Summers are made for long days in the saddle. Hours of daylight, warmer temperatures and beautiful sun kissed views make riding around England so desirable this time of year. I have a route that will take you on a journey through England and Wales, over famous bridges and rolling hills.
-Coffee Stops: 2
(Strava Route Map)
We started out from our home town of cheltenham meaning the main focus and name of the ride was at the half way point. However you can start this route from anywhere as the picturesque scenery just keeps on coming. 30km into the ride you begin your climb into the Forest of Dean. Its a long old slog that is broken up by the odd decent or change of direction. It’s a 10km climb until you reach Coleford. The Welsh border comes at the 60km mark with the majority of climbing done for the day.
The day was warm and humid, we were in between rainstorms though the day itself remained dry. After a steep winding decent that I would not be a fan of in the rain, you come into the valley. With the river alongside, the air grew thick and clung to our lungs. There are no real climbs here, just a gentle undulating road that is covered by trees and hemmed with rock faces. Wetter days would have made the road slippery. Head over the bridge and on through the valley to Tintern Tearooms.
The selection of cakes and drinks is great and the prices are reasonable. We decided not to stay too long here as we had a stop planned for lunch around 20-30km away. Previously an old rail station that has been converted, the cafe sits in a little garden with the option to remain indoors on cooler days.
After stopping the road winds out of the valley and into the small town of Tintern. The old abbey stands tall and looks perfect against the forest in the background. Heading onwards you begin to make your way to the Severn Bridge.
This was our first time crossing the bridge, and to be honest it was not what I had expected. It shakes, a lot! We had stopped to take photos and quickly realised we wanted to move again. It is a little unsettling at first, so after reassuring ourselves it was not going to break under the weight we carried on. Pick your days, the wind plays a part here. I would not fancy it on a particularly breezy day.
We stopped for lunch in Berkeley, a small cycling friendly village with a couple of good coffee shops to grab some well needed lunch. I recommend the Berkeley Tea Rooms, they have a nice assortment of cakes, sandwiches and even some hot food if you fancy it.
Homeward bound and with 60km to go, the road pushes you on through the town of Stonehouse and on towards Gloucester. The road home feels easy, with fast rolling roads and smooth tarmac.
We took the ride at a leisurely enjoyable pace, and as we peddle our way with a final 10km to go, we start to relive our day. Discussing the places we have ridden through and the things we have seen.
I throughly recommend you give this route a try! You won’t regret it.