Stage 1: Lyme Regis to Cerne Abbas — Wessex Ridgeway
Bike Touring Highlight
Bike Touring Highlight (Segment)
Road Cycling Highlight
Katherine Moore planned a mountain bike ride.
June 18, 2020
Why not start your Wessex Ridgeway Tour with a cuppa on the Marine Parade, looking out to the English Channel beyond the sandy beach of Lyme Regis? You might get the chance to do some fossil hunting now, but from here on in you’ll be heading inland, and up onto the chalky ridge deep into rural Dorset and onto Wiltshire.
Stocked up with snacks for your hilly day ahead, leave the gorgeous town to the north, climbing straight away on the Charmouth Road before peeling off onto a doubletrack into the woodland. Here you pass within metres of the Devon border, before crossing the busy A35 road at Penn. Take great care here.
A sharp descent down Mill Lane track leads you onto lanes back up to Wootton Hill, and then up again to Fishpond Bottom. Fly down the valley side on the bridleway to cross the stream, before climbing more gradually past Pilsdon. The gradient ramps up as you take a series of tracks to join the road up Cockpit Hill, leading up to the slopes of Lewesdon Hill. From up here, the highest point in Dorset, you’re rewarded with some really spectacular views.
The next section will take you around pretty Beaminster to the north, so take a short detour if you need any supplies. You’ll pass the glorious Kingcombe Nature Reserve, which is well worth exploring, before crossing the main road and descending to cross the River Frome in Maiden Newton.
You’ve nearly reached the end of stage one here, but there’s two sharp climbs to go yet. Instead of riding directly to Cerne Abbas, the official route takes you north, climbing up the ridge after Sydling St. Nicholas on a steep track, before a brilliant gravel doubletrack off of Gore Hill. Then you head south into historic Cerne Abbas, looking left on the road to spot the mighty Cerne Abbas Giant on the hillside!
A tourist honeypot, the village has a few places to stay and enjoy a meal, but make sure you book in advance.
June 19, 2020