New 350-mile cycling route along Britain's oldest highway revealed

The signpost for the Norfolk Coast Path and the Peddars Way at the beach at Holme-next-the-Sea. Pict

The signpost for the Norfolk Coast Path and the Peddars Way at the beach at Holme-next-the-Sea. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

A new route along Britain's oldest highway has been made available to adventurous cyclists.

Named the Old Chalk Way, the 575km journey starts in Lyme Regis in Dorset and finishes in Holme-next-the-Sea in Norfolk. 

It follows a historic coast-to-coast highway which is believed to be the first cross-country trading route, connecting the Dorset coastline to the Wash in Norfolk. 

It is the “passion project” of Ben Wormald and Chris Hunt who wanted to create a more accessible trail for his fellow cycling fanatics.

Mr Wormald, who grew up in Norwich, said: “There is an already established route called the Greater Ridgeway, which finishes on the Pedders Way in Norfolk. 

“But it isn’t linked up very well for gravel bikes. It’s very rough and difficult to ride. 

“So, we linked up what we could and skipped what we didn’t like to create a new route which is more accessible for anyone who wanted to do the distance.” 

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After mapping it out and trying out sections of the new trail for themselves, Mr Wormald, who is currently living in Hertfordshire, and Mr Hunt, from Devon, formalised the official trail at the start of this year.

And for those with a love of history there are a number of significant sites and monuments along the way. 

It is littered with hill forts and round barrows, while passing through the famed sites of Cerne Giant, Gold Hill, Stonehenge, Avebury stone circles, Thetford Abbey and Castle Acre. 

On the official Old Chalk Way (OCW) website, it states: “Expect a mix of well-trodden bridleways, chalk double-tracks, forest fire roads, old drovers' trails, back lanes and overgrown grassy desire lines. 

“The route lends itself perfectly to touring from south to north over four to six days but how you ride OCW is totally down to you.” 

Mr Wormald, 29, who is currently working for the NHS, added: “It’s about the journey rather than the challenge and it’s open to all, not just your hardcore riders. 

“Hopefully people who are getting into bike packing or gravel riding can look into this. 

“The first person who completed the whole route did it on a gravel bike and he carried a hammock which he put up between the trees. It's a great feeling for us when someone completes it."

For more information visit here.