Day and night, fast and slow! Beautiful valleys, including the Chalke, with the odd hill thrown in with Cheddar Gorge; maybe in the dark with its looming walls. Stunning views en route you can just see The Needles.
WHEN:09/01/2021 07:00 - 20:56
WHERE:Warmley Waiting Room
Warmley, BS30 5JB
Event review summary:
Extensive route notes and a variety of files will be distributed to entrants via email a week or two before the event. In the mean time use the interactive map for an overview of what lies ahead (subject to change); toggle the elevation & grade on/off by clicking the key. *Please note plugin's 'grade' is experimental so take it with a pinch of salt, especially where rocky outcrops may be present.
Heading out from Warmley Station along the Bristol to Bath Railway Path and through the 2Tunnels under Combe Down you will make your way into Wiltshire and cruise down the amazing virtually traffic free Wylye Valley, which the still operational GWR Wessex Main Line follows to the historic town of Wilton with its Italianate Church. Hopping over to the Chalke Valley, named after a small tributary to the River Ebble emerging at Broad Chalke, you head towards Shaftesbury after a couple of climbs; the first onto Charlton Down on a section of old Roman road between Bath and Badbury Rings, here you may see on the horizon The Needles if a clear day. Descend the infamous Zig-Zag Hill to Shaftesbury. Using predominantly B roads from now you head to Wells, here the road named Strawberry Way follows what was once the old Strawberry Line named after the local produce. Level riding through Somerset to Cheddar and its mighty Gorge, most likely in the dark with its looming rock faces, you ascend The Mendips to the Chew Valley and the arrivée at The Holybush Inn, Bridgeyate.
Public toilets will be open from 06:30 located in the small free car park. This has a height barrier so be warned but it is often left open. Please do not park at The Holybush Inn; people live there and don’t want to be woken at the crack of dawn by cyclists scrabbling to unload bikes, also they’d like to reserve the car park for their regular trade. As Warmley is ideally located on the Bristol to Bath Railway Path I’d hope all those coming from Bristol and even Bath cycled to and from the event.
What others think.
On a cold windswept day in January I chose this as my first audax of the year. It was great fun riding this one, some roads I was familiar with and others not. The ride out from Warmley station on the Bristol to Bath cycleway was nice and then onto the two tunnels trail emerging from the second tunnel into daybreak.
Once over the Mendip hills it was gentle rolling countryside through into Wiltshire with a stop at the Ginger Piggery for coffee on the way to Wilton. Heading west there was a few more cheeky hills as we crossed into Dorset including a climb up onto Bullbarrow down that tested the legs. Onwards west we rode into somerset with another of Will’s hills just after Bruton and then finally after a dash across the levels we ascended Cheddar Gorge. I was one of those that climbed it in the dark which added an interesting twist. But don’t thinks it’s all downhill back to Warmley as there was a couple more Will’s hills thrown in at the end.
On the whole it was a great ride, would I do it again? Most definitely yes!
Some familiar and not so familiar roads for this winter Audax which I enjoyed immensely.