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Grand West of England Self-Guided

Grand West of England Self-Guided

Flag great britain Great Britain

  • Region Region West of England
  • Tour Type Tour Type Self Guided (Open Departure)
  • Duration Duration 14 days
  • Bike Type Bike Types Road, Hybrid, Touring & e-bike

Core Route

435 Miles
2 (Moderate) Difficulty Level: 2 (Moderate)
Average Distance per Day: 33 mi
0 70 mi
Average Elevation Gain per Day: 508 mi
0 800 mi

Extended Route

560 Miles
2 (Moderate) Difficulty Level: 2 (Moderate)
Average Distance per Day: 43 mi
0 70 mi
Average Elevation Gain per Day: 608 mi
0 800 mi
April - October from
£1365
Next Steps

Summary

This itinerary links the Wessex tour seamlessly with the Cotswolds tour to produce a superb 14 night comprehensive West of England itinerary. The tour takes in some of the best cycle routes in the West of England. You will explore Kennet and Avon Canal, The Deverills, the Wylye Valley, Salisbury Plain, the Vale of Pewsey, the Marlborough Downs and the Cotswolds.

Starting out from the historic city of Bath you head west along the River Avon, through the town of Saltford, passing onto Pensford and then Chew Magna, alongside the lovely Chew Resevoir. You then climb up through the Mendips to wells for a two night stay. You have a great clockwise loop from Wells that concentrates firstly on Glastonbury, then the Somerset Levels, the Avalon Marshes and finally the possibility to visit Cheddar Gorge.

From Wells you head via the Longleat Estate and into the village of Heytesbury. From here you ride through the beautiful valley of the River Wylye, complete with picture postcard villages, before arriving in the historic Salisbury. There are various great loop options available here, but you may want to take time to visit Salisbury Cathedral or nearby Stonehenge.

From Salisbury you head toward Amesbury, where you can stop for a bite to eat. You then ride north, continuing to follow the River Avon through a series of villages to Upavon, where you bear west, bypassing Pewsey and following a series of quiet country lanes to Devizes, for another two night stopover. Again, there are several loop options available from here, with varying difficulty. Potential stops can include the ancient site of Avebury, Marlborough and the Kennet and Avon Canals.

From Devizes you head on to the village of Tetbury, and then on toward Bourton-on-the-water. Riding just to the north of the village of Northleach you visit the hamlets of Compton Abdale, Hazleton, Turkdean and Farmington before reaching your destination of Bourton-on-the-Water – the Cotswold’s very own Little Venice. You then have a choice of loop ride from here, with plenty of points of interest to squeeze in.

After leaving Bourton-on-the-Water behind you climb to Great Rissington, then east to historic Burford following the northern bank of the River Windrush. There is then a gentle descent into Cirencester, for your final two night stay. From here you head back toward Bath for the final night of a memorable holiday. You can choose between the road route into Bath or to cross over the toll bridge and pick up the Kennet and Avon canal cycle path into the city.

Highlights

  • Exploring the wonderful Georgian city of Bath

  • The Kennet and Avon Canal

  • Longleat Estate

  • Stourhead House

  • Salisbury Cathedral

  • Stonehenge

  • Prehistoric Avebury

  • The many charming towns and villages of the Cotswolds

  • The valley of the River Coln

  • Malmesbury Abbey

What's included

  • 14 nights accommodation with breakfast

  • Pre-trip planner

  • All routing, maps, cue sheets and gpx tracks

  • Emergency telephone support

  • Meet, greet and bike fitting

  • Regional Handbook

Extras

  • Bike rental

  • Luggage Transfers

  • Evening meals

Costs

  • Core Tour Cost
    £1365

  • Luggage Transfers
    £495 (for two people)

  • Hybrid bicycle rental
    £255

  • Road bicycle rental
    £395

  • Single Supplement
    £495

Day 1

After arriving in Bath and checking into your accommodation, you can go and collect your rental bicycle, explore the town and/or go for a short warm up ride to check out the bike and equipment.

2

Bath to Wells 32ml / +614m (L) Leaving Bath you are following the Bath – Bristol Rail Trail west along the River Avon as far as the village of Saltford. Here you turn south on minor country roads and lanes, passing through Pensford on the way to the quaint village of Chew Magna which boasts a couple of great coffee shops. You can view the many species of birds that make Chew Reservoir their home as you pedal alongside the lake. At the southern end of the lake you are faced with a stiff climb (thankfully short) up onto the Mendips Plateau, from where there is a steep drop down into the city of Wells, passing the entrance to Wookey Hole Caves on the way.

Bath Wells elv

3

Wells Loop 33ml / +411m (L, S) The ride is a clockwise loop to the west of Wells. Leaving the city you pedal first to ancient Glastonbury to visit Glastonbury Tor and Glasbonbury Abbey. From the town you ride out into the Somerset Levels -– a sprawling flatness of meres and reed beds, old peat workings and cattle pasture locked in a framework of sword-straight dykes (known locally as rhynes and pronounced “reens”). The Avalon Marshes is one of the UK’s most significant and important wetland environments. On arrival in the village of Wedmore, you can choose between an easy, flat ride back to Wells – or to continue north to the village of Cheddar for an ascent of the spectacular Cheddar Gorge before dropping back into Wells from the north.

Wells Loop elv

4

Wells to Heytesbury 37ml / +799m (L, S) Riding east from Wells you will pass the site of the world famous Glastonbury Festival in the village of Pilton before continuing to Batcombe. Turning south there is a stiff climb to Alfred’s Tower before descending to visit the Stourhead Estate. Turning north you ride through Maiden Bradley to Horningsham and through Longleat Estate, where you can opt for a tour of Longleat House. Leaving the estate you continue through the villages of Crockerton, Sutton Veny and Tytherington to finish in Heytesbury.

Wells Heytesbury Elv

5

Heytesbury to Salisbury 19ml / +166m (L) Backtracking from Longbridge Deverill, you ride through Longleat Estate, stopping to visit the magnificent Longleat House if you wish. Leaving Longleat you skirt around the southern outskirts of Warminster to meet the valley of the River Wylye at Tytherington. The ride down the beautiful valley takes you through a series of picture postcard villages that line the river – thatched cottages, ancient coaching inns and medieval churches are everywhere. Arriving at Wilton, you may choose to visit Wilton House before heading for Salisbury with its magnificent Cathedral and its ancient market place.

Haytesbury to Salisbury elv

6

Salisbury Loop 34ml / +523m (L, S) The loop is a ride to the west of Salisbury visiting Old Wardour Castle and the villages of Tisbury, Donhead St Andrew, Barwick St John and Bishopstone. You may also want to use the day for a visit to Stonehenge (there are buses to Stonehenge from Salisbury with the entrance fee included in the ticket) and / or Salisbury Cathrdral.

Salisbury Loop elv

7

Salisbury to Devizes 36ml / +425m (S) Leaving Salisbury to the north, you can take a short detour to Old Sarum before continuing along the valley of the River Avon to Amesbury, close to Stonehenge.There is the option of an out-and-back ride from Amesbury to Stonehenge on backroads (mostly) with a short off-road section. On arrival at the visitor centre you will lock your bikes and make your way to Stonehenge on foot or by the shuttle bus. (Note that it will be wise to book in advance if you plan to visit the monument). You then return to Amesbury by retracing your outward route. From Amesbury you ride north, continuing to follow the River Avon through a series of villages to Upavon, where you bear west, bypassing Pewsey and following a series of quiet country lanes to Devizes.

Salisbury Devizes elv

8

Devizes Loop 38ml / +498m (L, S) For most, the main focus of interest on today’s ride is the ancient site of Avebury, to the northeast of Devizes. You leave Devizes by backtracking on the previous day’s ride into Devizes as far as the village of Beechingstoke, before turing east to ancient Pewsey (look for the statue of King Alfred). Turning north you ride to historic Marlborough (look for the Marlborough White Horse above the town, Marlborough School, alma mater of the Duchess of Cambridge, and the wide expanse of the Market Place.Riding west from Marlborough you climb, drop and then cross the main A4 to the village of Avebury, where you can wander amongst the stone circles and visit the Alexander Keiller Museum to learn about the excavation of this remarkable site.Leaving Avebury, you return to Devizes passing by the Alton Barnes White Horse (watch for hang gliders) and following the path of the Kennet and Avon Canal.

Devizes Loop elv

9

Devizes to Tetbury 34ml / +313m (L) You leave Devizes following the Kennet and Avon Canal west to the Caen Hiil flight of locks. The 29 locks have an impressive rise of 237 feet in 2 miles. Continuing west you reach the canal side village of Semington where you turn north through bustling Melksham and continue to the village of Lacock to visit Lacock Abbey and the Fox Talbot Museum (Fox Talbot is credited as being the father of photography). Continue north through picture postcard Biddestone to Sherston. From Sherston there is an out-and-back leg to ancient Malmesbury and its famous Abbey Gardens before heading continuing to Tetbury.

Devizes Tetbury elv

10

Tetbury to Bourton-on-the-Water 37ml / +824m Although not a particularly long ride, this has quite a lot of up and down work! Although there are no major en route sites of interest as such, the Cotswolds countryside is verybeautiful and makes for very enjoyable riding.Leaving Tetbury to the north you pass historic Chavenage House – check for opening times. You ride through the villages of Sapperton and WInstone en route to Withington – possibly the best lunch option on the route. Riding just to the north of the village of Northleach you visit the hamlets of Compton Abdale, Hazleton, Turkdean and Farmington before reaching your destination of Bourtonon-the-Water – the Cotswold’s very own Little Venice.

Tertbury Bourton

11

Bourton Loop 35ml / +655m (L, S) This loop ride is packed with sites of interest and you will probably have difficulty deciding at which ones you want to spend a bit of time. As you make your way around the loop, the attractions in order are The Slaughters (very attractive Cotswolds twin villages), Stow-onthe-Wold (ancient sheep market town and antiques centre), Moreton-inn-Marsh, Batsford Arboretum and Falconry Centre, Chipping Campden, Broadway Tower, Snowshill Manor, Broadway, Temple Guiting and the Cotswold Farm Park and Rare Breeds Centre.

Bourton Loop elv

12

Bourton to Cirencester 35ml / +542m (L, S) Leaving Bourton you climb to Great Rissington and then turn south to Great Barrington. Here you ride east to historic Burford following the northern bank of the River Windrush. After visiting the town, you follow the southern bank of the river west to Little Barrington and continue to Sherborne and Northleach – a good spot for lunch. After leaving Northleach there is bit of a roller coaster ride to Yanworth Roman Villa. A last climb is followed by a long and gentle descent to Cirencester.

Bourton Cirencester Loop

13

Cirencester Loop 26ml / +388m (L) The loop to the east of Cirencester explores the River Coln Valley and its villages. You will ride through the beautiful villages of Barnsley and Coln Rogers to Bibury, where you can stop to admire the much- photographed Arlington Row. Continuing east you rach the Cotswold Wildlife Park at the far end of the ride before turning back west through Quenington and along the Roman Road back to Cirencester.

Cirencester Loop Elv

14

Cirencester to Bath 38ml / +444m Riding south from Cirencester you pass through Siddington and Ewen to Kemble, close to the source of the River Thames. Continuing south you come to the picturesque chocolate box village of Castle Combe, made famous as the location for the original Doctor Doolittle film (with Rex Harrison). Leaving the village, you have a final short climb before turning south on a long welcome downhill to Bathampton. You can choose between the road route into Bath or to cross over the toll bridge and pick up the Kennet and Avon canal towpath into the city.

Cirencester Bath elv

Route Map

Essentials

Accommodation

The standard accommodations for this region's self-guided itineraries are guesthouses and bed and breakfasts (B&Bs). Generally, these have between 4 and 10 guest rooms and the owners/providers live on the premises. In almost all cases the bathroom facilities are ensuite (self-contained within the room), and the room facilities usually include a television and tea/coffee making facilities. There is a communal reading / television lounge. Small family run hotels are also used in a few locations. The providers are excellent sources of local information.

Breakfast is always included. Most guesthouses do not offer an evening meal.

When you book a tour, your pre-trip planner will have more details about the specific facilities and services provided by the accommodations.

Examples of our guesthouses in this region include;

Getting there-

The most convenient international airports are Bristol Airport and London’s Heathrow Airport. Gatwick Airport is a bit further away and less convenient than Heathrow, but still doable.

From Bristol Airport the Bristol International Flyer is a regular shuttle bus that stops at Bristol Temple Meads Railway Station and terminates at Bristol Bus Station, with a journey time of around 25 minutes.

From Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western operates regular trains to Bath Spa – journey time around 15 minutes.

From Bristol Bus Station Firstgroup run regular buses to Bath Spa Bus Station – journey time around 45 minutes.

It is also possible to take a taxi from Bristol Airport directly to Bath – the journey takes around 40 minutes and costs about 40 pounds.

From London Heathrow Airport, National Express runs a direct bus service to Bath Spa Station.

Alternatively Railair operates a regular bus shuttle from Heathrow to Reading Station from where you can take a First Great Western train to Bath Spa.

Otherwise from Heathrow take the Heathrow Express to London Paddington Station (15 mins) and take a First Great Western train from Paddington to Bath Spa.

From Gatwick Airport, take the Gatwick Express to London Victoria Station (30 mins). Then either take a National Express bus from Victoria Coach Station (5 mins walk from Victoria Rail Station) to Bath, or take a London Bus or the Underground to Paddington Station and take a First Great Western train to Bath.

On arrival in Bath, it is easiest to take a taxi to your accommodation.

The UK is well known for the variability of its weather – from day to day, season to season, year to year and place to place. Its position in the mid-latitude westerly wind belt on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean with its relatively warm waters, yet close to the continental influences of mainland Europe, plays a major role in this. Changes in topography and land use over relatively short distances, together with a long coastline and numerous islands, all add to the variety of weather. In general, places in the east and south of the UK tend to be drier, warmer, sunnier and less windy than those further west and north. Also, these favourable weather conditions usually occur more often in the spring and summer than in autumn and winter.

England weather is very changeable and unpredictable, but generally summers are warm and winters are cold, and temperatures are milder than those on the continent. Temperatures do not usually drop below 32°F (0°C) in winter, and in summer they hardly reach 90°F (32°C). July and August are the warmest months, while January and February is the coldest time of year. Rainfall is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year, but late winter/early spring (February to March) is the driest period.

Fixed Costs

£1365 per person sharing, to include;

  • 14 nights' accommodation with breakfast
  • Pre-Trip Information Booklet and Planner
  • On call telephone support
  • All mapping, routes and cue sheets with gpx tracks
  • Meet, greet and bike fitting

Optional costs

Luggage Transfers

  • Luggage transfer charges are calculated as follows:

    The standard charge is based on one or two riders. A couple would therefore share the luggage transfer costs. There is then a small additional fee for the third and each additional person.
    For example:

    1. Total cost for one or two riders = 495 (247.50 per person based on two people sharing)
    2. Total cost for three riders = 495 + 30= 525 (175 per person)
    3. Total cost for four riders = 495 + 30 + 30 = 555 (139 per person)

Note that the more riders in the group, the less expensive are the luggage transfers per rider

Bicycle Rental

Trek 7.3 FX hybrid

Bike Code : TKH

Standard rental bicycle.

  • 5 frame sizes
  • FX Alpha Gold Aluminium
  • FX Alloy fork
  • 27 speed

Bring your own saddle and/or pedals if you wish and we will fit them to the bike. (You must be able to remove them yourself at the end of your trip).

Trek 7.3 FX hybrid
Fitted withRear rack; platform pedals, bottle cage, fenders (mudguards)
Equipment providedhandlebar bag; map case; spare tube; puncture repair kit; lock; mini pump; multitool
On requestpanniers, helmet, gel saddle cover; SPD pedals; odometer; cages and straps
Not fitted/suppliedlights; water bottle

Click here to view Technical information about this bike »

Trek 7.3 FX hybrid – step through frame

Bike Code : TKW

Standard rental bicycle.

  • 3 frame sizes;
  • Alpha Silver Aluminium
  • 27 speed

Bring your own saddle and/or pedals if you wish and we will fit them to the bike. (You must be able to remove them yourself at the end of your trip).

Trek 7.3 FX hybrid – step through frame
Fitted withRear rack; platform pedals, bottle cage, fenders (mudguards)
Equipment providedhandlebar bag; map case; spare tube; puncture repair kit; lock; mini pump; multitool
On requestpanniers, helmet, gel saddle cover; SPD pedals; odometer; cages and straps
Not fitted/suppliedlights; water bottle

Click here to view Technical information about this bike »

Core Tour Cost £1365
Luggage Transfers £495 (for two people)
Hybrid Bike Rental £255
Road Bike Rental £395
Single Supplement £475

Photos

Next Steps

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