COTSWOLD BLAST

Stun­ning Ban­bury to Bath route

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - Justin Hayzelden

Eng­land at its quin­tes­sen­tial best, this route runs from Ban­bury in Ox­ford­shire along the length of the Cotswolds to Bath in Som­er­set, taking in some of the finest roads in the re­gion.

The B4035 rocks straight off the bat, a rolling rib­bon of two-lane tar­mac that dashes be­tween the hedgerows to con­nect the vil­lages dot­ted across this hilly high ground. The sur­round­ing area is the source of sev­eral rivers and the road takes on an or­ganic flow in an echo of their nat­u­ral course – un­til that is, its junc­tion with the A429. This next leg traces the Fosse Way, a Ro­man road that orig­i­nally ran from Ex­eter to Lin­coln to mark the em­pire’s western fron­tier; as a con­se­quence it’s com­par­a­tively straight, but makes for an en­joy­able cruise nonethe­less as it rolls right through More­ton-in-marsh, a pretty mar­ket town with a par­tic­u­larly pic­turesque high street crafted en­tirely from Cotswold stone.

Turn right at The Uni­corn in Stowon-the Wold for the B4068, a typ­i­cally twisty B road that ducks and dives through thicket and copse for a short but re­ward­ing run to the A436. Turn right here to An­dovers­ford and the A40, where you’ll find the op­por­tu­nity to top up be­fore re­join­ing the A436 in the di­rec­tion of Glouces­ter. Just be­fore Seven Springs there’s a great place to stop for a bite and a brew, a con­verted coach known as the Cotswold Diner; it closes at 2pm, so if you want to drop in plan ac­cord­ingly.

Take the A435 from Seven Springs for a ride along­side the River Churn, where the smooth flow­ing as­phalt shim­mies in time to the me­an­der­ing stream. At Per­rott’s Brook fol­low the signs for Dagling­worth – this will lead you un­der the A417 and on to the nar­row sin­gle track strips that cross the wildest of the Wolds. It’s not ex­actly re­mote, but the open farm­land is far enough from the madding crowd to make for a suitably re­laxed bim­ble.

At the junc­tion with the A419 head to­wards Stroud then turn left at the round­about for Minch­in­hamp­ton. Turn left at the Ragged Cot Inn and fol­low the road through Aven­ing, emerg­ing on the B4014 to make a fab­u­lous twist through the tun­nel of trees that un­rav­els to­wards Nailsworth.

The last leg is all A46; a crack­ing ride that hugs the ter­rain through a series of turns to crest across the plains where it scythes a black­top path to­wards the hori­zon. Beyond the M4 lies a shal­low swoop through the hills, a grad­ual de­scent that sweeps down to the City of Bath.

It’s choco­late box vil­lages all the way

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