The quintessential English countryside will work its charms on you.
While there is little in the way of technical terrain in Wiltshire, the quintessential English countryside will work its charms on you. On a warm summer’s day under deep blue skies, this historic area will provide an enchanting way to discover both Britain’s heritage and a lazy landscape of open downland and agricultural ground.
Wiltshire may be a little short of mountains, but it certainly isn’t lacking in trails, with a huge network of ancient roads, tracks and bridleways stretched out across the length and breadth of the county. There are a few pockets of good riding but the most concentrated area has to be the rolling chalk hills of the Marlborough Downs, where the southern end of the Ridgeway, one of the country’s best-known and best-loved ancient roads, can be linked with a spider’s web of other tracks and trails to make a superb, undulating tour beneath big, open skies.
This route explores the western side of the Downs, following long stretches of the Ridgeway — these days boasting a shiny, new gravel surface in many places — as well as a few other excellent ridge-top bridleways. It’s a tour rather than a sprint, with most of the height gained or lost in gradual, easy-angled climbs and long, drawn out descents. And with the exception of a few deep ruts, there’s little to think about technically, so average speeds will probably tick along a couple of notches higher than the norm. Don’t be tempted to push too hard in the early stages though, it’s a long way round. And with the biggest and toughest climbs towards the end, it would certainly be easy to peak too soon.