Somerset’s growing cycle network bears fruit: a ride on the Strawberry Line

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Mostly traffic-free and flat, this route between Yatton and Cheddar takes in old stations and views across the Levels to the Bristol Channel – and it’s being extended to form part of the 76-mile Somerset Circle

It’s a noise the former railway tunnel probably hadn’t heard in a while. Somewhere in the dark is a hooting part-owl, part-forlorn steam train. My sister Ele has stopped on her bike to blow determinedly across her cupped hands like a flute. As she recreates this long-gone sound, I pedal on through the cool, damp air. Water drips steadily from the stalactite-coated brickwork as my front light illuminates pedestrians and their dogs looming from the echoing shadows.

We are cycling the Strawberry Line, a 10.75-mile, mostly off-road cycling and walking route from Yatton to Cheddar in north Somerset, on a sunny spring morning. White blackthorn flowers blossom in the hedges, and puddles splatter us with brick-coloured mud. I always love the thought that this rich red soil was formed when Britain basked close to the equator, before migrating north, along with Europe and North America.

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