Start/Finish: Shear Water car park, Crockerton (grid ref ST 854/420, postcode BA12 8AE)
Location details: Salisbury Plain’s wide tracks offer high-speed riding, not technical challenges. The chalky terrain drains well but can be slippery. The woodland singletrack isn’t all open to cyclists.
How to get there: Crockerton is just south of Warminster, between Bath and Salisbury on the A36. To get there, head south from the M4 on the A350. Follow the signs to Shear Water and park opposite the lake. Warminster has a railway station.
Maps and useful books: OS Landranger 183: Yeovil and Frome.
OS Landranger 184: Salisbury & The Plain.
Mountain Bike Rides in & around Wiltshire & Dorset by Max Darkins (Rough Ride Guide).
Accommodation/facilities: The Bath Arms pub (www.batharmscrockerton.co.uk, 01985 212 262) and White House B&B (01985 212380) in Crockerton have rooms, as does the Bath Arms in Horningsham (www.batharms.co.uk, 0844 815 0099). The Bargate tea rooms at the start/end (01985 214153) are good for refreshments. For spares, try Batchelors in Warminster (www.bikz.co.uk, 01985 213221).
Head out the back of the car park, follow the bridleway down to a road and turn right. Keep ahead when the road bears left, then cross and join the A350, heading right, downhill. Go left at the crossroads in Longbridge Deverill, then left again at the crossroads by the last houses.
Follow this rough track, keeping ahead through a gate at the end, across a field and into the woods. Cross the road at the far side. Bear left, downhill, along the edge of a wood, then follow a wide track right. Turn right (with a bridge on your left), back to the road, and turn left along it.
Go left at the crossroads in the village, then right (Best’s Lane). Keep ahead/left as the road turns right. Turn right at the farm, then left at the fork. Keep ahead on a rough track. Bear right by the church remains. Go left on the road.
At the left-hand bend, go right on a byway. Keep ahead/left at the fork, then go right at the track crossing by the farm, uphill. At the barn/clearing turn right. Bear left, uphill. Cross a track crossing and the A350. As the trail is about to descend, turn right towards Brixton Deverill.
Go right on the B3095, left after a thatched house and through a gate by the farm, uphill. Turn left at the top. Follow the ridgeline up, then bear right down the Mid Wilts Way. Go through a wood, then left on the road.
Take the second bridleway on the right, passing through a gate and field, and into the trees. Before the wood ends, go right up a steep hill. Cross a field and join a drive that takes you to the road. Go left on this, then right at the fork. Go right by the Bath Arms sign, then right again to join the tarmac National Cycle Network path.
Go right at the crossroads in front of Longleat House. Keep ahead, uphill, on the ‘no access road’, past booths and barriers, to a road. Follow the cycle path into the trees, along the edge of the Center Parcs camp and across the entrance road, to a road at the end.
Turn left on the road, then sharply right at the grass triangle, towards Potter’s Hill. Bear off left at the fork, go over a crossroads and follow the road left, downhill. Go right at the T-junction, back to the car park.
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