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2. Marlow-River to beyond the ridge and back

2. Marlow-River to beyond the ridge and back.

Start: Marlow town centre

Distance: 40.9 miles

Roads : The vast majority on quiet low traffic lanes

Difficulty: Tough-Moderate.  A good long ride with three good climbs .

Total climb: 2900 feet

Beauty rating: 5/5 –diverse and wonderful

This route transverses the Chilterns from river to ridge. It then drops you down to the very different world of the vale of Aylesbury where the lanes are flatter, the farms less manicured and the atmosphere altogether different. After a few miles the ridge looms again at Chinnor and your heart pumps hard as you climb back into the hills . Your efforts are rewarded as you enjoy what is in my opinion is the best stretch of cycling in the Chilterns . The 5 miles of quiet lane descent  from Spriggs Alley to West Wycombe is glorious with stunning far reaching views throughout .

1.Marlow (109ft) to Skirmitt(229ft)       7.95 miles

From Marlow town centre go west towards Henley on West Street , turning right by Platts garage up Oxford Road. Follow as it exits the town and climbs up Chalkpit lane. Pass the Royal Oak pub and continue on until you turn left to Marlow common and Lower Woodend. Follow for ½ mile then turn left by ChiffChaffs house. Follow through Marlow common noting the first world war training trenches to your right. At the fork in the road go right and follow down through the woods only to climb back  steeply  the other side. Keep on this lovely quiet lane as you pass the sleepy hamlet of Bockmer End ,then on as it travel through a forest. At the top where you reach a junction turn right and follow as it meanders for ¾ mile. Take the next left to Henley .At the fork in the lane go right then right again to Frieth.  Follow until red phone box where you go left down Colstrope Hill. This is a very steep downhill . At the bottom you pass Little Colstrope with its lovely yew hedges and Colstrope Farm . Follow lane over the stream to the road where you turn right to Skirmitt. Follow for ½ mile bearing left through the village towards Fingest.

2.Skirmitt(229ft)-Christmas Common(787ft)-Watlington(350ft)   6.55 miles

Pass the excellent Frog at Skirmitt pub climbing up as you exit the village. Turn left to Skirmitt just as you enter Fingest. Follow through the iconic Turville(or Dibley if you prefer) passing the picture postcard Bull and Butcher pub and Church. Continue on as it passes through the woods (covered in bluebells in spring) and then starts to ascend. It climbs for almost a mile through the woods with occasional glimpses of the valley to your right. At the junction at Northend  pond  go right to Christmas Common. Follow this high altitude road for a mile. At the junction at Christmas common turn right to Stokenchurch/Chinnor then immediately left to Watlington. Follow road downwards with Watlington hill to your left , enjoying the expansive views over the Vale of Aylesbury and towards Oxford. As you enter Watlington bear left by the Carriers Arms and follow road round to right. At the junction go right to Oxford/Benson then next right again to Lewknor/Chinnor down Couching Street. Ride to the centre of this unspoilt town to the Town Hall where you go straight over onto Shirburn Street.

3.Watlington(350ft) to Postcombe(351ft)   6.7 miles

Follow the B4009 for ¼ mile turning left to Pyrton. Pass through this lovely village passing Pyrton Manor and St Marys Church. The road then climbs up until the junction where you turn right to Stoke Talmage. Enjoy this lovely road with views of the ridge to your right and the vale and  foothills to your left. This expansive countryside is a pleasant contrast to those used to Chiltern riding. Follow past turning to Stoke Talmage until you turn right to Adwell and South Weston. Follow this blissfully peaceful lane as it bears left then right. About 200 yards before South Weston Church turn left towards Postcombe and the motorway , visable in the distance. Follow under the M40.

4.Postcombe(351ft)-Crowell Hill(797ft)-Radnage(494ft)   7.6 miles

At the junction turn go right to Stokenchurch then immediately left to Chalford/Sydenham. Follow this flat straight road into Sydenham village passing the attractive Crown pub and St Marys church. Continue on until the junction by the Inn at Emmington where you go right on the busier B4445 to Chinnor. Follow for over a mile into Chinnor. At the roundabout  go straight over onto Oakley road with the Crown pub to your left. Go up over the Risborough/Chinnor railway and at the roundabout go straight across to Bledlow Ridge. You can see the barrier to re-enter the Chilterns of Chinnor and Crowell Hill ahead of you. Cross over the Ridgeway as the hills starts to bite. The 300ft of ascent is not as bad as it looks with a steady but manageable climb .Follow up to the top with views of the cement works to your right. Continue straight on to Radnage and Spriggs alley. Follow as it bears right and travels through Spriggs Alley passing the Charles Napier restaurant. Once out on the open you are treated to great views of Bledlow ridge to your left and towards Stokenchurch to your right. The next few miles of descent are to be savoured as they are among the best you can experience. As you descend there are good views over Radnage and Town End Church.

5.Radnage(494ft)-Lane End(565ft)   6.2 miles

As you enter Radnage keep on road as it bears left on Horseshoe road. At the junction go right to Stokenchurch then take the next left to West Wycombe on Bottom Road. This lane is beautiful as it runs above the valley floor giving the most wonderful vista over this unique valley. Look behind you as you progress  for an equally impressive view. You would never guess you are only 4 miles away from Wycombe town centre. At the bottom junction turn right to West Wycombe on Chorley Road with lovely views over West Wycombe Hill with the Golden Ball and St Lawrence Church. As you pass the garden centre turn right  to  Stokenchurch following the Chiltern Cycleway signs. Go along the A40 for ½ mile turning left following the Cycleway signs onto Bullocks Farm Lane .This is quite a hard climb but worth it as you look behind you at the top for fantastic views over West Wycombe Hill . Keep on as you pass over Wheeler End Common as the lane dips down then up  again . You pass the Chequers  pub then cross the M40 .

6. Lane End(565ft)- Marlow(109ft)    5.6 miles

At the junction go right into Lane End and climb up past the pond following the road round to the right. Turn right at the junction then immediately left to Frieth on  Church Road. Follow down past the church and through Moor Common woods. At the bottom crossroads turn left to Marlow. You stay on this road all the way to back to Marlow which is an enjoyable descent apart from a minor climb up to Shillingride Park and a couple of hillocks. You pick up speed as you pass Bovingdon Green and the Royal Oak pub again . Travel down Chalkpit lane to re-enter Marlow.

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