Cycling in the Test Valley

This is such a beautiful area. The cool, clear chuckling River Test, sparkling in the sun, meandering its way to Southampton Water and so beloved of fly fishers.  Wooded valleys, rolling countryside, Pretty little villages with chocolate box cottages. Great pubs that will often serve a decent meal or a snack for a sensible price.

River Test at Forton” hspace=
River Test at Forton (not on a public footpath)
Copyright L.Temple

Ducks, moorhens and graceful swans dot the river, birds in the bushes and trees, wildflowers in the meadows, along the banks and the roads. Weeping willows adorn the riverbanks. A trout rises for a fly.

Got the kids or camping and have some bread left over you do not want to take back - why not feed the ducks, very pleasant occupation!!!

This is take your time country. Spring sees daffodils and the shy snowdrops, trees budding to show forty shades of green, rustling in the bushes as birds build their nests. Summer in all its glory, little fluffy clouds in the sunlit sky, the countryside green and lush sprinkled with those wildflowers and country cottage gardens a hive of colour. Autumn is golden corn for harvest, red apples in the cottage gardens, trees turning from green to their autumn loveliness. In winter the skeletons of the trees climb to the sky showing their wonderful architecture, muddy lanes perhaps, snow changing the whole scene. Whatever the time of year, there is a cycle ride to bring joy to the heart.

There are cycleways for all abilities from the Very Challenging to the family outing along the Test Valley.

Handy accessories for the back pack are an Ordnance Survey map, a camera and/or camcorder and binoculars!!!

NB: The leaflets from the Test Valley Borough Council for the routes below no longer exist. The page is left up for now as the suggestions are helpful and perhaps the routes can be planned with an Ordnance Survey Map.

The new routes and maps can be found here

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Very challenging

Route A. Starts and finishes in Vernham Dean Sports field. 22 miles of off road cycling, very hilly and lovely countryside.

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Route W. Starts and finishes in Vernham Dean Sports field. Eleven and half miles of an undulating, off road, circular route passing through the very pretty villages of Upton, Ibthorpe, Linkholt and Littledown.Don't be fooled by the start - it gets quite challenging!!!

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Route B. 52 miles, covering most of the Test and Bourne Valley plus. Make a short break of this rather special ride. Starts and finishes in the Sports field at Vernham Dean. Wanders through the villages of Upton, Hurstbourne Tarrant, St Marybourne, Hurstbourne Priors.

The road from Hurstbourne Priors to Longparish
Downhill chute from Hurstbourne Priors to Longparish
Photo © Copyright L Temple

Longparish, Wherwell, Fullerton, Longstock, Stockbridge, Houghton and Mottisfont. (Do not forget the National Trust property at Mottisfont Abbey, makes a good break.) Returning north again the trail follows through Broughton, the Wallops, Grateley, Amport, East Cholderton, Thruxton, Fyfield, Ragged Appleshaw and Clanville. Beautiful.

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Moderate to Challenging

Route V. Either the staggering twelve and half, or the shorter nine and half miles. Very steep in places with wonderful views of the surrounding countryside.

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Route X1 From Broughton 12 miles, circular, off road. Links with Route X. Passes through Broughton Down Nature Reserve and Nether Wallop back to Broughton over a downland trail.

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Chocolate Box cottage in the Test Valley” hspace=
Chocolate Box Cottage in the Test Valley

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Colin Smith and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence. www.geograph

Route C. On road, 33 miles starting and finishing at the Wherwell Sports Pavilion.

Circles Andover. Follows the banks of the River Test until the trail crosses the A3057, then the River Anton to Upper Clatford. After crossing the A343 it passes through pretty Abbotts Ann and Monxton. Between the A303 and the A342 the trail visits Thruxton and Fyfield. After Ragged Appleshaw, Clanville and Penton Mewsey the trail again crosses the A343 north of Andover this time. The trail returns to the B3048 at St Marybourne via the villages of Upper Enham, Little London and Smannell. The road crosses the B3400 at Hurstbourne Priors and follows the River Test again through Longparish over the A303 and back to Wherwell. Very beautiful ride in Spring, Summer and Autumn.

Route Y. On road through quiet lanes. 25 miles, starting and finishing at Broughton Village Hall. Passes through the Wallops and Grateley to Monxton. Starting south again the trail travels to Abbotts Ann over the A343 to Fullerton. Back along the River Test to Longstock and Stockbridge. Over the A30 the trail continues along the river to Houghton and from there back to Broughton. Take care with the main road junctions.

Route D. 22 miles on road starting and finishing at Kings Somborne Village Hall. Goes through pretty Crawley, the chocolate box village of Wherwell, passes the lovely Longstock Water Gardens, Houghton and Horsebridge back to Kings Somborne.

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By the River Test at Mottisfont Abbey” hspace=
By the River Test at Mottisfont Abbey
Copyright M.Temple

Route D1. 15 miles, starting and finishing at Kings Somborne Village Hall. Passes through Horsebridge, over the Testway family bike route then follows the River Test to Mottisfont. This pretty village has the National Trust property Mottisfont Abbey complete with its lovely rose garden - well worth a visit. The trail then passes Dunbridge station, the nearest to Mottisfont Abbey, and continues to Michelmersh. After Eldon it is downhill with sweeping views back to Kings Somborne.

Route E. Circular from and to the lay by on the Stockbridge Road at Timsbury. 8 miles on road. Not for children as part of it travels along the fast A3057 on the outward leg. Take a picnic as the trail travels alongside the beautiful River Test on the inward leg. The National Trust property of Mottisfont Abbey is along the route.

Route F. Circular from and to the lay by on the Stockbridge Road at Timsbury. 12 miles on road. Not suitable for children as part of the route passes along the A3057.The trail runs from Timsbury to Braishfield passing Hillier Gardens and on to Kings Somborne. It then passes through Horsebridge and over the River Test before travelling south again to Mottisfont and the Abbey. From there it is a run home to Timsbury.

Route X. 11 miles off road, starting and finishing at Broughton Village Hall. Everyone can enjoy this one, a route for a family day out. Children should be supervised as there is a busy road for a short stretch and other hazards. Follows partly along the lovely Testway cycle trail. Stockbridge is about the halfway point for the inevitable ice cream.

Route X2. Circular,10 miles mainly off road, starting and finishing at Stockbridge Church. One for those who do not like hills. The trail passes along part of the old Sprat and Winkle Railway track past Leckford. A run then to Longstock House and out over a byway. A short stretch can be a bit rough going along here and some cyclists may prefer to push their bike through this bit. Back on to a track for a short stretch and a possible detour to Danebury Iron Age Hill Fort. Back again on the byway until the T Junction and turn right back towards Stockbridge along the road and over the bridge.

Route Z, start and finish at Lockerley Village Hall, 12 miles on road with not many hills and those not too bad. The trail makes for Carters Clay and down over the A27 to East Wellow. Here lies Florence Nightingale in the churchyard of St Margarets. It is a very simple headstone with the inscription F N 1820-1910. Her grave is amongst the rest of her family. Continue down to the T Junction and turn right if you want a cuppa or an ice cream. If not turn left towards Wellow Vineyard and over the A27 to Awbridge. Continue to Dunbridge and back to Lockerley.

Route Z1. 10 miles on road, start and finish at Lockerley Village Hall. Not completely flat, but gentle enough. The trail wends its way over an old canal bridge at Lockerley Water Farm to East Tytherley and Stony Batter. From there it runs north, turns west and then south again to tiny West Tytherley with its pretty cottages and houses. From this village continue on to Frenchmoor, a deserted medieval village. Cross the railway with real care. Back through East Dean to Lockerley.

Test Valley Borough Council do have further information but their current information is not as helpful as the old ones and does not include the above trails

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Other Pages that may be of interest

Cycling in Wessex

Cycling in Southwest England

Cycling in Hampshire

Cycling in Devon

Cycling Dorchester to Lyme Regis

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The River Bourne in the lovely village of St Marybourne” hspace=
The River Bourne in the lovely village of St Marybourne

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Chris Talbot and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence. www.geograph

Useful Information

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Public Transport

Traveline is a very useful resource for public transport throughout Wessex, even local buses. There are other pages on Traveline for other parts of the country.

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Longstock Water Garden” hspace=
Longstock Water Garden

Cottage in Penton Mewsey” hspace=
Cottage in Penton Mewsey