Friday 15th May
Depart Plympton 0930 and meet 1100 at Cartgate Services on the A303 (approx.84 miles) Continue to Countess roundabout just past Stonehenge. I suggest that we park in the public car park at Amesbury and head into the pretty Avon Valley through the Woodfords where, at Stratford sub Castle, there is a choice of visiting Old Sarum (0.5 m) or * continuing into Salisbury where we could eat our sandwiches by the river and be free to enjoy the City (Cathedral Close, shops e.t.c.) The return ride back to the cars can be achieved largely on quiet lanes via Old Sarum, Winterbourne Gunner, across Boscombe Down to the A345 with just a short distance back to Amesbury. (20 miles)
*This could be discussed at coffee
Saturday 16th May
Once the Test Valley has been reached (approx 13 miles) at The NT property of Mottisfont Abbey there is a very gradual climb into the Berkshire Downs (another ANOB) with a short easy return leg through quiet lanes back to the Hostel.
More than half of the route follows the magnificent Test Valley and its' quaintly named tributary, the Bourne Rivulet. These valleys provide delightful cycling with easy, flat lanes, lovely views of the rivers and a succession of attractive villages where each house seems to offer a more dazzling display of flowers than the last! From the pretty villages along the Bourne, of which Ibthorpe is often claimed to be the most attractive in Hampshire, there is a slightly more pronounced climb up and around Haydown Hill and along the Roman Chute Causeway as the ancient road from Cunetio to Winchester makes a spectacular curve as it bears south and east to avoid the deep Hippenscombe Valley to regain a point from which it could continue in a straight line. The route back to the Hostel is an easy meander through Duck Street, Ragged Appleshaw, Fyfield, Thruxton and Quarely all on minor roads. (approx 55 easy miles)
N.B. The route from coffee (the river valleys) is suitable for the whole group with, perhaps, a return from Hurstbourne Tarrant to avoid the foray into the Berkshire Downs.
Sunday 17th May
This ride is a rare opportunity to traverse Salisbury Plain with its' extensive views and evidence of Army activity. Further pleasure accrues from a gradual descent of the popular (with cyclists that is!) Wylye Valley from Codford St.Mary to the historic town of Wilton. From here the ride crosses a low watershed south into the lovely Ebble valley where it goes east through Oddstock and Nunton and follows the River Avon to the first available bridge at Downton, then back north to Alderbury. The route enters a military landscape passing the research units of Porton Down to the Winterbourne Valley and a few miles back to the Hostel (approx. 58 miles)
There is a slight cost to this iconic ride - a mile and a half ride along the A303 as far as the Solstice Services where a bridge takes you north across the dual carriageway to Bulford and then westwards through the army town of Larkhill. The important thing is we don't have to cross the carriageway unprotected.
N.B. The route could be cut short by returning from Wilton either by crossing the watershed to the north into the Avon Valley just below Lower Woodford or along the minor road to Salisbury and out through Laverstock and The Winterbournes.
Monday 18th May
To be decided but a suggestion might be to park at Cartgate where a 28mile circular route could be taken partly on The Somerset Levels and quiet lanes through a number of picturesque villages such as Kingsbury Episcopi, Barrington, Seavington St.Mary, Stoke sub Hamdon and the market town of Ilminster.
So far nine CTC Plymouth members have expressed an interest in the Section Tour at Cholderton Youth Hostel on 15-18 May 2015. There is still space available at the Hostel at a rough cost of £20 per night,depending on the sort of accommodation required. As a rough guide it will be £20 per night with an overall cost of £60 - give or take a bob.
The hostel looks very nice indeed:
and is 11 miles from Salisbury and 5 miles from Stone Henge. There is a members' kitchen, so we can be self-catering, if we want.
In order to make a reservation, I need the full payment of £60 as soon as possible - preferably this week. Please, send cheques for £60 made out to Graham John to 24 Valiant Avenue, West Park, PL5 2NX. We can sort out any small adjustments to the cost later.
Inquiries about the Tour are welcome from CTC members who do not currently ride with CTC Plymouth. For information phone Graham John on 07845 879 711.
On Friday 15 May I would suggest that we leave Plymouth together at the same time and make for an agreed venue not too far from the Hostel. This will allows to do a short ride in the area before we make for the Hostel in the evening. There will be two full days' cycling on Saturday and Sunday followed by a shorter ride on Monday for those who so desire.
Unless you have any specific requests, I will book shared accommodation for the ladies and the same for the gentlemen.
Regards - Graham John
CTC Plymouth - Secretary
07845 879 711