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2012 HRCR Daffodil Run - 25th Mar



A new year and the start of the HRCR Tour season got underway with the first offering - the Daffodil Run. The Beechenhurst Visitor Centre in the heart of the Forest of Dean was just the place for the full entry of cars to assemble on a fine sunny morning.

The entry contained some familiar names from the tour circuit but it was also nice to see some fresh faces. The cars entered were also very varied, ranging in age from 1952 to 1979 and included models from Ford, BMC, Sunbeam, Saab, MG, Hillman and DAF. For me, the star entry had to be the DAF 66 Rally Sport of 1974 vintage, with all the period rally attachments, crewed by Dr David Firth and Thomas Firth. But that is only the start - the car also had the registration number of DAF 1. What a perfect car for the Daffodil Run! Driver Dr David tells me that he has owned the number, which matches his initials, for over 20 years but, with the purchase of the DAF 66 some 3 years ago, it     was just the perfect marriage. 

We were seeded at number 15 in our usual Austin 1300 GT – ‘Dippy’ - who has still not received his promised Christmas presents of new wheels and seats, but he has been treated to a set of Hankook Winter tyres, which has gone a long way to cure the problem of the wheels locking up under braking. At documentation, we were given a very well-produced and comprehensive road book and the all-important meals’ tickets. This of course had to include the traditional bacon butty to start the day.

After the drivers’ briefing by Paul Loveridge, we all awaited our start times with the first car away at 11.00. The weather was now just like mid-summer and a joy for the open-top cars. At our allotted time of 11.15, we were sent on our way, turning right out of the Visitor Centre and on to the Forest’s roads. The route passed through Bream, Parkend, Yorkley, Awre, Newnham, Grange Court and Littledean to the village of Flaxley. Just before the village hall, we passed by the magnificent Flaxley Abbey, set in stunning grounds. Well worth another visit to this area. At the village hall we were treated to the first refreshment stop of the day, which consisted of superb home-made cakes, tea and coffee. According to Paul’s road book information, the abbey dates back to the 12th century and the water mills in that area included one called Gun’s Mill that was one of the main foundries producing arms for the Civil War.


To this point, we had covered just over 29 miles on quiet open and flowing roads, which allowed both crew members to take in the delights of the beautiful scenery and get used to tulip directions again after the winter lay-off. The second leg of the route, which was to cover a further 23 miles, passed through Blaisdon, Mayhill and Newent Woods. The quiet country roads that were now being used were just perfect - very light traffic and an abundance of daffodils plus other spring flowers.


From the Mayhill to Aston Ingham road, the high views were a joy to see and, with such clear weather, the distances one could see were immense. From here, we passed through Cliffords Mesne, Taynton and Tibberton before arriving in the small town of Newent. We had a 30-minute break here to take a short walk through the town and to visit the lake which is very well stocked with large carp and other fish.


The short break was soon over and it was time to start the last section of the tour. On leaving the town, we were soon back to the quiet country roads and the daffodil display was just getting better and better, not only by the roadside but now in the woods as well - what a fantastic choice of route. The route passed over and under the M50 a number of times and we realised how lucky we were to be on these quiet roads instead of rushing along a busy motorway. 

The villages passed through were Botloes Green, Ketford, Ryton and Dymock. Possibly the best part on this section were the panoramic views of the Malverns from the Linton Ridge. Continuing onwards through Upton Bishop, Fishpool and Lyne Down, we arrived at the Westons Cider business at Much Marcle. The final section of the tour had added another 24 plus miles - the only request from the Dippy crew was, “Can we go round again please?!” Due to the fantastic weather, most of the entries chose to take their excellent 2-course roast dinner outside in the sunshine - when did we last do this on the 25th of March in England?


All that now remains is to thank Paul and his team for a first-class tour to start the 2012 HRCR season. The team has really set a very high benchmark for the other tours to follow. One final compliment must go to Jenny Loveridge for the very accurate mileages in the road book; they all matched our Brantz to the hundredth.

 Our sincere thanks to Peter Fieldhouse for all his help in compiling this report.

 Hilary and Mike Stratton plus Dippy