Bennett’s Bike Rides!

This week, John Bennett shares with us some stunning routes from England.

A favourite around the FulGaz office this week is Tess of the d’Urbervilles which is on the longer side but features some classic English countryside, a few little pinches, and is a welcome challenge to test the legs.

You can find all of these under NEW in the FulGaz app.

LLYN BRIANNE SOUTH

Starting at the lonely Soar y Mynydd chapel, we hug the contours of the Llyn Brianne reservoir with its spectacular backdrop of forest and open moorland before plunging down to finish the ride at the lower dam. This route also features on the Dragon Devil sportive.

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14.4km
DISTANCE
0:39:13
DURATION
391m
ELEVATION

PITSFORD WATER

Today, Northamptonshire is best known as the home of the British motor racing industry. This ride, however, passes through the somewhat quieter lanes of the undulating Northamptonshire countryside beginning and ending on the famous Althorp estate, childhood home of Princess Diana. Under crystal clear skies we ride the rolling roads around Pitsford Water, passing through many honey coloured stone villages with quaint cottages and thatched roofs. There are no long climbs but plenty of short sharp digs totalling over 700m to keep you honest.

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35.62km
DISTANCE
1:10:16
DURATION
447m
ELEVATION

CANDLE IN THE WIND

31 August 1997 is a date that is gone down in history as one of those “Where were you” moments when a shocked nation mourned the death of a royal princess. On this ride we cycle through the countryside around the childhood home of Diana, Princess of Wales. The beautiful sleepy villages made of quintessential English honey coloured stone belie the turbulence with which her life was passed. A mainly gentle ride, there is the occasional short climb to test the legs before finishing with a lingering view of her final resting place in the grounds of her beloved Althorp.

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32.32km
DISTANCE
1:06:07
DURATION
394m
ELEVATION

THE ELAN VALLEY

Known as the Welsh Lake District, this spectacular ride through the Elan Valley circumnavigates all five of the area’s lakes while also tackling the tough ascent of the 5k 250m Penrhiw-wen (Welsh official climb), before returning to the Caban Coch dam.

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27.99km
DISTANCE
1:07:30
DURATION
423m
ELEVATION

TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES

Starting in the heart of the Blackmore Vale, scene of Nastassja Kinski’s Tess seduction by the unscrupulous Alec d’Urberville, a gentle start leads to the brutal 10% Okeford Hill, Cat 2 climb. A fast descent takes us to Blandford Forum, a town literally built by a couple of Bastards (architects John and William Bastard rebuilt the town in the 18th century). A long flat section sweeps down to the historic town of Wimborne Minster, passing through one of the most spectacular beech avenues in southern England. More rolling countryside, amid pretty thatched villages take us back to the start at Iwerne Courtney.

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67.267km
DISTANCE
2:28:23
DURATION
769m
ELEVATION

BLACK MOUNTAIN (OC-95)

This ride takes in the Black Mountain, one of the UK’s most iconic and toughest climbs. Starting from beneath the Black Mountain range on the western escarpment of the Brecon Beacons National Park don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by the gently rolling start. After 10Km the road starts heading up ever upward at the start of the 7km 5% climb. After reaching the summit, we turn and descend northwards to enjoy the expansive views of the northern Beacons. A sting in the tail awaits however, as we climb back up the 7k 250m Pont ar Llechau climb to return to the ride’s starting point with majestic views of the Carmarthenshire Fans (beacons). Official Climbs #95.

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40.05km
DISTANCE
1:34:41
DURATION
779m
ELEVATION

FATHER BROWN AND THE DARLING BUDS OF MAY

In Spring, Japan has its cherry blossom but in England, the hawthorn is king. Take a short ride through a Cotswold landscape clothed in spectacular May blossom before finishing at Blockley, home of TV’s celebrated monastic detective.

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13.28km
DISTANCE
0:30:21
DURATION
221m
ELEVATION

RHINEFIELD

A leisurely ride through the heart of the ancient New Forest showcases the different landscapes for which this national park is famous: heathland, grassland and of course woodland with the ubiquitous ponies and donkeys never far away from the roadside. We pass the entrance to Rhinefield House at 7Km, the site was originally a hunting lodge for William the Conqueror. And look out for the bizarre “Portuguese Fireplace” and Canadian War Memorial at the end of the ride.

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45.63km
DISTANCE
1:32:18
DURATION
420m
ELEVATION