Wilt thou come?
Follow our route through the English countryside
To download this route go to cyclist.co.uk/51wiltshire. From Horningsham, head towards Hindon and Chilmark. Turn right to Tisbury. From here you will go through Wardour, Donhead St Andrew, Donhead St Mary and Cann Common to Zig Zag Hill. After the summit, turn left and descend to Donhead Hollow. Head to Bowerchalke, Stratford Tony and Netherhampton, where a right takes you into Salisbury via Harnham. Follow the River Avon to Camp Hill, then go through Wilton and South Newton to follow the river valley through Wylye, Stockton and Sutton Veny. Cross the A350 at Sutton End, head into the Longleat Forest and back to Horningsham.
Distance Elevation Camp Hill
Bordered by six other counties in the south of England – Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire – Wiltshire is a bucolic mixture of farmland, pretty villages and areas of historic significance, Stonehenge being its most famous.
While our route won’t take us directly past the 5,000-year-old landmark, we will see Salisbury Cathedral, plus skirt the edge of Salisbury Plain, where the British Army spends its days teaching recruits how to blow things up.
Wiltshire’s highest point is just 295m above sea level, but while we’re unlikely to suffer altitude sickness that’s not to say it will be easy. The route profile looks like the silhouette of a pine forest, although the first few kilometres from our start in Horningsham come easily enough as we barrel through the villages of Maiden Bradley and Kingston Deverill.
It’s not long before we’re making hasty shifts to the small chainring as we begin the first characteristically short, sharp ramp of the day.
We’re unlikely to suffer altitude sickness, but that’s not to say this ride is going to be easy
Thankfully the summer sun is shining brightly and it’s already getting warm.
We’re surrounded by pristine fields, neatly bordered and combed to perfection by the farmer’s tractor. Crops sway gently in the light breeze as we ascend and fields laid to grass are dotted prettily with occasional patches of bright red poppies. It’s quintessentially English countryside at its best.
A brief spell on the busy A350 interrupts the tranquillity so we up the tempo to get it over with as quickly as possible. Thankfully it’s short-lived and we’re soon back on quiet lanes heading towards Hindon and Fonthill Gifford. Wiltshire, it seems, enjoys an esoteric village naming heritage, and part of the fun of the route is gathering up all the peculiar place names.
We barely have 25km under our belts as we descend into the picturesque village of Tisbury when David, almost apologetically, says there’s a cafe we simply must stop at. It’s only about an