Cycling & Riding

The North Wessex Downs offers fantastic opportunities for cyclists and horse riders. Quiet roads meander through pretty villages and there is an abundance of bridleways across the AONB.

Please note that things can change. If you find that a path is not accessible, or there is an access problem, please report this to the appropriate local authority Public Rights of Way team.

Read the Countryside Code and follow it at all times.

The Ridgeway National Trail

National Trail within the North Wessex Downs is accessible to both horses and cyclists through much of its length. For detailed information about the trail head to the National Trails website.

Visit the National Trails Website

The Kennet and Avon Canal Path

Stretching through the length of the AONB the canal path takes you through splendid landscape and quaint towns and villages for easy access to refreshments.   It provides a great traffic-free link to through the southern half of the North Wessex Downs.

More Information

Kind Alfreds Way

Launched by Cycling UK in 2020, this off-road adventure bike route takes cyclists through 10,000 years’ worth of history in the south of England, creating a loop of gravel tracks and off-road trails around the northern edge of the North Wessex Downs and through the heart of Surrey, Hampshire, Wiltshire and Berkshire countryside.

King Alfred’s Way, named after the Anglo-Saxon ruler of the ancient kingdom of Wessex, runs for 350km (220 miles) passing iconic locations including World Heritage Sites at Stonehenge and Avebury and Iron Age hill forts at Old Sarum and Barbury Castle, while also riding straight through the heart of quintessential England.

Cycling UK spent three years working on the route, which connects four of England’s National Trails: North Downs Way, South Downs Way, Ridgeway and Thames Path.  The route was developed by upgrading certain sections of footpath to allow cycling, and also includes existing bridleways, byways and quiet country lanes.

More Information

Three Downs Link

This multi-user route offers huge potential for recreational horse riders and cyclists and links the Ridgeway with both the Hampshire and the South Downs. The route offers mile after mile of open chalk downland dotted with many iron age hill-forts and providing superb views from the ridges. The valley sections with rivers, canals and small villages are equally lovely.

More Information

National Cycle Network

NCN Route 482

The route is flat so perfect for families and novices.

Starting in Marlborough it heads out to the surrounding countryside on a peaceful, traffic-free path. Crossing the River Kennet, the path travels through the picturesque villages of Ogbourne St Andrew and Ogbourne St George before arriving in Chiseldon.

More information

Across the Counties


West Berkshire District Council has a number of cycling routes with leaflets listed on their website here


The Wiltshire Cycleway circles the county for 160 miles (255km) some sections in the North Wessex Downs AONB. The route has been designed to be cycled in an anti-clockwise direction and can be shortened by using cross county routes along the Kennet and Avon Canal, through the Vale of Pewsey or down the Wylye Valley. The Wiltshire Cycleway also links to Sustrans National Routes and the South West Historical National Byway.

To make the route more accessible, the Wiltshire Cycleway has been split into 16 sections; you can download details of these sections on Wiltshire Council’s website here. Look out for the sections featuring Marlborough and Great Bedwyn in the North Wessex Downs.


Hampshire County Council’s Countryside Service lists a number of cycling routes in the north of the country that explores countryside in the North Wessex Downs – from Whitchurch, around Vernham Dean and around Watership Down. This is hill country – the very best – and some of these routes are described as strenuous!  Find them on their website here

Further Information

Cycling UK
Find routes, groups and clubs and get advice

British Horse Society
Find stables, riding centres, advice and information

image credits: Cycling the Ridgeway; Kennet and Avon Canal nr Kintbury, Nick Tipper; Pannier King Alfreds Way Route Cycling - The Ridgeway; Three Downs Link opening