Cirencester Gravel

An off-road loop to Cirencester returning without seeing a single car.

The day started with no specific route, just an idea to ride to Cirencester and back taking in as much off-road as possible, a car free route.

Once off the A40 and up Dowdeswell we headed out on the stunning track up on to Foxcote Hill. From here you can reach Chedworth on a mix of woodland tracks, fields and short section of road leading to the old airfield.

The North Cerney Downs took us across to the White Way and into Cirencester for a lunch break.

Heading back out we were soon off-road in Stratton over to the polo fields of Cirencester Park. After weeks without much rain the tracks are dry and dusty, as good as previous Summers but without the encroachment of nettles and brambles.

Next is Daglingworth and up a tough rocky ascent which leads to a track under the A417 and past the quarry.

From here you head past Dartley Farm on a smooth double-track, part of the Macmillan Way to Woodmancote passing through a beautiful valley.

After skirting Shewel Wood, you join a Restricted Byway that climbs up to the ridge overlooking the valley where the young Thames (River Churn) flows. A rough descent takes you down to the river and over the A435.

Climbing again the Restricted Byway continues on one of the most picturesque tracks near Cheltenham. It's a dramatic landscape with far reaching views, as if you're in the middle of nowhere. The clear blue skies further enhancing this.

Once in Upper Coberly we picked up the bridleway to Wistley Hill. It includes a section of field which can be ploughed but is usually packed down from walkers and cyclists.

Finally you cross the A436, pass through a narrow wood and are rewarded with far reaching views over the Severn Valley. The last descent takes you down Timbercombe Wood and back home.