The days are finally becoming warmer and sunnier so getting those long runs and rides in becomes even more enjoyable! I’m fortunate enough to live in the beautiful countryside of Wiltshire and I am going to share a long ride around the South and South East of the County. Wiltshire is dominated by the Chalk of the Cretaceous period with these outcrops at the south and south east of the county forming the upland landscape of the downs - exactly where this ride takes you.
Wiltshire is typically described as rolling roads and 40% of the county falls within an area of outstanding beauty. I will be taking you on a step by step tour of this picturesque countryside, pointing out a few landmarks and obviously the all important cafe stop!
Chris' Step by Step Cycling Route
STEP 1 - Riding from Westbury
I start this 100km route in historic the Market Town of Westbury overlooked by the famous White Horse. From here you start the ride out to the Military Town of Warminster. This is a gradual climb and as a 'fun fact', Warminster sits higher than the top of Salisbury Cathedral spire! Leaving Warminster you then head out to the proper country roads.
STEP 2 - Heading onto the Salisbury Plain
Leaving Warminster you begin the ride along the Wyle Valley, tracing the course of the Wyle River. Twisting and turning along lovely quiet country lanes, passing through beautiful villages (with good pubs) eventually getting to Stoford where you will need to cross the main road. After this you will begin a long drag up onto the edge of the Salisbury Plain.
STEP 3 - Cycling towards Amesbury
I say climb but really it’s a long drag. At the top you will see views you’ll later descend down to, and the next section of lanes are very rolling and twisty all the way to the famous Town of Amesbury. Prior to getting to this Amesbury you will pass beside a large wall in the village of Wilsford. For you music fans, the other side of this wall is the 800 acre estate belonging to Sting!...
STEP 4 - Riding near Stonehenge
Amesbury, known for being near Stonehenge, is a busy little Town with shops where you can refuel if needed (but where is your VOOM?)! The ride does not take you directly next to Stonehenge which can get busy, particularly in summer, but it would only require a small detour. From here you head north twisting through Military grounds and passing some fantastic houses. Upavon is a small village you go through, and another fact for you - Upavon was the first RAF base in the UK, now home to RAF gliders....
STEP 5 - Wiltshire's Best Cycling Cafe Stop!?
Do not fear, the cafe is now very close! Follow the fast roads and lanes as you come down off the Plain to Woodborough, on the edge of the Pewsey Downs which boasts Tan Hill, and the Alton Barnes White Horse (also fantastic for walking along the top of this). The Sticks and Stones Cafe is a popular stop for many cyclists, many coming from miles around for the famous Rainbow Cake!
STEP 6 - Riding past Westbury White Horse
Here comes the last step home! Full of coffee and cake now, the last run home is fast and fun! My friends and I sadly own a lot of the Strava KOMs along this road (there is a target for you!). Very few hills and the slight rises are not even noticed at the speeds you can get along the final stretch home. You will run parallel to the Salisbury Plain and as you approach Westbury you know you're home when you see the White Horse again to your left...