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Home > SE England > South East MTB: Ridgeway & Chilterns

South East England Mountain Biking
Chilterns & Ridgeway

The Chilterns and the area either side of the Ridgeway west of London are criss-crossed with byways and bridleways.

The routes allow you to escape onto fine woodland tracks and out into big open chalk country, with panoramic views over the Vale of the White Horse and the Thames Valley.

This guide has 24 routes from 18 to 38km long, many of which can be linked to make much longer rides.

Each route is described with easy-to-follow directions and details of distance, grade of difficulty, refreshment stops and accompanied by maps. The bonus sections has Top Tens for climbs, descents and suggestions for 'Mega Rides' with further information about finding places to eat, drink and stay.

Written by Nick Cotton
195 Pages
Book Size is a compact
12cm x 17.5cm
Vertebrate Publishing

Happy riding!

The Mountain Bike Routes in
Chilterns & Ridgeway Mountain Biking

Click on a marker for route information. The markers mark the approximate recommended starting points for each route as indicated in the book.




Fast tracks up, down and over the spine of the Ridgeway take you back and forth in time as you pass hill forts, take in the White Horse at Uffington and collapse at a pub exhausted but satisfied!

Avebury & Hackpen Hill, along the Ridgeway

Grade: Easy. Distance: 23km

Climb gently on broad chalk and flint track, cross the gallops and through the amazing field of Sarsen Stones. Then down to Rockly, up to Bradbury Castle, over Hackpen Hill and on to the finish.

Ogbourne St George & Ridgeway Lite

Grade: Easy. Distance: 24km

An easy introduction to the tracks around the area, linking a section of the railway path that runs from Marlborough to Chiseldon to other good quality stone based tracks.

Marlborough, Smeathe's Ridge & Barbury Castle

Grade: Eas.. Distance: 28km

The bike route boasts a fine long open climb up Smeathe's Ridge and two cracking descents: one wide and grassy, and the other rootier and narrower.

Southwest of Aldbourne

Grade: Moderate. Distance: 22km

Climb out of Aldbourne then a fast descent to Hilldrop Farm followed by a fine bit of woodland singletrack. Climb again before a grassy track leads downhill to join a short stretch of road back to Aldbourne.

Ridgeway Chilterns MTB Photo 2Aldbourne & Littlecote

Grade: Moderate. Distance: 28km

A lovely mountain bike circuit around Aldbourne, Baydon, Chilton Foliat and Ramsbury.

Lambourn, Wayland's Smithy & Fox Hill

Grade: Easy. Distance: 30km

This is the first of whole series of rides that can be used to the adjacent ride to create a much longer day out. This has a good mixture of tracks with a belter of a descent about half way round and ends with a blast on a good stone based track back to Lambourn.

Lambourn to Uffington Castle

Grade: Easy. Distance: 23km

Most of the height from Lambourne is gained on a quiet lane so that the final uphill section on rough grass is kept to a minimum. Then along the ridgeway on a fine undulating track. The descent from Uffingham Castle is designed to eke out the most from a 120m of downhill, letting gravity help you down the slower grassy tracks. Finish with a good woodland blast.

East of Lambourn

Grade: Easy. Distance: 18km

This ride finishes with a rollercoaster of off road trails which have a bit of everything and should leave you with a grin on your face.

West Ilsey & the Ridgeway south of Wantage

Grade: Moderate. Distance: 33km

A section along the Ridgeway and a fine mix of quiet lanes and woodland tracks to make a circular route.

Ridgeway Chilterns MTB Photo 3East Ilsey & Scutchamer Knob

Grade: Easy. Distance: 19km

This short mountain bike route from East llsey gives you a taste of Ridgeway country, small villages, big fields, open views and broad tracks of grass, chalk and flint.

East of Streatley on the Ridgeway to East Ilsey

Grade: Easy. Distance: 28km

Climb from the off on a broad chalk and flint track. Reach East Ilsey and then you soon have a choice of a singletrack section, or one on broader tracks with fewer nettles and brambles! Either way you go past the laugh-a-minute Banterwick Farm, descend to cross the infant River Peng, then climb to the highest point on the ride to set you up nicely for a snake-bite descent to the finish.


The scenery is stunning and the riding tough, proof once more you don't have to be in the mountains to be mountain biking.

Hurstbourne Tarrant & Inkpen Hill

Grade: Moderate . Distance: 27km

Along gentle lane climb gives you plenty of time to warm up for the challenge, up through woodland to the mast on Coombe Hill. Good views. Now enjoy a fine descent from Inkpen Hill down to the dry valley towards Linkeholt. Good wide stone-based tracks are followed back to Ibthorpe to rejoin the outward route.


Hurstbourne Tarrant, Buttermere & Combe Hill

Grade: Hard. Distance: 38km

A long ride with a lot of ascent, this route has two of the best climbs and two of the best descents in this guide.

Hurstbourne Tarrant & the Roman Road

Grade: Moderate . Distance: 20km

For such a short bike ride this has good highlights, such as a tough singletrack climb, two long fast descents and a good pub at Upton!

Kingsclere & Watership Down

Grade: Easy . Distance: 23km

This is the Watership Down of Fiver and Bigwig fame, a huge chalk and grass expanse to be enjoyed at the end of the ride.


Sail through sweeping woodland, negotiate tricky singletrack and blast along fast chalk tracks in the idyllic Chiltern Hills.

Goring, Stoke Row & the Thames Path

Grade: Moderate. Distance: 36km

This mountain bike route takes in lots of beechwood singletrack and a superb riverside section to the finish.

Stoke Row & Woodcote

Grade: Easy. Distance: 24km

Stoke Row is quite a hub for mountain bike routes in the Chilterns, with a plethora of good singletrack that starts almost as soon as you leave Stoke Row.

Henley & Stoke Row

Grade: Moderate. Distance: 28km

Leave Henley to negotiate a couple of kilometres on-road before the first short steep off-road climb past Harpsden Church. The pattern is soon set for a bit of off-road followed by short sections of tarmac on quiet lanes or no through roads, linking to the next bit of singletrack through woodlands.

Ridgeway Chilterns MTB Photo 5Ewelme, Nettlebed & Park Corner

Grade: Easy. Distance: 21km

This mountain bike route offers some fine singletrack and a belter of a descent on a broad stone path at the far eastern end of the ride and a rattling final descent off the escarpment to Ewelme.

Watlington, Maidensgrove & Swyncombe

Grade: Moderate. Distance: 27km

A bike ride with plenty of short steep climbs and long gentle descents.

Stonor & Turville from Hambleden

Grade: Hard. Distance: 30km

This route links two of the area's toughest climbs with one of its best descents and a very high proportion of top-grade woodland tracks giving you an excellent taste of what sort of riding the Chilterns has to offer.

Watlington, Crowell Hill & the Wormsley Estate

Grade: Moderate. Distance: 27km

A long warm up then a very tough climb onto the escarpment. Easy woodland singletrack then a long easy descent through Wormsley Estate are your rewards - appetisers for the final fireworks from Christmas Common back down to Watlington.

Chinnor, Bledlow Ridge & Crowell Hill

Grade: Moderate. Distance: 25km

A varied mountain bike route around Chinnor, Piddington, Radnage and Crower Hill, finishing with a cracking descent back to Chinnor.

Princes Risborough, Hotley Bottom & Coombe Hill

Grade: Moderate. Distance: 31km

Good use of lanes link together long stretches of woodland tracks, aiming to maximise time spent on earth and stone. Some of the best climbs and downhills come in the final third of the ride as you drop back down to Risborough.


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