• Discover
  • Route planner
  • Features

The Old Chalk Way

Ben Wormald

The Old Chalk Way

Bike Touring Collection by Ben Wormald



51:14 h

376 mi

19,900 ft

The Old Chalk Way is a 575 kilometre (375 mile) bikepacking route from south coast to North Sea along the chalk vein of Britain’s oldest road.

We’ve pieced together the best bits of the Greater Ridgeway to create a coast to coast all-road or gravel route to embody the history of this ancient highway, and we think the best scenery and most enjoyable riding in Southern England.

Expect a mix of well trodden and signposted bridleways, white gravel chalk paths and overgrown grassy desire lines. You'll find rolling green hills, ancient woodland, two seas, ancient market towns, Bronze Age round barrows, Iron Age hill forts and plenty of red kites.

Bike choice:

Chalk can be a challenging substance to ride on. When its dry and smooth it rolls like tarmac, when wet and rough it’s a tractionless quagmire. Tracks are made up of a mix of gravel, farm tracks, poorly maintained paths but it’s not shy of tarmac either. If its dry, there’s minimal gnar so technically very easy and open to all! Large sections of this route if wet are not for the faint hearted.

Cyclocross bikes, gravel bikes and mountain bikes all would be suitable. If it's wet you will want big rubber, knobbles and extra clearance for that mud. We reckon 35mm width tyre minimum.


If you’re riding the full route, you’ll need to keep in mind that Sailsbury Plain training ground is only passable on certain days, as the route passes though the ‘Larkhill’ site. Find info about firing days here: gov.uk/government/publications/salisbury-plain-training-area-spta-firing-times . This is very important for the purposes of not getting shot or arrested as live firing is taking place. We don’t need that on our hands.

There are loads of train stations along the route so you can split up the adventure if you don’t have time for it all in one go. Axminster, Gillingham, Swindon, Princes Risborough, Luton, Royston, Thetford and Kings Lynn are stations all either on or just off the route.

Find the full route here: komoot.com/tour/508391363

About us:
Inspired by Second City Divide and the Badger Divide, we thought the South of England deserved something just as fun! An emphasis was placed on creating flow, rather than travelling on every bridleway we could find.

Find us on Instagram at @theoldchalkway - website coming soon.
If you have done it, send us a message (and photos) on Instagram or comment here: we would love to hear from you.

On The Map


Do it yourself

Ready to get going? Create and customize your own version of this adventure using the full Tour below as a template.

The Old Chalk Way (Full route)

358 mi

19,000 ft

19,000 ft

Last updated: September 20, 2022

Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Lyme Regis to Shaftesbury — The Old Chalk Way

    68.8 mi
    7.1 mph
    6,050 ft
    5,375 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Stage one though Dorset is the hardest section of The Old Chalk Way, characterised by relentless steep hills and few resupply options en-route.


    You will be rewarded with beautiful views, a few field crossings, Iron Age forts, prime gravel tracks though woodland, and a disused railway line.


    The famous Gold

    by Ben Wormald

  • Difficult
    68.1 mi
    7.0 mph
    3,525 ft
    3,550 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    This is undoubtedly the most iconic stage of The Old Chalk Way. Less hilly than the first stage, but there's a large percentage of gravel tracks here, with most of them being smooth.


    Take in expansive views over Wiltshire on the flowing ridgeline path into Wilton. The route passes Stonehenge which you

    by Ben Wormald

  • Sign Up To Discover Places Like This

    Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.

  • Difficult
    67.4 mi
    6.8 mph
    4,025 ft
    3,975 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Stage 3 starts along the Ridgeway with beautiful views on your left. Passing race courses, then over the Thames river at Goring, there are a few climbs into woodland before linking up with the lower Icknield Way for a straight, flat ride for a while.


    More woodland climbs take you past Chequers (the Prime

    by Ben Wormald

  • Difficult
    73.5 mi
    7.6 mph
    2,700 ft
    3,100 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Today the route goes though the woodland paths of Ashridge estate, descending into Luton/Dunstable where you’ll follow a traffic free route almost all the way though Luton. Nice gravel paths toward Hitchin and though Letchworth. Between here and Royston lies my stomping ground and I know these quality

    by Ben Wormald

  • Difficult
    82.9 mi
    8.3 mph
    2,650 ft
    2,925 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    The last section! Well done for making this far. it starts on the Ickneild Way heading though the Kings Forest (where the UK Gravel Champs were hosted in 2021), can get a bit sandy round here. Though parts of Thetford forest, look out for deer and red squirrels if your lucky, feels wild out here in The

    by Ben Wormald

  • Intermediate
    15.2 mi
    7.2 mph
    950 ft
    700 ft
    Intermediate gravel ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Have a look to see if the red flags are flying, you'll be able to find out online too (gov.uk/government/publications/salisbury-plain-training-area-spta-firing-times). If they are, you'll have to take an alternative route around the training area.


    You could follow the King Alfred's Way route to the west

    by Ben Wormald


Like this Collection?



Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    376 mi
  • Duration
    51:14 h
  • Elevation
    19,900 ft

You Might Also Like

Explore the heart of England by bike – South Midlands Cycleway

Bike Touring Collection by Amy

So Sussex - The Living Coast by Bike

Bike Touring Collection by So Sussex

Mecklenburg Lake District – hiking in the Land of a Thousand Lakes

Hiking Collection by Vanessa Kopp

Sleep above 3000 meters

Hiking Collection by komoot