White Horse Beano

August bank holiday weekend, 26-29 August 2016

Prehistoric sites and rolling downs in the Vale of the White Horse, Oxfordshire

The Vale of the White Horse is a magical place, with ancient sites shrouded in myth. The White Horse itself, a great image cut into the chalk of the hillside, has watched over the farmers of the vale for more than three thousand years. Nestling between the Marlborough Downs and the Cotswolds, the area provides great views, rolling countryside and miles of quiet lanes.

On Saturday we cross the Vale and climb the Downs, descending past a field of burial mounds into the famous "racehorse country" around Lambourn. Later we ride along a short stretch of the ancient Ridgeway track to visit the megalithic long barrow of Wayland's Smithy and take in the views from White Horse Hill, admiring the spot where St George fought the dragon (so they say!).

Sunday takes us across the Vale again and into the foothills of the Cotswolds, passing through great country estates and visiting a towering folly built by a great twentieth-century eccentric.

View from White Horse Hill

View from White Horse Hill

On Monday we travel half-forgotten lanes and pass through secluded villages, following the old wool-traders' routes through the valleys of the Thames and Windrush rivers. Water levels allowing, there's even the chance to paddle across the Thames, using the only ford in the river's entire 215-mile length.

This is a great opportunity to stay at Charney Manor, a beautiful Cotswold-style medieval manor house dating from the 13th century and one of the oldest inhabited houses in Britain. This grade 1 listed building was once the grange of the Benedictine abbey of Abingdon, and is now owned and managed by Quakers as a unique and comfortable venue for groups and courses. Set in a quiet village in the middle of the Vale of the White Horse, it's an ideal venue for a relaxed weekend of cycling.

Accommodation is in single and twin bedrooms with ensuite facilities or private bathrooms, either in the manor house itself or in the converted barn across the courtyard. Our bikes are stored indoors.

Tea on the lawn at Charney Manor. Image © Jane Barnes.

Tea on the lawn at Charney Manor. Image © Jane Barnes.

The weekend begins with dinner on Friday evening and ends after tea and cakes on Monday afternoon. If you can't bear to leave that soon (we always have trouble wrenching ourselves away), Charney Manor offers B&B accommodation on the Monday night for an additional charge of £50 per person.

 

Prices

£490 per person Special last-minute offer: 20% off normal price. Now only £392 per person.

Spaces are currently available.

Prices

£490 per person 

Special last-minute offer: 20% off normal price. Now only £392 per person.

Spaces are currently available.

Charney Manor

Charney Manor, our home for the weekend

Wayland's Smithy. Image © Zoe Weston.

Wayland's Smithy. Image © Zoe Weston.

Ready for the off! Image © Zoe Weston.

Ready for the off! Image © Zoe Weston.

Crossing the Vale. Image © Zoe Weston.

Crossing the Vale. Image © Zoe Weston.

Roadside stop

Roadside stop

One of the world's smallest museums?

One of the world's smallest museums?

Dinner

Dinner