Cycle route from Royal Vale Caravan Park
Ditch the car and visit the world famous Jodrell Bank Observatory by bike on this easy ride from Royal Vale Caravan Park in Cheshire.
It seems incongruous to watch sheep grazing in a field while behind them the giant Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory explores the distant corners of the universe. The telescope is so powerful it could detect a mobile phone on Mars!
The Grade 1 listed structure – the third largest of its type in the world – has played such an important role in space discovery that the entire observatory became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2019, a rare accolade usually reserved for places such as the Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal.
The recognition acknowledges how Jodrell Bank’s radio astronomy has furthered human knowledge with the discovery of quasars, pulsars, gravitational lenses and even the fading glow of the Big Bang. While those sheep munch away, scientists are exploring the origins of the cosmos 14 billion years ago.
A series of pavilions within the observatory grounds will quench the thirst for knowledge among any stargazers. The orrery – a clockwork scale model of the solar system – is particularly engaging, although cyclists will be equally delighted to discover the dedicated bike sheds and excellent Planet Pavilion Café.
It would be inconceivable to stay at Royal Vale Caravan Park and not visit Jodrell Bank. This short bike ride is the ideal way to get there (and avoid parking fees).
Much of the route is on the quiet National Cycle Route 573 and, after the pretty village of Goostrey, the giant Lovell Telescope soon looms tantalisingly into view above the hedgerows. There are no hills to worry about, navigation is easy and only a brief spell on the A50 will interrupt your thoughts of worlds far, far away!
You can download this route from our dedicated Strava page here.
1 From Royal Vale Caravan Park turn right along the A50. In 300m turn left along Booth Bed Lane, following National Cycle Route 573. Stay on this road for 3km to reach a crossroads in Goostrey, with The Trading Post shop on the right-hand side.
2 3.3km – Turn left at the crossroads along Main Road. Continue for 1.5km through Goostrey until you reach a church on the left
3 4.9km – Turn left just before the church, down Church Bank. Stay on this road, which becomes Blackden Lane then Bomish Lane, ignoring all side roads. In 3.5km the road bends sharply to the right then crosses a railway bridge. The entrance to Jodrell Bank Observatory is almost immediately on the right.
4 8.8km – After visiting Jodrell Bank (the drive is about 600m long, so adds 1.2km to the overall route), return to Bomish Lane and turn left. Retrace the route over the railway bridge and continue for just over 300m to reach a 90 ̊ bend to the left.
5 9.1km – Turn right at the bend, passing Bellmarsh Farm on the left, and follow Blackden Lane to reach a T-junction in 1km.
6 10.2km – Turn right at the junction, signposted to Peover Heath. Continue for almost 2km to reach an offset crossroads.
7 11.9km – Turn left at the crossroads, signposted to Knutsford. Continue for 500m to reach a T-junction and turn left along Stocks Lane, signposted to Knutsford and Holmes Chapel. Stay on this road for 1.5km to reach a T-junction with the A50 by the Whipping Stocks Inn.
8 14km – Turn left along the A50 for 2.5km to reach Royal Vale Caravan Park on the right-hand side. There is a cycle path in places to avoid riding in the traffic.
About the route
- Start/finish: Royal Vale Caravan Park, London Road, Allostock, Knutsford, Cheshire WA16 9JD.
- Distance: 10.25 miles/16.4km.
- Time: 1.5 hours (plus time to visit Jodrell Bank).
- Level: Suitable for all adult cyclists. This is a short, flat route but it does follow the busy A50 for 2.5km where care is required.
- Terrain: Asphalt all the way. A road bike or hybrid is ideal.
- Landscape: A rural landscape with the occasional pocket of woodland.
- Refreshments: Shops, Crown Inn, Red Lion and Pastimes café in Goostrey; the Planet Pavilion Café at Jodrell Bank.