You can cycle through the town to join the towpath at the Oracle, or do the completist thing by starting on the River Thames. After a brief diversion on residential streets, the towpath strikes out into the flat Berkshire countryside. It fell into dereliction after the Second World War, and was only reopened in after a mammoth volunteer restoration campaign. The Rowbarge at Woolhampton, 13 miles into the ride, is a good place to sit and watch the boats go by. In Thatcham, the official route follows cycleways along suburban streets. The towpath is more attractive, passing the turf-sided Monkey Marsh Lock, but the surface can be muddy and is best avoided after rain.
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Basics How many days? Most of the route is a towpath shared with walkers and anglers, so faster speeds are inappropriate. What sort of bike? That said, the latter will be fine with decent tyres and mudguards. Is it suitable for a first-timer? Very much. The towpath itself is pretty much level, of course.
Watch your speed! There are a few hills on the road section between Hungerford and Devizes, but nothing too challenging. Most of it has a light gravel surface or is robust compacted earth. In general, the western section from Devizes to Bath is better surfaced than the eastern part from Reading. The route leaves the canal between Hungerford and Devizes, to follow a winding course on roughly parallel country lanes — all surfaced, of course.
You can choose to stay on the towpath here, and indeed most boaters consider this the most attractive part of the canal. There are a few exasperating barriers across the towpath around Reading, installed to dissuade motorcyclists. Getting there How do I get there and back? Great Western Railway requires reservations and has limited bike spaces — try and travel off-peak if possible, and book as far in advance as possible.
Now a trail for walkers and cyclists, the route links the attractive town of Stratford-upon-Avon with the village of Long Marston. The route is signed southwards from the railway station at Stratford-upon-Avon, and the railway path begins near the racecourse at Seven Meadows Road. If you keep quiet, you may hear the song of the skylarks which nest here. You will cross the Avon using the multispan Stannals Bridge, and then cross the Stour. The route continues through peaceful countryside to the village of Long Marston.
Basics How many days? Most of the route is a towpath shared with walkers and anglers, so faster speeds are inappropriate. What sort of bike? That said, the latter will be fine with decent tyres and mudguards. Is it suitable for a first-timer? Very much.
Avon Cycleway, Bristol: Address, Avon Cycleway Reviews: 4.5/5
Click on a to show the current location on the map; click on a linked placename for local links and information. The route Heading clockwise, starting at the Avon: Shirehampton Hallen The route heads along Berwick Lane into Easter Compton , and joins the B to go through the village before turning off on Station Road to go by Pilning station and on towards Tockington. Just before crossing the motorway, the route turns left up Awkley Lane, then right again to cross first the M4 then the M The route takes a little wiggle through Elberton and crosses the B Aust to Alveston road. Near Littleton-upon-Severn the Avon Cycleway briefly parts company with route 41; the national route continues on into the village, whereas the Avon Cycleway cuts off the corner. The two routes join up again for the next stretch of road, then the 41 turns left into Kington Road to carry on to Berkeley and Gloucester, and the Avon Cycleway heads along Kington Lane towards Thornbury. Thornbury : The cycle route enters Thornbury from the west along Kington Lane.