Cycle rides with the best views

on 25 August 2014.

Get on the towpath of the Kennet and Avon canal for a beautiful and historic cycle ride.

If the thought of the Tour of Britain cycle race rushing through the town encourages you to take to the bike saddle again, the helpful people at North Wessex Downs AONB organisation at Denford have a suggestion or two for you.

Their recommendation for a bike ride with the best of views is a Kintbury - Inkpen round trip of about 18 miles which should take about a couple of hours and offers some of the most splendid countryside the area has to offer.

The route, map available from http://www.cycle-route.com/routes/Kintbury_and_Inkpen_Circle-Cycle-Route-6924.html, is, we are told, relatively gentle with only one steep climb at Walbury Hill

However, if history appeals more to you then a ride along the Kennet and Avon canal is suggested. You can go from Hungerford right through to Reading if you so wish, or just to Newbury following the canal towpath which is easily accessed at the canal bridge in Hungerford.

If you go the other way, it is possible to cycle all the way to Bristol – but that might be a pedal too far. A map showing the complete Avon and Kennet canal cycle route is available from: http://www.sustrans.org.uk/sites/default/files/images/files/migrated-pdfs/KAcycleguide.pdf

Historically, the Crofton pumping station and the Caen hill flight are two of the historic engineering feats the canal has to offer within the North Wessex Downs. The 57-mile canal section was constructed between 1794 and 1810 and restored in stages the latter half of the 20th century, largely by volunteers. After decades of dereliction and much restoration work, it was fully reopened in 1990.

A more woody suggestion is a Marlborough- Great Bedwyn. Savernake forest is the largest area of woodland in the North Wessex Downs which provides host of safe tracks for the enthusiastic cyclist as well as families and beginners.

This route includes Savernake forest and the villages of Froxfield, Ramsbury and Mildenhall but there are plenty of tracks through the Savernake forest if you prefer to stay off the roads. A map is available at: http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/wiltshire-cycleway-section10-great-bedwyn-to-marlboroug.pdf

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