South Langley Cyclists Stop for a Sip or Two
October 5, 2012 · Print This Article
South Langley cyclists stop for a sip or two around Campbell Valley Regional Park
Access: Campbell Valley Regional Park lies 55 kilometres east of Vancouver in South Langley. Follow Highway 1 southeast to the 200th or 232nd Street exit and drive 14.5 kilometres south to the park’s 16th Avenue or 8th Avenue entrance. Or from Highway 99 South, take the 8th Avenue East exit and travel 7.5 kilometres to the south-valley entrance on 200th Street. For details, visit www.metrovancouver.org/services/parks_lscr/regionalparks/Pages/CampbellValley.aspx or call 604-530-4983. The park is wheelchair-accessible.
In the countryside around Vancouver, autumn is all about rich smells: fallen leaves and freshly sprung mushrooms give off earthy aromas; beds of late-blooming marigolds cloud the air with perfume; and trellises of ripe grapes emit telltale sweet notes as clusters cry out to be crushed for jelly or wine.
Want to experience this for yourself?
Head to South Langley with bikes onboard.
Leave your vehicle at Campbell Valley Regional Park and head out for an hour or three’s ride while the sun still warms your face.
Not that cyclists are welcome inside the park.
Far from it: this is horse country.
Trails that network through the heritage farmland close to the Canada–U.S. border are reserved for equestrians and pedestrians.
When the time comes to poke your nose into Campbell Valley, use the bike racks at the north- and south-valley entrances, or simply tuck your bikes away in the woods at any of a dozen approaches around the 550-hectare perimeter. (One is at the vintage Lochiel schoolhouse, where a portrait of George VI still adorns one wall with the words to “God Save the King” written on the blackboard below. To peer inside is to step back in time.)
If you can’t take bikes into the park, why bring them along?
Campbell Valley, more than 20 percent larger than Stanley Park, is contained within a rough rectangle of lightly trafficked back roads.
Stately groves of maples and cottonwoods, vibrantly coloured by the changing seasons, demarcate property lines.
Breezes waft across rolling hills, open meadows, and wetlands.
Although the city may be close at hand, this part of South Langley is as quiet and quaint as countrysides come.
In case you need further inducement to explore these laneways, three wineries dot the route.
Now through November is an ideal time to drop in for a taste of both new and old vintages, either from the bottle or straight off the vine, though you’ll have to hurry to sample fresh grapes.
According to Township 7 Vineyards’ manager, Phil Vallely, this year’s cool spring followed by an unusually hot summer meant that most grape varieties at both the winery’s Langley and Okanagan properties were ready for harvesting earlier than usual.
By the time you park your bike in front of the tasting room, as plenty of cyclists do on sunny weekends, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any plump, purple table grapes left on the trellises originally planted 60 years ago by the former farm owners.
Still, buy a glass of wine, sit out at one of the picnic tables spread among the rows of chardonnay and pinot noir, and toast your good fortune at finding your way here.
Until recently, locals scoffed at the idea of cultivating grapes for anything grander than jelly.
Claude and Inge Violet, whose French winemaking pedigree stretches back to the 17th century, challenged that perception when they founded the Fraser Valley’s first winery in the 1980s.
By the time they retired earlier this decade, Domaine de Chaberton had become one of the largest estate wineries in B.C., with an annual production of more than 40,000 cases.
Inge Violet still supplies some of the winery’s trademark white wine variety—Bacchus—from her nearby property.
With more than 20 years in the food-and-beverage industry, Domaine de Chaberton’s retail manager Margo Klassen finds a trend lately toward white wine as the drink of choice among visitors, whom she characterized as more open-minded and adventuresome than those in previous years.
If that description matches your self-image, here’s a suggestion: save any wine-tasting for the tail end of your ramble.
Hop aboard your bike and start circling the park in a clockwise direction to make the most efficient use of energy as you pedal the contoured hillside.
The landscape rolls gently along with little loss or gain in elevation.
The one exception is a steep notch where North Bluff Road, also called 16th Avenue, plummets into the narrow Campbell Valley.
Be prepared for a short section of pumping no matter which approach you take.
As a reward, one of the best views of this circumnavigation appears from the bridge that spans the Campbell River.
At this brief opening, the spires in Golden Ears Provincial Park dominate the northern skyline.
This is one of South Langley’s most picturesquely forested microclimates, which receives more sun and less rain than anywhere else in the Fraser Valley.
Imagine you’re biking in Europe, particularly beneath a stand of towering Lombardy poplars adjacent to Township 7 Vineyards.
Add vino to heighten the sensation and cap your tour.
Going to the country doesn’t get better than this.
Domaine de Chaberton Estate Winery is located at 1064 216th Street. For information, call 604-530-1736.
Township 7 Vineyards and Winery is located one kilometre west of Domain de Chaberton at 21152 16th Avenue, a short distance from Campbell Valley Park’s north entrance. For information, call 604-532-1766.