Past Ride

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Sun Mar 25th 2018
The Witney Nifty Fifty 3*
Steve Swanton
Start Time:
9:30 am
Start Location:
Witney Buttercross, OX28 6AF
Update Sat 10:30am: with growing numbers now, planning to take lunch at Wyatt's Farm Tea room (Sunday roasts but also range of jacket spuds, paninis, etc) nr Great Rollright.

50 miles into the Cotswolds on the first day of BST (British Sycling Time (sic))

This is the first of Cycling UK Oxfordshire's Couch to 200 miles series, to build up to the Oxfordshire Boundary Ride in July. Starting from Witney, a 50-mile loop through the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with lunch nr Great Rollright. The ride will be taken at a steady pace of about 12-13mph, at the lower end of 3*.

Starting point will be the Buttercross in the centre of Witney. For those travelling in by car, there is free parking in the Leys, overlooking the playing fields off Station Lane. See map here. From there it is a short ride past St. Marys Church along Church Green to the Medieval Buttercross.

Please let Steve know if you are planning to come to help with lunch arrangements.
What a difference a week makes! A lovely Spring Sunday to start British Summertime and perfect conditions to be out the bike. 9 riders set off from the Buttercross on this the first ride in the Oxfordshire Couch to 200 miles series: six of us from Wantage plus Kevin Arnold from Witney and David Townsend from the Oxfordshire Midweek group. Peter Miles from Witney, recovering from illness, joined us as far as Stonesfield.

We were quickly out of town and enjoying the countryside of West Oxfordshire. We had several swooping descents and short climbs as we crossed the valleys of the Evenlode and the Glyme before starting the more gentle climb up the Cotswold escarpment en route to Sanford St. Martin. Here we had a short refreshment break before tackling the lumpier, rolling terrain of the ironstone country of northern Oxfordshire. At Barford St. Michael we turned westwards to follow the river Swere upstream towards Hook Norton. Lovely countryside and, as Kevin pointed out, a great time of year to enjoy the views before all the trees come into leaf.

With relatively few winter miles under my belt, my legs were starting to smart on the climb up to Great Rollright, but very soon we reached the top of the escarpment and the welcome sight of Wyattâᅵᅵs garden centre. The caf�© was busy and we did have a little wait for lunch, but portions were good and it was nice to have a rest.

From lunch we continued westwards along the top of the escarpment, passing the Rollright Stones and enjoying the great views northwards into Warwickshire. After a few miles we finally turned south and started the lovely long descent into the Evenlode valley at Kingham, where we briefly crossed into Gloucestershire.

Correcting a GPS routing error that would have taken us along a muddly track into Bruern (woops), we climbed up to Idbury to join the lovely quiet lane through Fyfield and Upper Milton that contours along the valley side. Eventually, we had to turn uphill. The final big climb took us out of the valley into the quiet lanes through Fordwells and Field Assarts before the long descent into Crawley by the Windrush. Just one final, short pull and we were soon back in Witney. To finish off, Kevin showed us the back route to Witan Way, which was new to me too.

This was a tough 50 with over 800m of climbing, which everyone coped with well. A satisfying ride to complete and a great start to the Oxfordshire Couch to 200 miles series. Thank you to Robin and Jan who kept me to the route by GPS and to all for your company on a thoroughly enjoyable ride.
82.88 km (51.50 mi)
Comment on this ride


Written by : Jan

Posted on : March 25, 2018 at 7:33 PM

Great ride Stve, thanks

Ride Filter
Start Locations
Wantage Market Place
Old Mill Hall, Grove
1* - Suitable for irregular, social, beginner or family riders, pace will match the slower riders. Not hilly or long. Expect rides up to 3 hours. Gentle exercise.
2* - Suitable for regular riders who prefer to cover some distance but at a more relaxed pace. Likely to be half-day rides. Solid exercise.
3* - Suitable for experienced riders, may be hilly, long, quick, or any combination! Likely to be half or full-day rides. Challenging exercise.
4* - Suitable for athletic riders who can ride safely above the 3* standard. Quick rides for the fit.
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