Ride Level: Red - Challenging
Gravel/CX or Hybrid | GPX Route | Traffic-free | Natural, Gravel and Single Track | 90 km/55 miles | All day
This is a proper gravel route, loads of flat well-maintained gravel paths and towpaths that lead on a loop from West London to Windsor and back. Can be easily done in reverse, or just catch a train back from Windsor if the distance is too long.
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Leave Gunnersbury Station and drop down onto the Grand Union Canal at Brentford, follow it for a few miles before branching off to visit Osterley House. The ride rejoins the canal for another 4 miles before exploring Stockley Park, then, you’ve guessed it, back to the canal, this time for the last farewell. BTW if you follow the canal far enough, you’ll end up in Birmingham, but there lies another trip!
After Yiewsley it gets a bit more interesting, as joining the Colne Valley Trail you ride through some rough old scrubland, weaving in and around the M25/M4 interchange before coming into Colnbrook. This seemingly scruffy and forgotten village is a gem, it’s easy to imagine the Ye Old George and Ostrich inns busy with fast coaches rushing to change horses before speeding on down the turnpike to Bristol. The Ostrich Inn founded in 1106 is said to be the third oldest inn in England and has a gruesome history. In the 14th century, the landlord fitted a trap door under the best bed in the place, which was opened in the middle of the night to decant the occupants to their deaths in a cauldron of boiling water below. The restless spirits of the murdered are said to roam, moaning, through the 4-star dining room.
Back in the modern era, ride into Slough, I promise you it’s the nice bit. The route leads you to the Jubilee River, a modern flood relief river that’s blended so well into the countryside that it is hard to believe it was only cut in 1977. Past the playing fields of Eton and follow the long railway viaduct into Windsor.
Windsor is approximately halfway and the return leg has an altogether more civilised gentile feel to it, Ride past Windsor Castle, through the Old Town and into the highly manicured Great Park. Initially, you are riding on a fab gravel trail, which sadly turns into a tarmac path. Nevertheless, it’s a grand way to explore the Savile Garden, see the famous Smith’s Lawn Polo ground and view the wonderful Virginia Water with its totem pole. The whole park is immaculately kept, woe betide anyone riding off the cycle route.
Cross the busy A30, after a mile, the route returns to gravel to cross Thorpe Green and on to Thorpe Village. Turn on to a footpath (you may have to walk a bit here), and look left as you pass the rollercoasters of World of Adventures on your left. The path dumps you aside the M3, there’s a shallow culvert to the right that leads on to a bridleway into Chertsey.
From Chertsey, the route winds its way to Weybridge from where the next 8 miles are uninterrupted gravel to Hampton Court along the Thames towpath. Cross the river, ride through Bushy Park to Teddington where you re-cross the river on the elegant footbridge to re-join the River towpath back to Kew and Gunnersbury Station.
Start and End Points
Start/Finish: Gunnersbury Railway Station
- Distance: 90 km | 55 miles
- Climb: 580 m | 1900 ft
- Percentage off-road: 62%
- Trail surface: Natural | Gravel | Cycle Paths | Single Track
- Technical Grade: Red - Long distance gravel route
- Mudometer - Easy, Good all weather gravel paths with few areas of mud.
Places to Visit
6 miles Osterley House
17 miles Colnbrook Village
24 miles Windsor
31miles Windsor Great Park https://www.windsorgreatpark.co.uk/en
47 miles Hampton Court
Places to Eat
8 miles: Stables Osterley Park
17 miles Ostrich Inn Colnbrook
17 miles Budgens – Colnbrook, makes home sandwiches to order on store baked bread.
24 miles Windsor
41 miles Weybridge
Is this ride for me?
Ideal for riders with some off-road experience and reasonable fitness looking for a long but non technocal day out with no hills .
Is my bike OK for this ride?
The route is best completed on the gravel/CX bike or a good hybrid.