It is the Summer Solstice and Wailun Chung is planning a ride out to Avebury to see the sun rise.
We will be leaving the Wichelstowe Co-op store car park at 2.00am (YES… 2.00am!) on Friday morning. The route is about 15 miles there. We will be there for an hour or so and will ride back the same route.
Please bring lights (if you haven’t got any Chung have a set you can use), a drink, a spare tube or repair kit , extra clothing and some cash.
Words: Steffan James Photos: Steffan James & Trudy Talbot
When I arrived at Barbury Castle, the car park was absolutely packed with parents dropping off teenagers doing their Duke of Edinburgh Awards. There were also about a dozen mountain bikers already there and, as I caught my breath after coming up the road climb, more kept appearing, until there were twenty of us by the time we set off.
After the descent from the far side of Barbury, we climbed the Ridgeway towards Hackpen. Turning off just before the road crossing, we took a steep, grassy descent and followed the bridleway all the way to the Barbury Inn, through Broad Hinton and along the bridleway towards Avebury.
About halfway along, we turned left and set off towards Windmill Hill, where the steep climb brought joy to everyone!
After a quick snack break and a group photo, it was time to take the long, dusty descent towards Avebury, and a short detour to the Adam and Eve stones (sorry everyone – the nettles weren’t a problem when I did my recce!)
From there we rolled in to Avebury and got into the cafe just before a very large group of motorcyclists out on a fundraising ride. A cup of tea, slice of cake and a toilet stop later, we were all ready to go again.
The next port of call was the impressive Silbury hill, before we crossed the main road and headed uphill towards the West Kennett Long Barrow. We spent a bit of time looking around the burial chamber and then set off once again, climbing and descending into East Kennett, then climbing again to the Sanctuary. As impressive as the name sounds, the monument is disappointing. Nothing remains of the original, the site now being marked out by coloured stones to give an idea of the original shape.
From there it was just a matter of following the long, steady climb of the Ridgeway back towards Barbury. We had one puncture on the return journey, and there were a few tired legs by the end, but everyone completed the ride in good shape.
Thanks to everyone who came along and made it such an enjoyable day out – it was great to have such a mix of regulars and new faces.
Steffan James leads this scenic ride around Avebury and its associated monuments on Saturday 18th May. Meet at Barbury Castle car park ready for a 10.00am start.
Although longer than the usual novice-friendly ride, this 22 mile route would make a good step up for those looking to ride a little further than usual, and could be considered a ‘novice-plus’ ride. We’ll ride at a relaxed pace, and as well as a coffee break at Avebury, there will short stops at the other landmarks we visit, too.
We’ll visit five landmarks, besides the main stone circle, then finish the day with the long slog up the Ridgeway back to Barbury Castle.
Bring drinks and snacks and a spare tube or repair kit.
Kate Davidson leads this 25 mile mixed ride. Starting at Barbury Castle, the ride will head along the Ridgeway to East Kennett and over to Alton Barnes, up Goldenball Hill and along the Pewsey Downs, and on towards West Woods. The return will be via Clatford Down, through Rockley and back up Four Mile Clump to Barbury.
We’ll be riding on byways, hills, downland, woods and the odd country road. Though not listed as novice-friendly, anyone happy to ride this distance, who can cope with hills and varied terrain, is welcome.
There is no planned café stop, but there is an option of riding down for a cuppa in Avebury before heading East Kennett-wards. In any case, the usual applies – bring anything you might need for your bike, warm clothing and waterproofs in case of rain and a bit of food to keep you going.
Captain Slow, Tom Scott, will be leading this steady social ride from Barbury down to Avebury and back, so hopefully the next few weeks will dry out the Ridgeway.
Given the recent weather, Tom predicts a 60% chance of getting muddy. The good news is that his ‘cake forecast’ is an unlikely 105%.
As well as being a social occasion, this would make a good ride for novice riders wanting to get to know some local trails. As always, to be as self sufficient as possible, please bring tools, spare tubes, food and drink. We will have regular ‘get your breath back’ stops as there are some hills involved… but hey, that’s mountain biking!
Hazel will be leading this Ladies-only novice friendly ride from the Devine café car park in Cherhill, on the A4. If driving from Beckhampton roundabout it will be on the left just after the Black Horse PH in Cherhill, if driving from Calne it will be on the right at the top of labour in vain hill (SN11 8UU).
There are no toilets available at the car park but we will be stopping at a café approximately half way around for some well-earned cake – yeah!
This will be a monumental ride that will not disappoint, taking in some to the best views in Wiltshire. We will head out to the old RAF Yatesbury base, skirt around Windmill hill to Avebury for a well-earned cake stop. Then we’ll head onwards and upwards to Cherhill monument and the White Horse, finishing with a fun, grassy descent back to the car park.
This is a novice friendly ride where we ride together and support each other, and ride at the pace of the slowest rider. There is nothing technical to ride and no ‘big’ hills, just a few lumps and bumps along the way. The ride is approximately 12 miles, so allowing for short breaks, mechanicals and the café stop, expect to be out for about 3 hours.
(Please note: this ride replaces the previously advertised ‘Hazel’s Henge Heart-Raiser’)