Updated: Feb 17
FEB 2021 Wild Cycles is delighted to launch WILD KING ALFRED'S WAY - a 4-day self-guided journey through a 10,000 year-old landscape covering 220 miles of epic riding, ancient sites and spectacular scenery.
Since its creation in the summer of 2020 it has become one of the UK’s must-do bike packing adventures. Based on Cycling UK's route* the truly exceptional adventure will transport you through time and King Alfred The Great’s Anglo-Saxon Kingdom.
King Alfred's Way 2021 @ komoot
Starting and finishing in Winchester where the King is buried the loop is jam-packed with areas of outstanding natural beauty, spectacular vistas of the varied landscapes of Wessex, The South Downs, The Chilterns Hills and Surrey. Travel along England’s oldest road - The Ridgeway. Pass by countless historic sites which include some of Europe’s oldest Neolithic Monuments: Stonehenge, Avebury Stones, Wayland’s Smithy, the prehistoric Uffington Horse and too many Iron Age Hill forts to mention.
Soak up the scenes on a journey through time on the fully-supported and provisioned Wild King Alfred's Way Adventure. Wild Cycles will take care of the hassle and treat you to an unforgettable adventure including 3 nights in our hand-picked and fully-equipped campsites with showers, loos and washing facilities.
Suitable for MTB's or gravel bikes - ride your own or hire one of ours.
flavours of an adventure
Day 1 - From Winchester to All Cannings; 58 miles, 2,975 ft climbing
8:30 Meet & greet at Winchester Station car park where we’ll relieve you of the gear you won’t be carrying on the ride. 5 mins ride will get you to the start under King Alfred’s statue where your enter the King’s domain and kick-start an unforgettable experience.
Hit the Roman road at the castle’s Westgate for a day on rural roads and ancient tracks used by the King’s subjects 1,000s of years ago.
Swing by the 2,500-year-old ramparts of Old Sarum, one of the most important historic sites in southern England.
Detour into Salisbury and check out the cathedral famous for UK’s tallest spire and the original 1215 Magna Carta.
Pick up the River Avon towards Ogbury and the large prehistoric hilltop enclosure above Great Durnford.
Next up - the world’s richest prehistoric landscape - Stonehenge. Soak up ancient vibes by the ring of stacked sarsen stones date back to c. 2500 BC.
Push north along tracks and over the cursus monument as you skirt around Salisbury Plain pass by the Neolithic White Barrow and Bronze Age linear earthworks just south of Tilshead.
Climb up to White Horse Trail to join the Wessex Ridgeway, fab views over the Vale of Pewsey and siwng into your first overnight camp just south of the pretty village of All Cannings. Wow – and that’s just day 1!
Day 2: All Cannings to Goring (North Moreton). 56 miles, 3,050 ft climbing
Day 2 is mainly on the Ridgeway - Britain’s oldest road which passes a jaw-dropping selection of historic sites and far-reaching views (see our journal entry on the Ridgeway).
Climb up to Tan Hill, cross over the River Kennet into Avebury with its picture-perfect thatched cottages and the spectacular Avebury Stone Circle.
You’re greeted by a bewildering array of prehistoric wonder-works here. Adam and Eve Long Stones leap out of the landscape here.
A short distance away there’s Silbury Hill and West Kennet barrow - a Neolithic tomb dating back to c. 3650 BC.
Join the Ridgeway and spare a thought for the Vikings, Saxon and Celtic war parties and Stone Age drovers who trod the very path you are riding on!
Ride on through an Iron-age hill fort! Barbury CastleIron occupying a commanding position overlooking the landscape.
Pause at the eerily, atmospheric Wayland’s Smithy. Legend has it that Wayland - Saxon god of metalworking ran his workshop from here! The Neolithic long barrow featuring giant stones by its entrance was an active burial ground around 3,500 BC.
Next up - the famous Uffington White Horse - a giant 110m hillside Celtic carving which dates back to Bronze-Iron Age. Nearby is Uffington Castle one of the largest Iron Age hill forts in the UK is nearby. Drop down into the pretty riverside village of Goring-on-Thames at m. 50. Come into land a short detour from the trail at your next overnight stop - for refuelling and your 2nd overnight camp.
Day 3 - From Goring to Dockenfield: 62 miles, 2,375 ft climbing
Rejoin King Alfred;s Way at the pretty riverside village of Goring-on-Thames, cross over the river in this twee village with its weirs, locks, riverside pubs and cafés.
Drop onto the Thames Path, through Beale Park Wildlife Park and up a steep climb through Coombe Park and the stunning Whitchurch-on-Thames complete with Norman church.
The next section is a mix of lanes, riverside paths and Reading, a surprisingly cycle-friendly city.
Push through and onto the quieter lanes and Thames path which cuts through the tranquil King’s
Heads south to Swallowfield, Riseley to pick up what used to be the Roman “motorway” known as the Devil’s Highway dating back to c. 4,700AD.
Gravel and narrow roads lead onto Wellington Country Park and Thatcher’s Ford.
Hazeley Heath, an RSPB nature reserve is home to some very special wildlife and some sweet single-track.
The scenic Basingstoke Canal towpath passes under Barley Mow Bridge and Chequers Bridge.
An optional deviation to Ceasar’s Camp, a Bronze Age hill fort also features some spectacular views over Aldershot, Swinley Forest with its MTB trails.
Tree-lined bridleways take you south and onto motte and bailey Farnham Castle.
Wind through pristine estates leading to the Cistercian monastery at Waverley Abbey, through Farnham Heath Nature Reserve on gravel paths and onto quiet Surrey lanes.
Now in the company of the Wey River follow a short detour to a gem of a campsite for your 3rd and final night!
Day 4: Dockenfiled to Winchester: 61 miles, 4,125 ft climbing
Coming into land on your last day!
An early visual treat along the River Wey are the Fernsham Great Ponds.
Follow a rather special bridleway which forms part of the Devil’s Punchbowl loop into Thursley Common Nature Reserve.
Surrey Hills including Beacon Hill carry you along rough tree-lined tracks - topping out at Hindhead Common with its stunning views.
This is Devil’s Punch Bowl country where you can soak up the spectacular scenery and far-reaching views. Legend has it that this is where here the Devil would torment Thor, the God of Thunder.
Join The Shipwright’s Way before you get to the Torberry Hill Fort and you hit the steep climb up through Queen Elizabeth’s Country Park.
Rejoin King Alfred’s Way where it merges with the South Downs Way.
Soak up the views across Meon Valley and the coming roller coaster landscape including Wether Down which is fun and scary at the same time!
Crawl up to the Iron Age Hill fort - Old Winchester and sweep on down Meon Valley on the repurposed railway line to Exton into Temple Valley.
At Fawley Down cross over the old Roman road at Morestead, rising on the gravel which is the Pilgrim’s Trail.
Your last few miles feature Plague Pits between the walls of Catherine’s Hill and Twyford Down to the River Itchen and the Itchen Way once a railway. You'll be relieved to see Winchester’s wharf area with its old warehouses, the restored City Mill and Wolvesey Castle.
Swing into the High Street with its stunning Georgian and Victorian features where you'll be welcomed by the familiar sight of an old friend - The Great King Alfred.
Celebrate in the company of a King! Wild Cycles will be there to congratulate you after your epic journey and reunite you with your belongings back at Winchester Station!!!
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Bookings are flexible and refundable.
*Credit and thanks to Cycling UK who has laboured for years to create this classic circular route. It cleverly connects existing paths, bridleways and trails such as the Thames Path, The Ridgeway and South Downs Way and facilitated changes in the use of certain footpaths to allow cycling.