We have come up with a series of routes for our Wellness rides that build up in difficulty, but all with some fun and great countryside.
This is second ride in the series – a loop over Barbury Castle. As with all the rides, it starts at the Three Trees Cafe & Farm shop, where you can park and get refreshments afterwards. Note it is closed on Mondays, but there is a public parking spot immediately next door.
The ride starts out on the Ridgeway, which at this point is a quiet country road. After a kilometre and a half, the tarmac turns to a dirt track (still the Ridgeway), which you follow for another 2.5km to the road.
Turn left for a few yards and you will come to a byway on your right. Follow the byway, which gentle climbs the side of Barbury.
At the end, turn left and 20 yards or so on your left is the gate to the bridleway over Barbury Castle. This grass climb is steep, but is fairly short and can be walked. The bridleway continues over the top of Barbury, passed the car park (where there are toilets for a comfort break).
At the road, turn right, riding passed the stables on your left. Keep an eye out for the byway sign on your left, which will take you down Smeathes Ridge.
There are a number of gates on your way down the ridge, but at the bottom, the last gate takes you to a dirt track down to the main road.
Turn left and follow the road till you come to a Byway on your right. Take this byway for a kilometre, till it comes to the sustrans route 482 (the former railway line to Marlborough). The byway can collect puddles in the wet, but is rideable in all weathers.
At the junction with route 482 you turn left and follow it back to the Three Trees.