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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 15 Feb 2011
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Southern England - on a budget

Hello,


First trip to England this June, with about two weeks there. Not an adventure trip and possibly not even involving a motorcycle...

Inclined to head south from London, to Cornwall. Prefer walking, bicycling, canals etc rather then cities, art galleries and museums. Looking for suggestions on budget accommodation anywhere between Oxford and Cornwall.

Or suggest something completely different if you think this isn't the best way to spend first trip there?

It will be second half of June, which will avoid the school vacation if I've planned it properly.

cheers
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  #2  
Old 15 Feb 2011
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Backpackers.

Hi, check backpackers.co.uk - info@backpackers.co.uk - the definitvie guide to independent backpacking hostels in the UK for alternative, convenient accomodation to youth hostels. Some tend to be scruffy or trendy depending upon visitor while main centres are busy so need to be booked. Ciao, Lindsay.
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  #3  
Old 15 Feb 2011
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Backpackers / Youth Hostels

Agree with Linzi, your best bet would be backpackers, youth hostels or even campsites. Be aware that with campsites there are plenty who will only let you stay for a complete weekend rather than just one night, especially around public holidays and / or near tourist areas. This site has always helped me plan excursions around the UK, recommended!

Also, have you thought about heading over to Wales? Much better scenery, probably less tourists as well.
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  #4  
Old 15 Feb 2011
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Hi Colin,
What type of cycling do you want to do? If you like green lanes I would suggest finding the Ridgeway where it passes close to Oxford, cycle to Avebury and down to the Kennet and Avon canal, this will take you to Bath and Bristol. From there take a train to Exeter and cycle across Dartmoor and down to Plymouth. Get the train to Penzance and cycle on to Land's end.
Although the cities mentioned have places of interest in them they are only places to get the train if you are not interested. Some of this is quite arduous and will require the use of a tent some nights but is some of the best off road cycle touring you will find.
In Oxford use the backpackers, not the YHA, it is a lot cheaper and more relaxed. If you are on couch surfers I know there is one about 2 miles from Lands End who is also a member of the HUBB.

Home - The Ridgeway - National Trails

Welcome to the Dartmoor National Park Authority

Map of Kennet & Avon Canal | Maps | Waterscape.com

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  #5  
Old 15 Feb 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muppix View Post
Agree with Linzi, your best bet would be backpackers, youth hostels or even campsites. Be aware that with campsites there are plenty who will only let you stay for a complete weekend rather than just one night, especially around public holidays and / or near tourist areas. This site has always helped me plan excursions around the UK, recommended!

Also, have you thought about heading over to Wales? Much better scenery, probably less tourists as well.
agree with everything here except the problem encountered with only staying one night. I've camped all round the south west practically every year and never encountered this problem.


A few of my faves-

Stockbridge- pretty town if you are passing through, Danebury Ring a few miles away, impressive iron age fort- walk up a hill and onto the fort embankments

North devon/cornwall coastline- very dramatic- Hartland Quay/Point- amazing, can imagine the ghosts of shipwrecks there
Boscastle further down the coast- lovely old fishing town/village

Exmoor national park- tors (exposed hills), moorland and woodland
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  #6  
Old 16 Feb 2011
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This may interest you or some bikers.
The old A30 is still in existence, but ungraded now it has been supplanted by a dual carriageway from Exeter to Cornwall. It actually makes for a nice ride and passes through many little towns and villages. From Launceston town take the road out to the north coast and follow it down. This is all good stuff for an Enfield, would be a bit adventurous for me on a pedal bike.

The old A30 can be found at Ide and goes to Tedburn st Mary, Crockerwell, Whidden down, Sticklepath and on to Bridestow via Okehampton finishing up at Lifton.

As an aside, does anyone know the route of the old A11 from t he N circular to Newmarket. Many of the old A roads got swallowed up when they built the motorways in the UK. By and large this did not happen in France.
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  #7  
Old 16 Feb 2011
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North Circular to Snetterton

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldbmw View Post
As an aside, does anyone know the route of the old A11 from t he N circular to Newmarket. Many of the old A roads got swallowed up when they built the motorways in the UK. By and large this did not happen in France.
I used to live close to the 'old A11', and the Epping New Road through the forest. We used to drink heaven-knows how many pints, and race after closing time up and down between the Wake Arms roundabout and the Robin Hood roundabout until we got bored. That was in the 60s.

To be a little safer, I started racing properly and would take my bike to Snetterton quite a bit, all the way up the 'old A11'.

Some years ago I found myself in that area and tried to find that old road, and had to give up.

I studied some old maps, had another go, and eventually managed to follow it from Epping Forest to Newmarket. In one of those villages around Stansted Airport, what was the A11 is now a minor road and you have to give way to other traffic at some junctions. That was tricky, with the old road layout still stuck in your head!

As I remember, bits of it had disappeared close to Newmarket, ditto Thetford.

It's very sad, but probably more of the old A11 still exists than does the old 'Norwich Straight' at Snetterton!

That's enough nostalgia for one day........
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  #8  
Old 16 Feb 2011
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Hi Colin,

I have space for you to stay if you are passing anywhere near Lechlade. It's on the Thames, and does the 'quaint' thing pretty well.

No charge, just a story or two over a !
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  #9  
Old 16 Feb 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McCrankpin View Post
I used to live close to the 'old A11', and the Epping New Road through the forest. We used to drink heaven-knows how many pints, and race after closing time up and down between the Wake Arms roundabout and the Robin Hood roundabout until we got bored. That was in the 60s.

To be a little safer, I started racing properly and would take my bike to Snetterton quite a bit, all the way up the 'old A11'.

Some years ago I found myself in that area and tried to find that old road, and had to give up.

I studied some old maps, had another go, and eventually managed to follow it from Epping Forest to Newmarket. In one of those villages around Stansted Airport, what was the A11 is now a minor road and you have to give way to other traffic at some junctions. That was tricky, with the old road layout still stuck in your head!

As I remember, bits of it had disappeared close to Newmarket, ditto Thetford.

It's very sad, but probably more of the old A11 still exists than does the old 'Norwich Straight' at Snetterton!

That's enough nostalgia for one day........

Many thanks for that. I was in the Fleet Air Arm stationed at RAF Watton Norfolk in the early 60's including the winter '62/3 and used to ride my Triumph 500 back home to Cornwall most weekends. Down the A11 to N circular, or follow the traffic to the river then follow it to Chiswick flyover and then out along the A30 swapping usually to the A303. 435 miles each way all non motorway unless I slid over to use the M1 from luton down to the N circular. Used to pass the old Ace cafe but seldom went in as it was not a natural place to stop.
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  #10  
Old 18 Feb 2011
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+1 for Avebury & Kennet&Avon canal. Cycle DOWN not UP the 30 or so locks at Caen hill, Devizes.

btw Oxford's not really on the way London to Cornwall.

London to Lands End is 300 miles and not really 'fun' cycling out of London. Maybe get train to Hampshire area (eg New Forest) & head west from there? Misses the large urban bit & gets you straight into scenery & quieter roads.
June isn't high season proper (as you say not school hols) so shouldn't be a problem camping - try googling 'campsites in (name of county)' and look for the small sites or pubs with a field at the back. I camp each year in Wiltshire and pay £3/night for one person + tent.

oldbmw - look on wikipedia for A11 - it lists the old route with current road names & numbers
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  #11  
Old 20 Feb 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave ett View Post
Hi Colin,

I have space for you to stay if you are passing anywhere near Lechlade. It's on the Thames, and does the 'quaint' thing pretty well.

No charge, just a story or two over a !

Well that is an offer that's hard to beat! I've received so much info so far I've had to make a list and start trawling over maps. Let me get an idea of where all these interesting places are...
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  #12  
Old 20 Feb 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ntvfrog View Post
+1 for Avebury & Kennet&Avon canal. Cycle DOWN not UP the 30 or so locks at Caen hill, Devizes.

btw Oxford's not really on the way London to Cornwall.

London to Lands End is 300 miles and not really 'fun' cycling out of London. Maybe get train to Hampshire area (eg New Forest) & head west from there? Misses the large urban bit & gets you straight into scenery & quieter roads.
June isn't high season proper (as you say not school hols) so shouldn't be a problem camping - try googling 'campsites in (name of county)' and look for the small sites or pubs with a field at the back. I camp each year in Wiltshire and pay £3/night for one person + tent.

oldbmw - look on wikipedia for A11 - it lists the old route with current road names & numbers

Oh we won't cycling all the way. I'd be up for it but definitely not my wife. Just a series of day rides is about her limit. It's maybe a bit impractical but I much prefer sightseeing by foot or cycle, just driving for transport between towns.
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  #13  
Old 20 Feb 2011
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Hiring bikes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ntvfrog View Post
+1 for Avebury & Kennet&Avon canal. Cycle DOWN not UP the 30 or so locks at Caen hill, Devizes.
Hi, What are the prospects of hiring bikes like for all/part of this trip? I suspect it migth get complicated if we did want to ride from town to town, rather than returning to point of departure?

In earlier post I mentioned driving between towns, but train is just as good (better actually). That's just my Australian heritage colouring my choices... not many places you can go without driving here!

Colin
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  #14  
Old 21 Feb 2011
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There are firms that hire bikes but don't know details. Try searching web.

National rail has an online leaflet - National rail cycling by train - on their website that lists how each company lets people transport pushbikes including restrictions (peak times around major cities mainly). Most carry bikes free of charge.
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  #15  
Old 21 Feb 2011
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Hi Colin,
Could have a couch for you. Just let us know the dates when you're a bit more sorted.
Live a few minutes from the Plymbridge cycle path in Plymouth.
National Trust | Devon & Cornwall | Plymbridge Cycle Ride

You can wild camp on Dartmoor for free (fires aren't allowed). Most of the moor is unfenced so access is easy. Got a small gas stove you can borrow.

Cycle hire is collect and return from a single point. What about buying a used bike?
Plymouth Cycle Scene


The Bodmin to Padstow cycle path is nice. Flat too.
http://cornwall-devon.com/public/tra...=703&Y=550&Z=1

As for taking bikes on trains, you'll need to investigate this as you can't just turn up and expect you and the bike to get on.

Rich
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