89. Cycling in the Cotswolds
Britain’s largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty offers a fantastic opportunity for cycling.
Routes range from the gentler slopes of the south Cotswolds to the sharper escarpments of the north, giving every level of cyclist a chance to enjoy the extensive network of tracks and lanes.
An extensive network of country lanes link well-known Cotswold villages and market towns and there is a tremendous choice of routes with an ever-changing view.
There are plenty of facilities with pretty village pubs and tearooms and a wide range of cycle routes to suit all ages and abilities.
Miles of bridleways and byways also offer plenty of scope for off-road rides.
Cotswold Cycling RoutesSix pocket foldaway cycle maps (produced by Cotswold District Council, the Gloucestershire Rural Transport Partnership & the Department for Transport) are available to download at www.cotswold.gov.uk/visitors/things-to-do/cycling/
The routes vary in difficulty and also include details of attractions and refreshments. They are as follows:
Route 1: Chipping Campden to Moreton-in-Marsh
A varied and interesting 30-mile circular ride.
Route 2: Winchcombe, Guiting Power (Turkdean and Hazleton) and Brockhampton
A hilly route that takes in varied scenery, with the option of visiting Winchcombe, Sudeley Castle, Belas Knap and several unspoilt Cotswold villages.
Route 3: Lower Swell, Notgrove, Turkdean, Sherborne, Windrush and Great Rissington
A varied route that could be done as two separate rides, either starting at the popular tourist destination of Bourton-on-the-Water or at nearby Lower Slaughter.
Route 4: Cirencester, Fairford and Northleach
This route offers a chance to experience the stunning Cotswold villages known locally as the ‘String of Pearls’. It is a very attractive route and is relatively easy for the less experienced cyclist, with only a few short stretches of hills.
Route 5: Duntisbournes, Frampton Mansell, Kemble, Cotswold Water Park, Cirencester
Lovely quiet and very gentle route around Cirencester, taking in the Cotswold Water Park, Kemble, and a number of attractive villages.
Route 6: South-west Cotswolds, Tetbury, Sherston, Malmesbury and Kemble
This 35-mile ride is geared more towards the more experienced cyclists given the distances involved.
In addition to the Cotswold Cycling Routes, some of the National Cycle Network takes in parts of the Cotswolds.
The new Cotswold Line Cycle Route also passes through some of Britain's finest cycling country. Devised by local cyclists, it follows the Cotswold Line railway, so you can simply cycle as far as you like - then get the train home. It runs from Oxford to Worcester, via picturesque Cotswold towns such as Chipping Campden and Moreton-in-Marsh.
Cycling holidays in the Cotswolds are a popular way for enthusiasts to enjoy this beautiful part of the world. Among the providers of cycling holidays in the Cotswolds are Cotswold Country Cycles (01386 438706), Cotswold Journeys (01242 237775), Go-By-Cycle (07970 419208), Windrush Cycle Tours (01608 659378) and The Carter Company (01296 631671).