In the past cycling was thought to be the preserve of the French but over the last decade there has been a huge explosion in the number of people getting on their bikes in this country and it has now become a British institution. Inspired by GB’s tremendous success in the Olympics and Tour de France over the last decade, cycling is enjoying an extraordinary surge of interest. It is not only a relatively cheap and excellent form of exercise but an ideal way of getting some fresh air and enjoying the wonderful British countryside.
Although the sight of middle aged, overweight men kitted out in lycra wobbling along our country lanes (I include myself amongst this group!) provokes a certain amount of sniggering, cycling actually appeals to all sectors of society irrespective of age, gender and indeed, ability. Whether a solitary peddle, family expedition or mass participation organised event, there is no doubt that it is now one of the UK’s most accessible and popular pastimes.
Anyone looking to buy or rent a country or village property in Wiltshire, Dorset, Hampshire and Somerset will find miles of well signed and varied routes along country lanes or off road tracks. Cycling in the area offers a wide choice of easy, intermediate and challenging rides suitable for both the road and mountain bike enthusiast. Route maps of many of these trails can be found on the internet and links to just some of these can be found below.
Whilst many are happy to peddle around the locality on their own or with friends and family, there several cycling groups in the area; some are local clubs and associations whilst others operate at a national level. Most of these arrange group outings, some of which are for just small numbers of riders whilst others can include several hundred. For example ukcyclingevents.co.uk sponsored by Wiggle hosts well organised events with maps, feeding stations, stewards and mechanical back up. In spring 2015 this included the Wiltshire Wildcat which covered the Nadder and Chalke Valleys and Cranborne Chase whilst the autumn’s New Forest 100 Sportive took in the New Forest and the countryside around Salisbury and the Hampshire/Dorset border.
1. Stourhead – Mere/Stourhead Loop via Zeals: http://www.discovernadder.org.uk/uploads/docs/Cycle%20Trail%2010.pdf
2. Wiltshire Cycle Way – Mere to Broad Chalke via East Knoyle & Donhead St Mary:
3. Nadder Valley – Hindon & The Great Estates Loop: http://www.discovernadder.org.uk/uploads/docs/Nadder%20Valley%20Cycle%20Trail%205.pdf
4. Nadder Valley – Tisbury/Semley Loop:
5. The Wylye Valley – Warminster to Salisbury via Wyle:
6. Lower Wylye Valley – Wilton/Wylye Loop: http://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk/dbimgs/Cycle%205.pdf
7. The Woodford Valley – Salisbury/Amesbury Loop via The Woodfords:
8. Cranborne Chase – Sixpenny Handley/Farnham Loop:
9. North Dorset – Gillingham/Buckhorn Weston Loop:
10. New Forest 100 Sportive – New Forest/Cranborne Chase/Ringwood Forest/East of Salisbury: