Please note the 1:00pm Cut-off time at the A34 Underpass and East Ilsley.
Your ride starts on the Lynch Way (also known as Gypsy Lane), a by-way to the left of the George and Dragon Pub (grid ref 512867). This beautiful stretch of by-way is followed for about 2km before turning right to head for Chilton village. Pass through the village to cross the A4185 and head North to join Route 44 of the Sustrans National Cycle Network.
Turn left on to Route 44 and follow, crossing the A4185 again, skirting around the Harwell science park and heading out towards Lockinge. After 3km you reach a lane. Leave Route 44 (grid ref 460878) and continue straight on. After another 1.5km the West Hendred to Ginge lane is reached. Again you head straight on across and prepare for Ginge Brook!
Negotiate the steep rutted slope down to the bridge (grid ref 444876), across the brook and work hard up the other side, over a tricky rooted section and on to Lockinge.
On reaching the tarmac of Well Street (grid ref 433875) on the outskirts of Lockinge, turn left and continue towards Betterton. At the T Junction turn left and then after a 100m right through Betterton (grid ref 436866).
The first of 5 climbs now lay ahead. Follow the Gravel track “gravelly hairpins” up to join the Ridgeway (grid ref 443850). Turn left onto the Ridgeway for a short breather before taking the next left and heading straight back down to Ginge. This is a fast and narrow decent so take care (if you are taking the short cuts do not turn left off the Ridgeway, but continue straight on to reach the car park at Scutchammer Knob).
On reaching Ginge (grid ref 445866) turn right onto the road for 100m then right again to start the second climb to regain the Ridgeway. Turn left and follow the Ridgeway of 500m over Cuckhamsley Hill, past Scutchammers Knob to the car park at grid ref 458850.
We’re leaving the Ridgeway now heading for the wooded beauty of Old Street. Turn right at the Car Park for the swooping decent down towards Lands End Cottage (grid ref 447833). On reaching the road turn right and then 350m later left. This is Old Street. Head up Hernehill Down, after a kilometre you start to head down hill and enter woodland. As you enter the wood there is a fork in the track. Take the left fork and keep heading straight on, ignoring any other turnings. A kilometre after the fork you will reach Catmore Road (grid ref 4538112). Continue straight on along the road for 250m, then at a right bend in the road turn left and continue across a field and back into woodland. Continuing straight on, a left turn will be reached after 250m (grid ref 459803). Take this and follow for 1.5km until a T-Junction is reached with Woolvers Road (grid ref 474806). Take care, this section is often deeply rutted.
At the T-Junction turn left and left again at the next opportunity (170m). You are now headed for West Ilsley. Bear right after 100m and follow the track, up at first and then down to West Ilsley Stables. On reaching a gravel track follow this around to the right to the main drive. Turn left and follow out to the main road in West Ilsley (grid ref 476823).
Cross the road and start your third accent of the Ridgeway. In 200m take the right hand fork and follow this all the way to the top (GR487836). Turn Right and follow the Ridgeway until the start of the A34 underpass (300m). If you reach this point before 13:00pm turn right here and follow the track around a few bends before the long flowing descent of Hadcott Down. After 1:00 pm you will have taken 3.5 hour to do 17 miles with 17 miles still to go. You will therefore be requested to return to Upton via the underpass, on the Family route. This is to ensure the route is cleared in good time and enable our volunteer marshals to stand down.
On reaching the road, turn left and then right to enter “twisty gnarly”. Follow for 1.5km to rejoin Woolver Road just yards from where you last left it. Turn left and follow for 1.5km uphill at first and then down to East Ilsley.
On reaching the road pass turn right under the A34 (grid ref 490810) and enter East Ilsley. It is here that the 25 mile Leisure and 35 mile Endurance routes split. We will be operating a cut-off time here too for the same reasons as above. Therefore if you reach here after 1:00pm you will be requested to return to Upton via the 25 mile Leisure Route. Before 13:00 you should resist the temptation of the pubs and turn right after the Crown of Horns, following the one way system. After 100m take a left to continue up Church Hill to the top where you will see a gate and bridleway straight ahead. Take this and follow for the short sharp shock to reach Shrill Down (grid ref 496799). Cross the main track bearing slightly right to enter a great single track section known locally as “Compton Byway” but labelled on O/S as Green Hams Lane. Enjoy the beauty of the next mile or so before taking the first left turn and a quick gear change to climb Warnham Lane. At the top turn left and go straight across the farm track junction to reach Cheeseridge Road in 400m or so (grid ref 509789). Turn left and descend to Compton.
On reaching the main road (High Street) turn right and follow to the Swan at Compton pub. Turn left immediately after the pub into Horn Street and then right onto Wallingford Road. After a few hundred metres you will reach an old railway bridge, part of the old Didcot to Newbury line. Pass under the bridge and follow to the left for 2 km to reach the Ridgeway at Roden Down (grid ref 534819). Turn right and immediately right again to descend to Crows Foot (grid ref 534805). On reaching the aptly named Crows Foot you turn left and left again on to the middle “toe”, having arrived by the first “toe” (do not confuse the field access between these). Follow this for a little over 1km to regain the Ridgeway again (grid ref 540815). Straight ahead of you will see a gap in the hedge. Take this and bear left to follow the track for a little over 1km to the top of Lowbury Hill. At the top of the hill the track bears left and then right to descend to The Fair Mile (grid ref 544826). Take care on this descent, the top wooded section can be very slippery if wet.
On reaching The Fair Mile, continue your descent straight on for about a mile to a point (grid ref 549843) above the grain driers. Turn left here to cut a corner and drop down to the access drive of Keepers Cottage. Turn left and continue along an initially rutted section giving way to a pleasant grassy track before climbing up the hill on a steeper chalky ground. After 2km you will reach the top of the hill (grid ref 538826). Nearly home now. Turn right and follow the track straight on for 1km to meet the Ridgeway track again. Turn right and at the bottom of the chalky descent turn right again. Take the soft bark surface and head straight on to a heavily rutted section which leads to a concrete road at Lower Chance Farm (grid ref 519827). Turn left on to the road and follow to the end. There will be drinks here if you’re hanging! Turn right at the end and follow the tarmac of Boham’s Road. After 1km there is a fork, with the Boham’s Road bearing right as it heads down to Blewbury. Your route continues straight on, turning into another concrete road as it does so. Follow the concrete to just beyond The Kennels when again the road bears right and you continue straight ahead, this time on a grassy surface. Follow this for 1km and regain the shelter of the hedgerows for a while before joining the tarmac of Hollow Way. At the bottom of Hollow Way just before the main road, there is a left turn onto a gravel track. You are now back in Upton. Make your way back to the recreation field and sign in before heading for a well earned beer!