Ride report: Novice friendly Marlborough Downs Jan 2012

Silhouette of a mountain bike rider.

By Anthony La Porte

Bright sunshine made for a pleasant start to the morning for thirteen of us as we set out on NCR 45 through the Park towards the Downs.

I had been a bit worried that the curly wurly bridge across the M4
would be closed meaning we’d have to head out through Hodson. However, when I checked a couple of nights beforehand it looked as though the works there were in the process of being packed up so up we went.

Our route then continued along the NCR through Chiseldon village and out to the old railway line towards Marlborough. After a brief break at the kennels to regroup and have a bit of a warm in the sun we turned off down the bridleway and took the back road towards
Ogbourne St. George. The lead to the ridgeway at the bottom end of Smeathe’s Ridge.

Instead of climbing up the ridgeway towards Barbury Castle we forked right at the gate down along the bridleway. In dry conditions this is quite a pleasant series of ups and downs. However the recent rain had left the bridleway very sticky to say the least. There were a fair few stops to investigate the therapeutic benefit of removing chunks of mud with a stick.

After a short paddle through the ruts we split off on to a bit of the Swindon Millennium trail towards Barbury Shooting School and the
bridleway to return to hard surfaces on the Old Ridgeway back to Chiseldon (where we bumped into Andrew on his more ambitious ride).

We retraced our path back down to Coate Water and a well earned cuppa.

Thanks to all who came along and I hope you enjoyed it, this is a route I usually do on my own when I can only get out for an hour and a half or have the trailer bike in tow so it was good to have some company for a change.

Riders on the ridgeway near Coate Water.
Scenic view on the Marlborough Downs.
Riding through a puddle near Coate Water.

Route map: OS | GPX.

More novice friendly rides on our events calendar.

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