10 history and culture rich cycle routes in the UK
The Vale of the White Horse
In a corner of Oxfordshire not many seem to know about, this route through the Vale of the White horse takes in some impressive history. The Uffington White Horse of the chalk downs is prehistoric, whereas the National Trust’s Great Barn at Great Coxwell takes you through to medieval times.
Poole Harbour ‘Enid Blyton’ loop
Fans of the Famous Five will know that Poole Harbour and its surroundings were the inspiration and setting for much of Enid Blyton’s most beloved works. Starting at Knoll House, this route around Poole Harbour up to Corfe Castle takes in so many places that Blyton worked into her stories under different names.
Stratford-upon-Avon to Welford-on-Avon
This route donated by the iconic Pashley Cycles begins with a ride through the town that gave us William Shakespeare, taking in his birthplace, the iconic Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the historic Holy Trinity Church. The ride continues for a total of 15 miles out to nearby Welford. Pubs and tea stops encouraged!
Stratford-upon-Avon easy loop
An easier alternative to the above, this shorter loop is just 11 miles but still takes in Shakespearean history with less of the strain.
Maidenhead to Windsor loop
Experience the best Windsor has to offer with this history-rich route in Berkshire, taking in the world-famous castle, views of the Long Walk, and whichever of Windsor’s plentiful pubs and restaurants you fancy. You can also head over the pedestrian bridge into Eton, where you may spot the school’s pupils in their traditional uniform.
Princetown to Burrator reservoir route
This off-road loop on Dartmoor is a favourite of Cycling UK Training Manager Matt Woodcock, who teaches various ways of surviving of in the wild on a bike. This route takes in Fox Tor Myre – the inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic Sherlock Holmes mystery, The Hound of the Baskervilles.
‘Sherlock Holmes’ ride in Surrey, West Sussex and East Sussex
Another one for Sherlock Holmes fans here: this ride through Surrey, West Sussex and East Sussex takes in the settings from numerous Holmes adventures. In starts in Farnham with a great one -the ‘Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist’.
This magical, family-friendly route crosses between England and Wales. It begins in the glorious Forest of Dean, and with stops at King Arthur’s Cave and the imposing Goodrich Castle with its Civil War-era cannons.
‘The Pedaller' Portmeirion to Coed y Brenin, North Wales
A ‘slightly surreal’ ride which originates in Portmeirion, a tourist village in North Wales designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975, who modelled it in the style of an Italian town. You may remember Portmeirion as the setting of the cult 1960s TV show ‘The Prisoner’!
The last line of defence
Take a dive into World War Two history with this route and understand how thing’s may have progressed had the British mainland been invaded. It follows the line created by the General Headquarters’ defensive ‘stop line’ of pillboxes through Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire. This route is still in development, headed up Cycling UK's off-road policy advisor, Kieran Foster.