Off-road adventure cycling route opens in UK

Posted by Imogen Searra on 9 November 2020

If cycling is your sport of choice, then the King Alfred’s Way trail should be added to your to-do list. The route traverses through the glorious English countryside as well as through UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Katherine Moore, Sophie Gordon and Sam Jones push their bikes up an unrideable section of the Thames Path, July 10, 2020. The Thames Path is one of the four national trails King Alfred’s Way links up. Picture: P©annier.cc / David Sear

The 350km off-road route starts and ends in Winchester, where King Alfred is buried. It continues through Wessex, the Anglo-Saxon kingdom where Alfred the Great once reigned.

Stonehenge, Avebury stone circle, Iron Age hill forts, Farnham Castle, and Winchester and Salisbury Cathedrals are some of the highlights along the historical path.

The route was created by the charity Cycling UK. It took three years to upgrade the route according to Lonely Planet.

Three cyclists take a breather as they slog up to the top of Barbury Castle on the Ridgeway, July 09, 2020. Five people took part in the inaugural ride of King Alfred’s Way over four days starting in Farnham, Surrey on July 7. Picture: Sam Jones

‘Despite being easily accessible from cities in the south of England, you’ll feel like you’ve escaped from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Think white horses on chalk hillsides and wide-open views across rolling waves of countryside.

‘The name of the trail is inspired by Alfred the Great, who ruled the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex. The trail starts and ends at King Alfred’s statue in Winchester, where he is buried.

‘Using parts of the Ridgeway and South Downs Way, the trail is ideal for gravel bikes and can be ridden over a few days as a bikepacking trip. It also connects with the Thames Path and the North Downs Way riders’ route, so you can combine multiple routes into a longer escape.

‘King Alfred’s Way forms a crucial part of Cycling UK’s goal to create a network of long-distance off-road routes across the length and breadth of Great Britain, through fascinating places and inspiring landscapes,’ says the official website.

Sophie Gordon, Cycling UK’s campaigns officer behind the creation of King Alfred’s Way, said:

’73 years ago, legislation was passed which led to the creation of our national parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and long-distance trails,’ said Sophie Gordon, referring to the Countryside Act 1947.

Alex Cuppleditch and Tom Ellis walk around Avebury stone circle and henge, pausing for a while as they ride a section of King Alfred’s Way. The route passes by two Neolithic stone circles – Avebury and Stonehenge. Picture: Robert Spanring/Cycling UK

‘It’s a godsend for walkers, but for ramblers with bikes not a lot has been done since then in terms of improving access for cycling.

‘With King Alfred’s Way we want to show what is possible if we fill those missing links between our national trails and start making the countryside accessible for everyone – walkers, horse riders and cyclists.’

To get a feel for the route, watch below.

For more information on King Alfred’s Way, visit: www.cyclinguk.org/kingalfredsway

 

 

 






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