Andover to: Newbury
I am blessed that this is the road I get to travel to work on every day. OK, most of the time I wimp-out and take the car, but on the bike, it puts a smile on my face. Here it is. As you leave Andover under Enham Arch you are tempted by a short stretch of dual carriageway interspersed with a couple of fast clearview roundabouts - get the tyres warmed up here. Give it a quick blast on the short stretch of open road between Andover and Enham, but watch out 'cos this road holds flood water for days after rain. Steady through Enham and don't be tempted to wind-it up too quickly 'cos the first right hander is tight. Now you can go. Into the dip and then into the forrest stretch (some nice twisties - watch out for pheasents and deer) before emerging high above Hurstbourne.
If the conditions are right and you are on the road early in the morning, you may now be given a real treat as you aften get a cloud inversion in the Valley below. It looks stunning as you descend from clear skies into mist. The drop into Hurstbourne is quite steep, over the bridge, lovely double-s (slow though and steady for villagers). As you come out of the village you get a clear view up the hill - wind it back here and burn-off the slowbies. Fast right hander at the top and then power on down the straight past Essebourne Manor. The next bit I find tricky. A sweeping downhill righ-hander through the forrest, followed by a moderatley tight lefty at the bottom. I don't know if its a slight unfavourable camber, or 'cos I've seen two many cars ploughing fields here, but that combo plays on my mind and I always tighten-up! Now a couple of fast bends and up and downy bits (good stuff) before a long up-hill straight through the trees (this looks stunning coming the other way). At the top, another combo, this time a lefty, followed by a down-hill right and then a fast left, before hitting the straight past the Yew Tree. Steady thro' Highclere, under the A34 and onwards into Newbury.
If you do this in reverse, watch out for speed-traps: (i) as you come out of Highclere and (ii) at the bottom of the hill as you enter Hurstbourne. Have fun. About 15 miles of it.
London to: Salcombe
Come out of London on M3 join A303 , long sweeping bends, v.fast straights with some gatso's clearly signposted, loads of round-a-bouts to surf all really good quality surface with little traffic, even on Bank Holiday weekend. Stop off at Stonehenge for a half way smoke then onto Exeter. Join A38 and come off at any number of junctions for last 20 miles to Salcombe on tight technical twisties finish at Kings Arms.
dunster castle to: tiverton
brilliant road, surface a bit poor in places ,lots of gravel wash after rain ,in dry fast but watch out for tractors,expect to find grannys on go slow.Twisty,best look at map first to study as some bends tighten on themselves Good riding and enjoy
Wantage to: Swindon
What, another good road in Oxfordshire (see B4494)? This one is relatively slow and only a few miles long, but a real test of handling. Do not attempt to go fast on a Pan-European! The key section runs from Letcombe to Ashbury, past the famous White Horse (a great place to stop and picnic). Try it carefully on your first visit. It's VERY tight and twisty, swooping up and down enough to make you seasick, and has nice gravelly apexes, bumpy patches and barbed wire fences everywhere to add spice. But it's very satisfying when you get it right. Mid-week off-peak is best, and unfortunately should be avoided on Sundays, when the road fills up with hikers, cyclists, grannies etc.
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