By Ryan Mckee...
Well, I always moan about having to endure a 10 mile journey to my closest trails, so I thought I would dust off the trusty OS map and see what I could discover. I sketched out a rough route over breakfast, prepped the bike and ventured off into the (relative) unknown...
It took all my determination to get out of the door, it had been threatening to rain for the past few hours and I am highly allergic to rain! However, I am glad I did, stumbling across some hidden trails that I shall definitely be re-visiting in the near future.
So with the OS in my pocket and “Don’t worry be happy” on repeat I trudged along the 1/2 mile section of road to reach The Bell Inn where the trail begins.
My mind was soon drawn to other things as the track became narrow, rocky and very steep. This is exactly what I was hoping I would find. The climb continued for several punishing minutes, reaching a clearing at the top gave me a perfect excuse to have a much needed drink and check the map.
A short, steep push up and I was back en-route.
I then emerged onto a gravel double track path which ran parallel to the Westbury Chalk Quarry. This is quite a sight, seeing such a large space of the Earth missing seemed like quite a shame when you consider the rolling landscape that Westbury is nestled in. Another road section followed, stretching from the White Horse to Eddington, where the next trail was located.
This is where things began to unravel somewhat, I had accidentally ended up on a footpath, which lead in the opposite direction to the bridleway I was originally aiming for. There was a steep, grass track climb to reach the the summit. It was at this point I had realised I was more than likely in the wrong place. There were several hints:
- It could be the lack of any visible tracks
- It could be the gunfire which echoed across the plains
- Or it could be the large “Military Firing Range KEEP OUT!” and red flags whistling in the high winds that swept across the vast space before me
All was well, I put my foot down mindful that the clock was ticking, re tracing my footsteps and revisiting the trails I had found only hours previously. They were fast and loose, and definitely made the steep climbs and risk of being “neutralized” by the T.A worth it. It was quite an adventure, I can no longer moan that nothing exciting ever happens, and to top it off I made it to work on time. Bonus.