Today’s ride is a little shorter than normal allowing plenty of time to stop and explore the many attractions along the way. Just a few kilometres after leaving Moreton-on-Marsh, you will pass Batsford Arboretum and Sezingcote House. In Batsford Arboretum you can wander through the largest private collection of trees and shrubs in the country; it follows the rhythms of nature and the seasons meaning no two visits will ever be the same. Sezingcote House is a 200-year old Indian Palace dropped into the luscious Cotswolds' countryside; it’s a strange and unlikely, yet somehow effective and gorgeous combination. Just before reaching Broadway you will pass Snowshill Manor which houses the eclectic collections of Charles Wade, with every room crammed with artefacts from around the world.
Of course, even ignoring the stops along the way, it's a stunning ride with all the charming villages and picturesque countryside so characteristic of the Cotswolds. From the road you can enjoy views that stretch out over farmland, country estates and rolling hills. You will pass Lower Slaughter, voted the most beautiful village in the Cotswolds, though I imagine there are quite a few contenders for that title!
This route take place mostly on rural roads. Drivers are generally used to seeing cyclists so are courteous, passing slowly and giving plenty of room. Be sure that your cycling is predictable with no erratic motions, and whenever you are changing roads, communicate that with hand signals.
There are some testing uphills and thrilling descents today, where it is tempting to let loose of the brakes and fly down; on these country roads however, it is important to cycle expecting the unexpected and adjust your speed appropriately, so whether there is a pothole or an escaping sheep you have enough time to slow down.
There are a few sections on busier roads but these are always fairly short. Before turning onto a busy road, it is advisable to consult the map and read the turn-by-turn directions, so you know where you are turning off and don’t have to stop on the edge of the road to check.
Tips and hints
Points of Interest
Sezincote House feels lost. The rolling hills of the Cotswolds are certainly a bizarre setting for this ornate 200-year old, Indian-inspired, Moghul Palace, but somehow the combination works well. You can enjoy a tour of the house, and wander through exquisite gardens, resplendent with temples, waterfalls and canals.
More information available here: http://www.sezincote.co.uk/
Just 1 mile outside Moreton-on-Marsh, Batsford Arboretum is the largest private collection of trees and shrubs in England, spreading itself across a 56 acre swathe of land. The interest is year-round and depending on which season you visit, different plants will be flowering and stealing the limelight; maybe it will be the snowdrops, or maybe the Japanese cherry trees, or perhaps the handkerchief tree!
More information available here: http://www.batsarb.co.uk/
Snowshill Manor and Garden
Inside Snowshill Manor you can discover the extraordinary collection of Charles Wade, who lived here during the first half of the 20th century. His motto was ‘Let Nothing Perish’, and every room of the house is crammed with his curiosities. To quote the National Trust, ‘Snowshill is neither a museum nor a home, but one large treasure trove of delights.
More information available here: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/snowshill-manor-and-garden
Broadway Tower stands on the second-highest point of the Cotswolds and the views are spectacular, ranging all the way to the distant Malvern Hills. Previously the hill on which it is situated was also used as a beacon hill, due to its prominence.
More information available here: https://broadwaytower.co.uk/
Food and Drink
You pass lots of small villages today but opportunities for food and drink are limited with most lacking a pub, café or shop. Lower Slaughters has several cafes and pubs including the very grand Lower Slaughters Manor. Kineton and Snowshill both have a pub, and there is a café in the National Trust property, Snowshill Manor.
By far the best selection of food and drink is at the start and finish, in Moreton-in-Marsh and in Broadway.
All normal cycle equipment and outdoor gear is required, including a helmet, gloves and a wind-break layer. Even if it doesn’t appear necessary ensure you bring enough warm and waterproof clothes as weather conditions can change quickly.
Padded shorts are recommended, as saddle pain takes the fun away very quickly!
This route is mostly on rural roads so be sure to bring a bottle of water and a snack in case you find yourself a long way from the shops.