Tour Des Cotswolds

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Classic Cotswolds CyclingFrom the point of view of a cyclist, the Cotswolds has a lot to offer. After all, it is a pretty large area and for those who want to see as much as possible but prefer to do without a car, the bicycle is the way to go. Still, we had better get one thing straight from the outset – the Cotswolds are not flat. Gentle hills they may be, but you have still to climb them, perhaps several in a day. They do not present a significant challenge for anyone that cycles regularly - although a day's riding will be profoundly satisfying – but anyone expecting dead easy cycling will have to plot their route with care. With planning, such a route is possible – that is one of the beauties of rolling countryside. Our existing classic route covers a wide swathe and most of the highlights of the northern Cotswolds, which is where most of the finest villages are located. Here, the stone is at its most golden, the colours of the landscape the hues of watercolour paintings, the breadth of panoramas evocative and grandiose. And the choice of accommodation excellent.

We usually start in Moreton-in-Marsh or Chipping Campden because Moreton has a railway station with direct links to London and Campden is just down the road. The destination of the day is Winchcombe but before that you pass Broadway Tower, one of those odd 18th century follies that has almost become the symbol of the Cotswolds; Snowshill with its uniquely fascinating museum; and the enchanting Cotswold villages of Stanway and Stanton. Winchcombe itself is worth exploring, not least because of its connection with the Tudor dynasty at Sudeley Castle.

The following days take you on a gradually more southern route towards the deepest Cotswolds - the thankfully unsung villages of Eastleach Martin and Eastleach Turville; Coln St. Aldwyns on the prettiest of rivers; and Bibury, famously called by William Morris ‘the most beautiful village in England’. Finally, you return to the Moreton area, passing through Adlestrop, celebrated in the timeless, yearning poem by Edward Thomas.

'And for that minute a blackbird sang Close by, and round him, mistier, Farther and farther, all the birds Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire'.

There is so much variety in this route - landscapes, villages, history, literature and the arts, rural life, good food and drink – it is a wonder to me that not more people choose to explore it on two wheels. We recommend it.

You may bring your own bicycles or we can hire them to you.

Click here to see our Classic Cotswolds cycling tour.

 

NewsKatharine Mabbett