A stone-cold knockout ride
Jonathan Manning passes through picturesque Cotswold villages and ticks off some great attractions along the way
The clue is in the names – the ‘Stan’ in Stanton and Stanway stands for stone, the gorgeous honeyed limestone that gives the most beautiful Cotswolds villages their dreamy appearance. Add in thatched roofs and mullioned windows, and the succession of cottages, pubs and stately homes will have many visitors scrabbling for estate agent details.
This ride is a perfect introduction to the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a landscape from a fairytale setting with rolling hills separating pretty villages. Furthermore, being slightly off the beaten track means you won’t have to weave between coach parties as you pedal along blissfully quiet lanes.
If all this sounds too cute, you could add an edge to your ride by debating whether Stanton, Stanway, or Snowshill is more attractive. In a game of Top Trumps, all three would be formidable cards, with Stanton scoring highly for its ancient properties and The Mount pub that gazes out towards the Malvern Hills and Black Mountains of Wales.
The estate village of Stanway could easily contend with Stanway House for wow factor with its gravity-fed fountain that shoots a jet of water 300 feet into the air, as well as the stunning thatched cricket pavilion, donated by Peter Pan author JM Barrie.
And Snowshill has an unspoilt 15th-century pub with far-reaching views, as well as the slightly insane attraction of Snowshill Manor (nationaltrust.org.uk), home to the eclectic and eccentric collections of Charles Paget Wade, whose magpie eye gathered curiosities (including bicycles) from the four corners of the world. It’s bizarre and brilliant in equal measure, with the added bonus of bike racks in the car park.
From Snowshill it’s downhill all the way (in a good way!) back to Broadway and the Club site.
You can download this route from our dedicated Strava page here.
- Turn left out of Broadway Club Campsite, go under a railway bridge, then turn right immediately into the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway car park and ride to the far end. Turn right and continue into Childswickham, looking out for a narrow turn on the left.
- 1.4km – Turn left along Chapel Lane and at the end of the bridleway follow the road around to the right on to Vicarage Lane, passing a black and white Tudor-style house on the right. Continue to a triangle of grass and turn left, with a small stream down to the right. Turn right at the war memorial, and continue to a T-junction.
- 2.2km – Turn left at the T-junction and continue to the next one. Turn left, signposted to Buckland and Broadway. Continue to a third T-junction at the B4632
- 4.8km – Turn right at the junction, signposted to Winchcombe and Cheltenham. In 1.5km look out for a turn on the left to Stanton and Mount Inn.
- 6.3km – Turn left to Stanton and follow the road right through the village. On the far side of the village look for a turning left to Stanway and Stow-on-the-Wold.
- 7.8km – Turn left to Stanway and continue through the village to a T-junction with the B4077.
- 10km – Turn left at the T-junction to Stow, and begin a long, stiff climb for more than 2.7km.
- 12.7km – 12.7km – At the top of the hill (opposite bridleway signs), turn left along a road that appears to be almost going back on itself. Continue climbing this quiet road until it bends 90° to the right.
- 14.2km – At the bend, turn left along the track, signposted ‘Winchcombe Way’ and ‘Unsuitable for motor vehicles’. The surface is broken in places so go carefully. Continue to a T-junction.
- 16.2km – At the T-junction turn left and continue into Snowshill. In the village take the left turn to Snowshill and Broadway. Pass Snowshill Manor and descend all the way to a T-junction in Broadway.
- 21km – Turn left at the T-junction and follow the road back to the Club site.
About the route
- Start/finish: Broadway Club site, Station Rd, Broadway, Worcestershire WR12 7DH.
- Distance: 22km /13.75 miles.
Time: 2 hours (plus time for visits).
- Level: Suitable for fitter cyclists – the climb from Stanway to Snowshill is reasonably long.
- Terrain: Asphalt all the way but some of the roads are more like tracks.
- Landscape: Pretty countryside of rolling hills, broadleaf woodland and gorgeous, golden stone houses.
- Refreshments: Mount Inn, Stanton; National Trust café at Snowshill Manor; Snowshill Arms in Snowshill.