This was a ride of three parts. Up first was riding for an hour or so on the country lanes, fortunately with a tail wind. Rolling through the small villages such as East Coker and Yetminster was easy going and in Chetnole, I aimed for the first off road section.
The first section with a sign saying ‘deep ford – unsuitable for motor vehicles’. This is very true. I had to wade a part of this and it was at least shin deep for 20 meters. Coming out the other side there is some gravel, broken up by a few gates, followed by a muddy section that had been chewed up by farm vehicles which made me feel like I was back to riding in Winter. Definitely a section for the more adventurous riders.
After a bit more riding on the roads, I came to the next off road section. This is great ride. It starts with double track that turns into a wide, rough track at the end of the climb, but it is easily rideable on a gravel bike. Then after the a climb there is a fast flat section along the top of the hill with great views over to the right. It spilts after a k or two, and taking the gate to the right you drop down a chalky singletrack descent that can get pretty wild on a gravel bike. Passing the gate halfway down, it starts to flatten, but it is over grown it still keeps you on your toes before you end up at a farm.
The longest section of off road comes up next, climbing up on Wether Hill before following some farm tracks through the fields at the top and dropping you to another farm where another climb awaits. The climb up Wether hill is made up of quite large gravel so whilst being short it will still have you breathing hard at the top.
The next few kilometers through the fields vary surface views but the views never disappoint. The descent from these fields starts mellow, but it soon pitches on a fast gravel track, and keeping a gravel bike under control down here can be a challenge. Keep an eye for big rocks as punctures are a very real threat down here. This section is finished off with a great chalky climb on another farm track. It’s worth stopping at the gateway halfway up to take in the view. The section finishes past some farm builds before popping you out on a quiet country lane.
After a fast descent and short climb on the road, you reach the final section. A bridleway Melbury Park has varied surfaces, short sharp climbs are fast descent. The surface can change very quickly for fast gravel to large stones so you have to be on the ball. Make sure you close the gates as often you’re riding through sheep fields.
Back on the roads after this, I made the most of the huge tailwind and put some effort through the pedals, flying home with a few personal records. All in all, a very varied and successful ride.