Checkpoint Numbers & Names
Wiltshire 1 – Ramsbury
Berkshire 2 – Hungerford Common
Berkshire 3 – Fawley
Berkshire 4 – Walbury Hill
My fifth day on the BCQ was to be my first day where I couldn’t get to the start point or any checkpoints under my own steam, so with one of the checkpoints being quite close to Hungerford train station I took the option to start the day on the train.
So, after an early start to avoid the worst of the rush hour I arrived at Hungerford station shortly before 9am ready to start the day that would see me tick off my first entire county.
The first Checkpoint on Hungerford Common should have been reasonably easy to find, but was actually more difficult than I imagined. The Question involves locating a line of trees planted to commemorate the Millennium and provide some information from the commemorative plaque. Finding the trees was easy, but the plaque took some finding. Eventually after getting off the bike and doing a bit off rambling the plaque was unearthed in the overgrown long grass about half way along the line of trees. With photos duly snapped it was time to re-mount and head south to Walbury Hill and checkpoint two.
Walbury Hill is only about five or six miles away from Hungerford, but it took a big effort to get there – the route itself started out pleasant enough with a gentle ride ride through some nice country lanes but after about four miles, just after the village of Lower Green, the road started to take an upward slope that was the beginning of Walbury Hill but this hill went on and on, and at 14% in some parts the steepest I’d ridden on the BCQ (again).
Once I finally reached the top (after a little walking!) I needed to stop and take a drink and catch my breath which I did at the entrance to the car park, this turned out to be quite fortunate as I luckily spotted the checkpoint which I could have easily missed, on the opposite side of the road.
Having caught my breath it was time to turn northwards (and downhill) through Inkpen Common and Kintbury before a tricky crossing over the A4. Once over the A4 it was a (relatively) gentle climb through Wickham, Shefford Woodlands, and along the A338 until I arrived at the monument that forms the checkpoint at Fawley. As this was exactly the half-way point of the ride I opted to stop here for a lunch snack and rest for a while having just taken the photo of my sixth Berkshire checkpoint thus completing my first county.
Once rested I continued the ride with a loop around Fawley and South Fawley and back along the A338 to Great Shefford where the route turned me westwards out to the country villages of East Garston, Eastbury and Woodlands St. Mary and downhill through Whittonditch and across the county border in to Ramsbury.
Finding the village hall with the plaques in Ramsbury was easy enough, but in keeping with the rest of the day there was an added complication in that there were two types of plaques on the wall, not knowing which one was the correct one I took photos of all of them. At least I could write them all up on the question card.
The planned route from Ramsbury to Hungerford was to be a gentle flat course along the Kennet Valley and along the back of Littlecote Park & House which is well worth stopping off at. The route was a little rough in places and used some paths so I wouldn’t recommend this section if you’re using a skinny tyres road bike but my slick touring tyres were fine on the hybrid. After five short miles it was back in to Hungerford to catch the train home.
Miles Cycled – 42
Checkpoints Visited – 4
Total Miles Cycled – 205
Total Checkpoints Visited – 9
Click here to download a gpx file for this ride