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Bike Riding recommended route

Moreton-on-Marsh Loop Cycle via Chipping Norton

Bike Riding · Cotswold
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  • Forest On the Way to Cornwell
    / Forest On the Way to Cornwell
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / A Patchwork of Fields
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Grand Cotswold Houses
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / A Typical Cotswold Village, Through The Trees
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Baby Lambs
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Uphill Dirt Road
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Beautiful Vine-Covered Houses in the Cotswolds
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
m 250 200 150 100 50 40 30 20 10 km
Today’s route starts and finishes in Moreton-on-Marsh, but along the way you will discover quaint and picturesque villages, pedal along hedge-lined country lanes and breathlessly gaze out, from the tops of short, sharp climbs, at a vista of rolling hills and patchwork fields.
moderate
Distance 45.7 km
4:30 h
510 m
510 m
241 m
81 m

There is an inescapable charm to the Cotswolds that really lends itself to discovery by bicycle; it is both the villages and the surrounding countryside that characterise the Cotswold and entice people to visit every year.

Today you will pass through a dozen quaint little villages – blink and you’ll miss them! - where every house appears hidden behind a blossoming vine, grown and twisted against the honey-coloured brickwork and nearly reaching up to the thatched roofing. Many villages such as Barton-on-the-Heath and Cornwell have a grand Manor House surrounded by acres of country estate where England’s rich nobility would once have lived; indeed, many of them are still privately inhabited today.

The countryside is one of rolling hills which you will certainly notice (and possibly begrudge) from your saddle, but from the top of every climb is a stunning vista of rolling hills and patchwork fields that appear like a painting, and with a strip of tarmac – your road - that unfurls itself with a twisting descent into that picture-perfect scene.

Author’s recommendation

It is well worth stopping at the Rollright Stones; this is not just one set of stones, but three distinct stone monuments spanning 2,000 years of English history. The oldest is more than 5,500 years old! What compelled them to arrange the stones in such a way?
Profile picture of Josiah Skeats
Author
Josiah Skeats
Update: June 28, 2019
Difficulty
moderate
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
241 m
Lowest point
81 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Safety information

This route take place mostly on rural roads, and 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 a maximum of only a couple of hundred metres. 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 a busy road to check.

Today the route crosses cattle grids and railway tracks. When crossing either, it is important you slow down, and ride perpendicular (at right angles) to the cattle grid bars or railway tracks, so there is no risk of your wheel slipping down a hole. If you don’t feel confident, don’t worry about getting off and walking over or around.

Tips and hints

Points of Interest

Rollright Stones

Today you will pass right by a complex of stone monuments; Interestingly it is not just one set of stones, but three distinct sets, which span nearly 2,000 years of history, demonstrating that this was a sacred site throughout both the Neolithic and the Bronze ages. The oldest is a staggering 5,500+ years old!

More information available here: https://www.rollrightstones.co.uk/

 

Batsford Arboretum

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/

 

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. Chipping Norton and Moreton-on-Marsh are sizeable villages and have a wide variety of pubs, cafes and shops.

Start

Moreton-on-Marsh Market Hall/Clocktower (128 m)
Coordinates:
OS Grid
SP 20474 32430
DD
51.989950, -1.703237
DMS
51°59'23.8"N 1°42'11.7"W
UTM
30U 589041 5760714
w3w 
///troll.liner.outbound

Destination

Moreton-on-Marsh Market Hall/Clocktower

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00km – Start in the centre of Moreton-on-Marsh beside the Clocktower/Market Hall and the small roundabout. At the roundabout, head off of Main Street and away from the clocktower, following the signpost to Kingham and Stow-on-the-Wold. CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON this road for 700 metres ignoring all side roads.

0.71km – TURN RIGHT, following the sign to Evenlode, 2½ miles away. You will immediately pass Old Wellington Court on your left which has a blue plaque providing information about this historic building.

2.90km – CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON towards Evenlode, ignoring the turn on your left to Chipping Norton.

4.70km – Shortly after entering Evenlode, CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON to follow the road as it curves to the right, ignoring the left turn beside a beautiful, vine-covered house. Follow the signs to Broadwell and Aldestrop.

4.90km – As the you path the church on your right, BEAR LEFT as the road makes a sharp left-hand turn. Continue along this road for 800 metres, following signs to Broadwell and Aldestrop and ignoring all side paths.

5.70km – Roughly 200 metres after passing the national speed limit signs (a black diagonal stripe across a white circle) TURN LEFT following the sign to Aldestrop and to Chipping Norton. There is also a sign indicating that this is part of the National Cycling Route 442 to Oxford and Kingham.

7.50km – CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON staying on the 442 cycle route, even ignoring the right turn signposted to Chipping Norton that crosses under the telegraph lines.

8.00km – CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON through Aldestrop leaving the 442 cycle route which turns right here. You will pass the sheltered seating area on your right, and prepare yourself for a climb out of Aldestrop.

9.00km – As you reach the T-junction with a major road (A436), TURN LEFT towards Chipping Norton and then after 30 metres TURN RIGHT onto the diagonal road that heads through the woods towards Cornwell.

10.80km – CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON ignoring all side paths for 3.3km. On your left, admire the honey-coloured thatched houses of Cornwell, including glimpses of Cornwell Manor and the surrounding grounds.

14.10km – As you reach the staggered crossroads, TURN LEFT onto the B4450 towards Chipping Norton. Continue for 2.60km.

17.60km – BEAR LEFT at the mini-roundabout beside the pub and hotel, to take the 1st exit and continue through town. After 100 metres, go into the right-hand lane to BEAR RIGHT towards the traffic lights and through the centre of Chipping Norton.

17.10km – When you reach two roundabouts together beside a petrol station, TURN LEFT to take the 1st exit at both, and head downhill on Over Norton Road.

18.00km – After entering Over Norton the road makes a big right-hand sweeping turn; CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON to follow this curve, and after 100 metres, TURN LEFT following signposts to Village Hall, Little Rollright and Rollright Stones.

19.20km – After heading downhill and reaching a T-Junction, TURN LEFT to continue downhill towards Little Rollright and Rollright Stones.

20.80km – Halfway up the hill, TURN LEFT to immediately cross a cattle grid, following signs to ‘Little Rollright Only’. After 200 metres pass through the grand stone pillars that once bordered a gate and then TURN RIGHT to continue across another cattle grid, and along the unpaved, dirt road. When cycling over cattle grids it is imperative that you go slow and cross perpendicular to it. If you are not feeling confident there is a gate beside that you can walk your bike through.

21.30km – With the church on your left TURN RIGHT to head uphill on the dirt lane and towards the metal barns visible at the top.

21.70km – CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON passing the metal barns on your right, and heading uphill towards a main road.

22.00km – Where the dirt road ends at the crossroads, CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON to cross the main road and head slightly uphill. After 100 metres ignore the right turn and CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON. All this climbing is rewarded with expansive views across fields and neighbouring hills before a thrilling downhill into Little Compton.

24.70km – After entering Little Compton there is a small grass triangle on your left immediately followed by a high-walled property; TURN RIGHT opposite this high-walled property. After 200 metres, just after passing the Village Hall, TURN RIGHT following signs to Barton-on-the-Heath.

27.40km – After reaching a T-junction in Barton-on-the-Heath, TURN RIGHT following signs to Great Wolford, Long Compton and Little Wolford.

27.80km – As the road makes a sweeping right-hand turn as it leaves Barton-on-the-Heath, TURN LEFT to head slightly downhill towards the national speed limit signs, following a signpost to Great Wolford.

29.40km – At the T-junction with a church and its tall steeple directly ahead of you, TURN LEFT to pass between the 30mph speed signs and past the ‘Great Wolford: please drive carefully’ sign.

39.80km – At the crossroads in the centre of Great Wolford, with the telephone box beside you and the church on your right, CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON towards the house with a thatched roof. After 200 metres you will pass the house with a thatched roof and BEAR LEFT following signs to Toddenham.

31.50km – After reaching the T-junction by the duck pond and covered bus shelter, TURN RIGHT. After 200 metres, pass the cottage with the thatched roof and TURN LEFT towards Paxford, ignoring the national cycle route 48 sign that points ahead.

33.70km – After reaching the T-junction, TURN RIGHT to join the main road, and then after 100 metres, just before the house with the high hedges, TURN LEFT following the sign to Paxford.

37.10km – As the road forks BEAR LEFT to head slightly downhill and follow the road to Paxford.

40.20km – TURN LEFT following the sign to Draycott Village and Ascot Magna. You are rejoining joining cycle route 442, but be careful not to get confused because 50 metres before the left turn, there is a right turn with cycle route 442 signposted.

40.70km – TURN LEFT following the sign to Moreton-on-Marsh, and remaining on the 442 cycle route. After 200 metres, BEAR RIGHT, continuing to follow signs to Moreton-on-Marsh.

42.60km – As you reach the crossroads where you have the ‘Give Way’ sign, TURN RIGHT towards Moreton-on-Marsh. After 500 metres, BEAR LEFT as the road makes a sweeping turn and heads downhill.

45.30km – TURN RIGHT onto the main road, following the sign for Cirencester, and continue for 400 metres into Moreton-on-Marsh and finish beside the Market Hall. Why not grab a drink from 'The Bell Inn', which was visited by J.R. Tolkien and has been credited as the inspiration for 'The Prancing Pony' in 'The Lord of the Rings'?

Note


all notes on protected areas

Coordinates

OS Grid
SP 20474 32430
DD
51.989950, -1.703237
DMS
51°59'23.8"N 1°42'11.7"W
UTM
30U 589041 5760714
w3w 
///troll.liner.outbound
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Equipment

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.

Basic Equipment for Bike Riding

  • Cycling helmet
  • Cycling gloves
  • Sturdy, comfortable and preferably waterproof footwear
  • Layered, moisture wicking clothing
  • Rucksack (with rain cover)
  • Protection against sun, rain and wind (hat, sunscreen, water- and windproof jacket)
  • Sunglasses
  • Ample supply of drinking water and snacks
  • Cell phone
  • Cash
  • Navigation equipment / map and compass

Technical Equipment for Bike Riding

  • Air pump or CO2 pump including cartridges
  • Puncture repair kit
  • Replacement inner tube
  • Tire levers
  • Chain tool
  • Hex keys
  • Phone / device holder as required  
  • Bike lock as required
  • Where applicable, the bike must meet requirements for road use by having a bell, front and rear lamps and spoke reflectors
  • The 'basic' and 'technical' equipment lists are generated based on the selected activity. They are not exhaustive and only serve as suggestions for what you should consider packing.
  • For your safety, you should carefully read all instructions on how to properly use and maintain your equipment.
  • Please ensure that the equipment you bring complies with local laws and does not include restricted items.

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Difficulty
moderate
Distance
45.7 km
Duration
4:30 h
Ascent
510 m
Descent
510 m
Highest point
241 m
Lowest point
81 m

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