A steady climb through the Chilterns to Cookley Green, followed by a descent past the ancient church of St Botolph’s at Swyncombe, through the pretty village of Ewelme to the River Thames at Benson. The return to Goring is along the bottom of the Chiltern escarpment.
Long descent down a dry valley from Swyncombe to Ewleme
Ewelme: A pretty village pond opposite the shop, the oldest school building in the UK still in use as a local authority school and the church of St Mary the Virgin and its cloistered almshouses, dating from the 15th century. Geoffrey Chaucer’s granddaughter Alice is buried in the church and Jerome K Jerome and his wife in the churchyard.
St Botolph’s at Swyncombe is 200 yd to the south of the route, at the top of the steepest part of the descent. It’s well-known locally for the display of snowdrops in the churchyard, usually during February, when the church provides afternoon teas at weekends.
Crossing the busy A4074 at Benson and at Crowmarsh Gifford. The other two crossings of this road (east and north of Woodcote) have better visibility.
The descent from Swyncombe is on a narrow and twisty lane, with a couple of blind corners.
Short but steep descent and climb at Ipsden. The bend at the bottom of the dip often has loose gravel.
The Ewelme Village Store also sells tea, coffee and cafes and has a small seating area. The Shepherd’s Hut pub is at the other end of the village, half a mile further along the route.
The Waterfront Café at Benson has a large outdoor terrace overlooking the river, and is very popular with cyclists.
Other shops and pubs in Woodcote, Benson. Post Office and Village Shopjust a few yards off the route in Ipsden.
A good route for when there's an easterly wind, which will be blowing down the long valley from Swyncombe to Ewelme and Benson.
An alternative return route avoiding the Ipsden Dip is to take the old main road south from Crowmarsh Gifford, starting opposite The Bell pub. Care needs to be taken when crossing the A4074 at the Mongewell roundabout then turning right onto the B4009 to Goring.