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Saturday off-road ride to Charlbury Deli

Saturday, 30 July 2022 - 9:30am

This off-road ride will start at the Plough in Wolvercote and start by meandering up the canal to Shipton on Cherwell, and then take mainly bridleways and restricted byways to Charlbury including the Salt Way. Some roads but that is unavoidable.

The map is an embedded link from Ride with GPS. You can zoom in to see the route in as much detail as you like. For example, you can zoom in (using the + sign) to see exactly where the start is. If you’d like to see the distances, go to the Ride with GPS website by clicking on “View Full Version” (top left of map).

Ride report

Five of us set off from the Plough in Wolvercote on a warm but cloudy morning. Jon, John and I were on mountain bikes. Leonor was on a wide-tyred gravel bike and Sophia had bravely opted for her fairly narrowly shod shopping bike, which was in need of some TLC meaning that she could not access all her hill climbing gears.

The first portion of the ride was on the flat canal path, but we turned off at Shipton on Cherwell and made our way across fields and through woods to Woodstock. We made use of the Salt Way on our approach to Charlbury and stopped at an information post to learn about its history. The Cotswold Salt Way is thought to be one of several salt ways that radiated from Droitwich. The routes were used to transport salt from the naturally occurring brine springs in Droitwich from the Iron Age, through the Roman and medieval periods. The salt bubbled up from the ground and was 20x stronger than sea water. In Roman times Droitwich was known as Salinae and the Anglo Saxons referred to the salt ways as saelt straets. The Salt Way now provides a lovely bridleway for off road riders like us.

We descended down into Charlbury and sat in the garden of the Deli to consume our coffee and lunch. Sadly, Sophia, who had incredibly made it to Charlbury on her malfunctioning bike, decided to leave us after lunch. She would have taken the train but the strike removed that option so she rode back on road. The rest of us set off again on some lovely tracks through Stonesfield, Long Hanborough, Bladon and Begbroke. At Yarnton we passed St Bartholomew church. Leonor suggested we might like to take a look inside because Alderman William Fletcher had donated various pieces of 15th century glass to the church which had been incorporated into the windows. William was the son of an Oxford bookseller (his shop was in Turl Street), but he was a sickly child and was therefore sent to Yarnton to be nursed by the wife of the Parish clerk. He had fond memories of the place. As an adult he was a successful banker and lived in Broad Street in Oxford where he had a museum that included lots of objects related to the local area. He donated the glass to the church at the end of the 18th century. He is buried in the churchyard.

We all made it home in one piece, although John was not unscathed by various battles with brambles. The picture of his arm was taken as evidence of his dedication to the cause.

GPX files

Ride leaders

Role Name

Full ride leader

Leader back from coffee

(No leader)

Ride venues and times

Venue Time Notes


The Plough, Wolvercote 9:30am

Please arrive 10 minutes before the start time (especially if you are new, so that we can say hello and sign you up).


Charlbury Deli and Café 12:00pm

For about an hour.


Oxford area 4:00pm
All of the times (apart from the start time) are approximate only, as weather or punctures may affect them.

Ride options and attendance

Ride option Distance Pace Attendees

Full ride

47km 10kph

The pace listed above is the average pace we do, so in general when cycling along the flat we will go a bit faster than the average pace. Please be aware of this if you are wondering whether you will be able to keep up on the ride.

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