The plan had been to head up to Cannock and get a lap in, but unfortunately the trail center was still closed after the recent snow. Apparently there were still a number of unsafe trees that fall at any time so we had to change the plan. After consulting the SingleTrack hive mind it appeared that the South Cotswolds area was clear of snow. Martin found a route, again through SingleTrack, so we were off.
I jumped the train to Stratford Upon Avon where I met with my lift and we drove down to North Nibley. There was a fairly horrific 15% tarmac climb to get up onto the ridge and after some spooning around at the golf course we made it into the woods following some single track. This turned into a fairly steep pretty fun descent that finished between a some houses popping out onto a road. After heading through Dursley, there was another tarmac climb before baring left off the road and into a series of woods along another ridge line. This bridle way follows the line of the road but weaves around a lot and contained quite a few steep climbs and drops. I’m not sure if the climbs were quite worth it for the descents but the views were nice and some brief glimpses of wild deer go a long way to make the experience worth while. After a few more bits of connecting country lane we traversed a couple of valleys with varying degrees of steepness until we reached Westridge Wood for the final descent back to North Nibley.
This route is very dry at the moment which was quite a shock really. There was the odd muddy puddle but it was certainly dust that needed cleaning off the bike, not mud. Most of these bridle ways were though woods so there was no edge of plowed field stuff which I’m certainly used to locally. A word of warning about the Tyly Wood. There is no signage what so ever and its clearly not a heavily used route so its very difficult in places to see where you are meant to be going. If you have a GPS and are following the route below I would suggest just sticking exactly to the line on the map across the grassy field and you should come up to a pair of odd gates that look more like a fence. Once past the second one you should be able to see a slightly worn track in the grass that bares right then left and over a small stream. You will see the main track go up the hill but don’t follow that turn slightly tighter left staying on the “flat”. You should cross a small bridge and then the rest is easy. The other bit that we got a little lost at was at Westridge Wood. If you are following the route stay high at the top and don’t get distracted by all the off piste stuff as this will bring you down the wrong side of the ridge. Arguably some of the off piste could be a better descent than the planned route but it will mean you joining Barrs lane and doubling back through North Nibley.