The Cork Board

Cycling in The Cotswolds

Exercise has been a low priority recently. Other things happening around, good stuff, but still not exercise. So after a respite of about 3 weeks or more I thought it time to get back on my bike. Many people visit the Cotswolds every year as a holiday stop-over. It allows them to indulge in some celebrity spotting (if they’re lucky) and they can wander round shops full of junk masquerading as antiques. The real antique shops have polished wooden doors and shaky shopkeepers in pince-nez glasses and are engulfed in silence. The yesteryear stuff shops are crammed with everything from  Squirrel Nutkin cereal bowls to postcards of the Beatles and………….stuff.

The Cotswolds also has, slipping silently between its cream and glorious piles, miles and miles of country roads linking the main arterial roads. Lithe concrete veins, essential, secret.

I’m still discovering these – and this is where my bike rides come in. This morning’s exercise is a prime example.


From home and into my first village, Fairford. A lovely thriving village with a “pinch point” in the main road only wide enough for a cart, just about, has a Market Square,  and stands on the River Coln. Fairford floods.

Then into the country proper heading north to Quenington where The Keepers Arms keeps a good beer and food and is very busy in summer.


Up the hill and through Quenington and down the other side into Coln St. Aldwyns.

Coln St.Aldwyn's

The valley between Coln and Quenington is quintessential green England and is beautiful. A good walking spot. The New Inn at Coln is excellent. Food ………mmuh (kisses fingers).

Out up through the top of Coln and onwards towards Northleach. The road undulates between fields of waving corn. I drop down into another quiet valley and come across a hawk standing proud on the outstretched grey limb of a dead tree. A treat to be in his countryside.

Before reaching Northleach I make a sharp right and head down towards Aldsworth. I startle a gorgeous mottled deer in a field and she heads for the cover of the hedgerow and then I too am hidden as I climb through dark woods to the brow of the hill and then down into Aldsworth. A lovely little village nestling quietly in it’s own space.

Sherbourne Arms, Aldsworth (copyright

(Sherbourne Arms, Aldsworth……..copyright al partington )

A quick U-turn and back up through a hamlet called Cockle Barrow and back towards Coln once again. Coln to Quenington and I take the Cirencester road out which will afford me the chance to turn south towards Marston Meysey. This is an old photograph but MM is exactly the same today.

Marston Meysey, then.............and now

The Old Spotted Cow at Marston Meysey is a super pub with great food and beer.

The Old Spotted Cow, Marston Meysey (from

From MM it’s about 4 miles home. The route is a circuitous figure of 8 and about 28 miles in total. I think I saw about 30 cars in all and most of them were at the rare points where the route traverses the arterials.

I cycled this route during the morning but having listed the pubs to visit en-route it’s a definite that I’m going to repeat it one summer’s evening. Have a go yourself if you’re around these parts.

30 thoughts on “Cycling in The Cotswolds”

  1. Looks like a lovely way to get your exercise. Really enjoyed the pictures. Hope you go back to enjoy the pubs.


      1. I can imagine!
        The pictures make me think of all the Jane Austens I have ever read. Huge fan! I secretly think I’m more an Englishwoman than Pakistani 😉
        And I have never been to England in my life.

  2. Aahhhh, these photos are beautiful, as are your descriptions! I just did half an hour of yoga for the first time in ages (I’ve also let exercise go by the wayside) so my muscles and spine are especially appreciative of your evocation of movement and air. Having never been to England or anywhere in Europe, it astonishes me that villages like these exist. I can’t get enough of gazing at them!

    1. These little villages exist all over the UK. Mini-sagas every one ! If you ever make it to the UK Lisa you must get out of the cities. The countryside can be so beautiful and the great thing is you can get lost in them……… far away from the travails of Government and the world.

  3. Nice pics Al.. I like the 3rd one most.. This seems to be a fun way to exercise but in my case i would prefer it in the evenings than early morning… Roads are wet… Must have rained heavily… Have a great time… 🙂

  4. Great way to get some sport into your life. I also took about three weeks off due to laziness and the heat. Finally got out on the road today for a good 6k run. Life just feels much better after a good fitness kicking. Love your photo’s.

  5. Absolutely gorgeous .. that first photo .. I could gaze at for hours; so tranquil looking!

    What a fun way to get your exercise, although I’d have to stop at the Pub for a pint on the way back (maybe not in a.m. but you get the idea) Cheers! MJ

  6. I visited the Cotswolds many years ago. I was there on a tour bus, and I remember it stopping suddenly in the middle of the street. As we peered out the window, we saw a row of ducklings – mama at the helm – crossing the roadway. Our driver was even flashing his brights at oncoming traffic, to make sure everyone took note of the family crossing the way. We gave him a polite applause when everyone was safely out of the street.

    1. Hahaha, that’s great, Aubrey. Yep, that’s gonna happen around here. I haven’t had to stop for the toad migration yet though. Sitting watching toads hop across the road must be surreal. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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