Tag Archives: Barbury Castle

Tracks and Trails and Woods and Hills

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.

Ride Report: Ladies BMB Ride

Words & Photos – Kate Davidson

This stunning summer weather has made riding a pleasure – long hours of daylight make it perfect for exploring, no dirty bikes to hose off, and no muddy clothes to chuck in the washing machine. Places that in winter were an icy, slippery quagmire, or a gale-lashed hill, are magically transformed in the summer months into a picturesque rural idyll.

Arriving at Barbury Castle early on Saturday the car park was almost full, with mums dropping off nervous-looking kids about to set out on a team-building mission. I bumped into Michael Duller, who was out on the road bike, and we chatted about the amazing Land’s End – John O’Groats ride that he, Graham and Gary from MB Swindon had recently completed. 

Debbie was the first of my ladies to arrive, followed by a welcome new (old) face in the form of Fiona, an MB Swindon member of old, proudly showing off Celeste, her new Giant full-sus. Trudy, Amanda, Sarah and Caroline soon followed, and off we headed down to Smeathe’s Ridge.

The long, grassy run and far-reaching views from here never fail to lift the spirits, and we bounced our way happily to the gate at the end, Fiona using all her cattle-wrangling skills to move a herd of young cows out of the way. We followed the Ridgeway through Ogbourne and across the main road, picked up the old railway path and headed to Marlborough.

Stopping off at Mercer’s café for food and drink, we sat in the sun and ate vast slices of cake – it’s one of the better café stops, and always reliably good. 

After refuelling, we made our way down the High Street, up Hyde Lane and past Marlborough Common, turning off to ride along Manton Down and on down the track to Rockley. There’s a nice little bit of single track, with some small jumps and drop-offs, in Rockley woods, and some of the girls had a bit of a play here – some light relief before everyone’s favourite (!) climb up Four Mile Clump  back to Barbury Castle.

There’s nothing for it here but to settle in and ‘love the hill’ and enjoy more of those gorgeous views. The temperature by now was well up in the high 20s, and there were some sweaty brows by the time we arrived back at the car park! 

We did a leisurely 16 miles – thanks to the lovely ladies who attended. See you next time!

Ladies B-M-B Ride

Kate Davidson leads this novice-friendly ladies’ ride. Starting at Barbury Castle car park, we’ll make our way onto the Ridgeway and head down the lovely grassy run of Smeathe’s Ridge into Ogbourne St George, where we’ll cross the road and head up from the Ridgeway towards the Swindon to Marlborough cycle path.

From there, we’ll ride into Marlborough, stopping for a cuppa and cake, then we’ll head along Marborough High Street up to the common, turning off shortly after onto Manton Down towards Rockley. Heading down through the woods into Rockley, where there is a mild downhill trail through the woods, which can be ridden at your own pace.

We’ll work off that cake on the short(ish!), steep climb back up to Barbury Castle car park! However, the pace throughout will be steady and no-one will be left behind.)

There is a café stop halfway around, but bring anything you feel you may need such as water, snacks, weatherproof coat, spare tubes etc.

Meet at Barbury Castle Car Park ready for a 10am start.


Ladies Barbury Ride – 11th November 2017 – Ride Report

Driving along the A419 through heavy rain, I wasn’t hopeful of anyone being at Barbury;  However Debbie and Sue were already there ready to go.  At this point it was just drizzle but by 10am, the heavy rain I had driven through had reached us.

We cycled across Barbury Castle and soon realised it was going to be pretty muddy out (completely different to 6 days before when I had recced the ride).  By the time we had reached the old railway line, the rain had eased and by about 10.30 it had stopped completely.

We headed up the radio mast climb, stopping at 11 to observe the 2 minutes silence.  It was quite poignant as the guns from the local shoots stopped as well and the sound of bird song filled the air.

We carried on along the old Ridgeway, where it soon became apparent that Sue would be puddle depth scout, and then back down towards the old railway line where we stopped for snacks.

Then it was the final climbs back up to Barbury through mud, long grass and puddles (although there were some puddles even Sue wouldn’t cycle through) and to homemade cakes from Debbie.

Despite the horrible weather at the start of the ride, and the fact we were all plastered in mud at the end, it was a really enjoyable ride out.

Xmas 2016 Recovery Ride

The Xmas Recovery Ride has become an MB Swindon tradition, and Tom Scott will be leading this year’s ride, starting at Barbury Castle.

Burn off those sweeties, shed a few pounds and forget about the invading/visiting in-laws for a few hours in good company on the downs.

The route will be calculated using the formula m = n x p / q squared where m = miles, n = number of people who turn up, p = puddings consumed over the festive period and q = quality street sweets produced for the ride leader.

Fawkes a Lot!

‘Fawkes a lot!’ is two rides in one. The 16 mile, Novice Friendly loop, will cover parts of the Ridgeway and other bridleways and byways in the area. It’s nearly all gravel, but there will be a few unsurfaced parts to ride. A few climbs but nothing too taxing.

If you fancy covering more miles then there is the option of meeting Phil Allum to start the ride from Coate Water Country Park instead which will add another 12 or so miles onto the ride total. We will be leaving Coate Water at 9am sharp,  and taking a brisk ride to Barbury to pick up the others before heading out across the downs.

Please bring drinks/snacks as there will not be any shops or cafes on this ride.

Hope to see you there!


Longer Ride:

Meeting point: Coate Water Country Park

Time: 08:45 to ride at 09:00

Total distance: 28 miles


Shorter Novice Friendly Ride:

Meeting point: Barbury Castle car park

Time: 09:45 to ride at 10:00

Distance: 16 miles



All ‘What goes up must come down’ ride

Sarah Bailey will lead this novice friendly, ride which sets off from Barbury Castle (try to arrive by 9.45 for a 10.00am start).

The ride will take in a range of surfaces, including natural trails (which will be muddy if it’s wet), very small amount of road, and one very short section of trail with roots, gullies and large stones. There will be about 950 ft of climbing in total, with one notable climb (or push!).

There is no cafe stop planned on this route so please bring food and drink to take with you .

The nature of this ride means a mountain bike with proper mountain bike tyres is needed . This is not suitable for a hybrid bike.

50 Shades of Wiltshire

Phil Allum will be leading this Spring ride around North Wiltshire, taking in as much of our glorious countryside as possible. We will be heading towards Aldbourne and using bridleways and byways that we very seldom use. This is a great area for biking and the views around are awesome.

As we will be local, we’ll start at the earlier time of 9am from Barbury Castle (Meet at 8.45). This is a good old fashioned cross country ride; there will be roots and ruts and everything else you expect to find out in the countryside.

This is a longer than usual ride, so please make sure you are happy to do the distance and your bike is up to the challenge. Note that over the 50km route, we’ll climb around 1000m!

Please bring at least a spare tube and anything else you feel you may need – water and food will be essential! We are trying to plan a stop at a shop but this is unconfirmed at this time. This will be updated closer to the date.

Hope to see you there!

First off-road evening ride of 2016

Over the last few years, the club has run regular midweek rides over the winter, known as the Urban Round. Last year, we managed to keep the Wednesday night routine going throughout the year, moving from tarmac loops of the town to off-road Ridgeway rides.

We’re hoping to do the same again this year, starting with Tom Scott’s loop of the Marlborough Downs area. The ride will be  restricted to 2 hours as the gate is locked at 9pm.