Late autumn is an outstanding time to make the most of our county, with weekend outings providing the chance to still enjoy decent weather and breathe in the fresh air without the sun beating down too fiercely.
Usually we provide a walking route to follow, but this month bikes have ‘right of way’ in our focus on West Berkshire, with popular routes taking in East and West Ilsley, two historic villages north of Newbury in the Berkshire Downs, sitting beside The Ridgeway.
For those with little ones to shepherd along on bikes it’s possible to get off road and shorten routes to allow for their pedal power. You can also
‘mix and match’, taking part of the journey on foot or simply stick to two wheels. Cycling can allow just as much roaming as walking.
In West Berkshire we have the benefit of routes including two of the 13 National Trails suitable for walking, cycling and horse-riding opportunities, courtesy of The Ridgeway and The Thames Path.
ON YOUR BIKE
See nationaltrail.co.uk to download a seven-mile East & West Ilsley circular route, mostly on downland tracks with just one section on a village road and no stiles or gates. It includes a stop off at The Harrow pub, should you so wish. At cycling.org you can find routes and downloadable maps including a round Berkshire cycling route which takes in West Berkshire’s Lambourn, Great Shefford, Hungerford and Newbury.
There are also links to cycling groups who are a friendly bunch, always happy to give advice.
West Berkshire Spokes is a voluntary organisation representing all cyclists across the area and offers free membership for life.
They have routes you can download, starting with easy rides which largely stick to traffic-free paths and lightly trafficked roads, so are suitable for children and novice cyclists, see westberkshirespokes.org.
Head to info.westberks.gov.uk/ walkingandcycling for a great collection of downloadable cycling routes of varying lengths including ones in Burghclere and Kingsclere, Boxford, Welbury and Kingsbury, plus picturesque Pangbourne and Whitchurch. Wear appropriate clothing, including helmets.
Take water and your mobile phone, although coverage can be patchy in the more remote areas.
Hopefully you won’t need them, but taking basic bike tools including a puncture repair kit and a spare tube is always wise.
You can cycle around the lanes of West Berkshire to enjoy some amazing countryside and views of some of the county’s best scenery… and there’s more delights too for those who like to stretch their legs