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Cycling in the Cotswolds

21 half and full-day cycle routes, and a 4-day 200km Tour of the Cotswolds

Guidebook of 21 half and full-day cycle routes, and one 4-day 200km tour of the Cotswolds. All the routes described are suitable for hybrid or mountain bikes, and most routes have an on-road alternative. The Cotswolds boasts cycle-friendly lanes, rolling countryside, canal paths and bridleways perfect for exploration by bike.


routes are best ridden in dry conditions (usually mid-spring to mid-autumn); winter/prolonged wet conditions can get make them very boggy/flooded


Stratford-upon-Avon, Shipston-on-Stour, Burford-on-the-Water, Winchcombe, Cirencester, Fairford, Stow-on-the-Wold, Shipton-under-Wychwood, Cheltenham, Stroud, Malmesbury, Bradford-onAvon/Bath


routes are graded moderate to challenging, although very short off-road sections may be challenging at all grades for those new to off-road riding; mountain bikes are recommended, but alternatives are given for road bikes wherever possible; basic level of fitness required for all routes, more for longer/multiday routes

Must See

old-world charm, local honey-coloured limestone, thatched roofs and half-timbered buildings in impossibly pretty villages; wide variety of history from neolithic through Roman times to Middle Ages, long barrows, wool towns and ancient markets; Two Tunnels cycle route and a 4-day tour of whole area
31 Mar 2014
21 Nov 2017
17.20 x 11.60 x 1.35cm

A guidebook to 21 half and full day cycle routes as well as a 4-day 200km cycle tour of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Travelling primarily on a network of quiet lanes and canal paths, the routes are centred around Stratford-upon-Avon, Shipston-on-Stour, Winchcombe, Cheltenham and more.

The cycle routes range from 14 to 66 km (9-41 miles) and are arranged in order of difficulty. All the routes described are suitable for mountain or hybrid bikes with on-road alternatives provided for most routes.

  • Clear custom-drawn 1:100,000 maps
  • Route summary table with information on accommodation and cycle hire 
  • GPX files available to download 
  • Information on bike maintenance for beginners 
  • Notes on geology, history, and wildlife in the area  

Table of Contents
Chiz Dakin Cicerone author DAKIN

By Chiz Dakin

Chiz Dakin’s cycle touring adventures almost happened by accident, when after a local photography trip by bike she realised that she’d done 50 miles in a single day with a reasonably heavy load. This led to the disconnected logic that if she could do that once, she was now ready to tackle multi-day cycle touring, and two weeks later set out on the Land’s End to John o’ Groats route.

Since then she’s done several other multi-day trips including a pioneering Welsh coast cycle route (600 miles and 16km of ascent) but still maintains that you don’t need to be seriously fit or fast to enjoy long multi-day routes. (She certainly makes no claim to being either!) She has also recently won an award for her photography.

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