. Equally I enjoy the great outdoors and having time to watch wildlife or the changing seasons. My greatest adventure to date was cycling to Jedburgh and back in a day but it is easier and just as rewarding to cycle to Rothbury or Seaton Delaval, both of which are within easy reach of tea shops! For my next adventure, I’ll be off to Hexham which is a downhill ride though.  I may need to push my bike on the way back up!”