Buy the OS Route Map and instructions for this route

Don’t be fooled into thinking that the Cotswolds are an easy touch. The tops might not be that high — with a high point of just over 300 metres — and the valleys don’t cut huge scars into the limestone plateau like they do in the Dales for example. But if you commit to a 30-kilometre loop around here you’ll punish yourself with the same amount of huffing and puffing as you’d get on a typical Mid-Wales or Lakes route of the same distance.
This is a typically deceptive circuit that starts with some easy tarmac spinning and conveniently saves its biggest climb till the very end — when your legs are sure to have had enough. In-between it offers a fair bit of everything, including some typical Cotswold cruising, a few scintillating sections of singletrack, and even a few techie climbs and gnarly descents. Top drops come late, with the really steep and loose slope down Burcombe Lane, from Woodmancote, and more of the same to the infant river Frome near Miserden. But even these are quite friendly in comparison to the plummet from Lypiatt to Holy Brook, which is a real rocky horror show.
Sadly, they all have to be paid for, and after an easy outward leg, with little to really test your legs, the steep and stony climbs out of these three valleys come as a bit of a reality check. They’re unlikely to be cleaned: even if your lungs are up for it, it’s unlikely that your tyres will offer the traction needed. Enjoy…