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Recommended Ride - Roman Roads to the Cotswolds

Route Date - Monday, March 11, 2019

By Ian Soady

This is based on the route we used when I worked for ISTEL, purveyors of real-time computer systems to the automotive industry. We frequently needed to make a rapid trip to the Cowley works (now home of the BMW “Mini”) before the days of the M40. It could be somewhat lurid especially in an MG Maestro Turbo...
It’s also a very pleasant start of the route down to catch the overnight ferry from Portsmouth.

1. Start at Crabbs Cross in Redditch (52.27775,-1.937979)

2. Take A441 (Evesham Road) south for about 5 miles. Once you clear Astwood Bank (or Bonk as it’s known locally) you’ll be on the Ridgeway which is a good ride with views across the Vale of Evesham and several interesting bends.

3. Cross the A442 (this is a dogleg junction) (road name changes to B4088 Evesham Road).

4. After about 2.5 miles bear left (really straight on) on to the unclassified road signed "Broom".

5. Continue about 1.5 miles through Broom to Wixford Lodge.

6. Turn RIGHT on unclassified road signed "Bidford on Avon" for about 1 mile.

7. Turn RIGHT on B439 for about 0.5 miles

8. Take FIRST exit from roundabout on B4085 sigend "Honeybourne".

9. Cross the mediaeval bridge over the River Avon. This was demolished a couple of years ago by a lorry hitting the parapet and took about a year to replace so mind the walls!

10. You’re now on the Roman Road Ryknild Street (AKA Buckle Street). Continue for about 7 miles till you reach the A44. There’s a gliding club on the right after about 2 miles where you can get a nice plate of chips and watch the gliders taking off and landing.

11. Ryknild Street swoops across the countryside as Roman Roads tend to do and is a lovely ride. It will exercise your suspension over the dips and hollows.

12. Cross the B4035; continue for about 0.5 miles then turn RIGHT on the B4632. As you make this turn you will see the old Roman Road going straight ahead as a BOAT (or may have been downgraded to a bridleway).

13. Go about 0.5 miles then turn LEFT on unclassified road signed "Historic Church".

14. You’re now on a narrow road (Saintbury Hill) that climbs the Cotswolds escarpment, wending through the trees. Take care as there are many blind bends.

15. At the crossroads at the top of the hill you have a choice. Go straight on (unclassified road signed "Broadway, Stow, Oxford") or take the minor road to the right. The latter gives great views across the Vale of Evesham. In either case, when you reach the A44 turn LEFT.

16. Continue along A44 for about 3 miles. This is a nice road but can be very busy.

17. Bear RIGHT on the A424 signed "Longborough, Bourton on the Water" for about 6 miles. Another open road with some nice bends. 

18. Turn RIGHT on the A429 at Stow on the Wold.

19. After about 1 mile bear LEFT onto A424 signed "Burford".

20. Continue about 9 miles to Burford. This road strides along the edge of the Cotswolds giving good views to the west. I believe originally Roman but no evidence. Burford is a picture book little village with lots of refreshment opportunities.

That’s it. You can then retrace your steps or, if you feel like it:

Take the A361 north out of Burford (signed "Shipton Under Wychwood") for about 10 miles to Chipping Norton.
Take the A361 for about 6 miles towards Evesham, which will bring you to the top of Saintbury Hill. Or you can continue down Fish Hill to Broadway.

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Reader's Comments

Rod said :-
Thanks Ian for this recommended ride.
I often have a ride down to Bourton on the Water, or Bibury trout farm cafe.
I will definitely try this route as an alternative.
12/03/2019 14:35:39 UTC
Upt'North said :-
Thanks Ian, nice memories of them roads, well some of them.
12/03/2019 16:17:01 UTC
CrazyFrog said :-
Another excellent run Ian. At the end of Ryknild Street at Weston-Sub-Edge I often turn left and divert into Chipping Campden, which is for me, the archetypal Cotswolds market town. The fact that it also boasts many lovely little tea rooms and a nice 2nd hand bookshop have nothing to do with it at all ;-)
13/03/2019 08:35:19 UTC
Bob said :-
It's a nice part of the world - I've had great success with the Foss Way, Nuneaton to Cirencester (the last time was enroute to the IOW).
25/03/2019 08:20:13 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Yes, you can join the Fosse Way (A429) to go down to the south west or back towards Leamington Spa. If you do this you can join up with my other route south of Brum for Crazy Frog's favourite road....
25/03/2019 09:52:01 UTC

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