From the most noteworthy purpose of Tan Hill, in the smooth light close to the completion of an impeccable pre-winter day, Wiltshire moved away underneath our feet, into significant history. The points of view on this quintessential English downland – a scene that impelled Richard Jeffries, Edward Thomas and Thomas Hardy – were exceptional.
Addressing our obsolete relationship with these chalk inclines were hillforts, internment slopes, banks and stone circles. A side revenue skimmed underneath us, by then banked and enlivened, shadowing the condition of the incline. We were only two days into our outing along King Alfred’s Way. Adequately, I couldn’t remember the beginning.
The 350km dominatingly unpleasant territory ride officially begins and finishes under the model of King Alfred on High Street,Winchester, in Hampshire. The course is indirect, be that as it may, so can begin and end any spot you like. Plus, there are railroad stations on or near the course – including Winchester, Salisbury, Swindon, Reading, Farnham and Petersfield – which offer flexibility, totally differentiated and other critical separation UK cycle courses, for instance, the Coast to Coast across northern England, the Pennine Bridleway or Scotland’s North Coast 500. This versatility infers King Alfred’s Way can be done in one go, multiple closures of the week, or even, with extraordinary masterminding (and a hint of karma getting bikes on our Covid-battered rail organizations) in excess of a couple, single-day ventures.
Two of us completed the course, riding it clockwise over five days, averaging 70km consistently, and seven partners joined for a day or two at different core interests. We passed on our unit in bikepacking panniers and rode an arrangement of bicycles – from a stone bike to full-suspension rough terrain bikes and even a steel specialist bike with level handlebars.
Each style of bike had its second: on the inside and out investigated, Tuscan-white military roads across Salisbury Plain, the stone bike streaked ahead; on quiet ways past noble houses close by the Thames, the specialist bike controlled; plunging down steep, rutted tracks covered in free stone, full suspension was the best decision. Taking everything into account, a hardtail exploring bike is commonly fitting for a sensitive, five-day visit like our own. Anyone hoping to ride the circuit in two days or less will support a stone bike with drop handlebars.
We got lucky with the atmosphere – the sun shone, basically ceaseless, consistently and a light tailwind followed us round. Riding over a comparable chalk downs after weighty storm would be much harder proposal. We were tried in less obvious habits, notwithstanding. Jim expected to head home early, when his mum got debilitated. Engraving tipped upside down on the dive to Ogbourne Saint George, landed awkwardly and broke his arm – a minor break, yet the completion of his ride.
The owners of the bars and B&Bs we stayed in had commonly thought about King Alfred’s Way, having recently welcomed guests who were riding it, in spite of the way that the course was simply dispatched around the completion of August. Tracey Pullen, who runs Fairlawn House B&B in Amesbury, expressed, while serving us gigantic breakfast plates of seared eggs and mushrooms: “We’ve had more cyclists on King Alfred’s Way since it opened than some other cycling course. We believe it will be an extraordinary course for what’s to come. Everyone says the all the way open is superb.”