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  • King Alfred’s Way (September 2021)
  • Premier Icon gazzab1955
    Full Member

    Finished King Alfred’s Way route last Wednesday, 220 miles, 15,500ft of climbing, 5 days biking and 4 nights camping. Happy to provide any info or answer any questions (if I can) for anyone that is think of doing the trail.

    Premier Icon boxwithawindow
    Full Member

    Good work.

    How did you find it?

    Where are the photos?

    I have some slightly shorter ldr’s in that sort of area if you’re interested.

    Premier Icon mudmuncher
    Free Member

    Finished King Alfred’s Way route last Wednesday, 220 miles, 15,500ft of climbing, 5 days biking and 4 nights camping. Happy to provide any info or answer any questions (if I can) for anyone that is think of doing the trail.

    MTB or gravel bike? I did 30miles on the ridgeway on my new gravel bike the other day – couldn’t help thinking I’d be more comfortable on my MTB, but maybe I just need to get used to it.

    Premier Icon jobro
    Free Member

    I did in 3 days in July on my gravel bike. I put the 2″ Maxxis on though, partly for multi day comfort and also for protection from flint strikes.You certainly don’t need the big tyres for the difficulty of the trails. The Ridgeway was quite good, much of the rest not so.

    Premier Icon gazzab1955
    Full Member

    @boxwithawindow – Really enjoyed it. Ok some sections aren’t what you would choose if doing a day ride, but it’s 200+ miles so it can’t be all gnarly downhill singletrack. For me the best sections were day 2 and 3, 10 miles across Salisbury Plain, 40 miles of the Ridgeway and the 9 miles of Thames path into Reading. Photo’s are more of the personal kind, and haven’t sorted them out yet, will try and post a few later today.

    Premier Icon gazzab1955
    Full Member

    @mudmuncher – Both on MTB’s. Me on my carbon Specsh Stumpjumper FS with 2.3 tyres and my mate Rich on his Bombtrack Beyond +1 (no suspension back or front) with 2.5 tyres. Richard’s wife carried the camping gear between sites in their T5 so we could travel light which made the riding more fun, especially for me flicking the Stumpy around on the downhills. We both run tubeless and with a combined 440 miles of riding we had no punctures and no mechanicals.

    Premier Icon gazzab1955
    Full Member

    @boxwithawindow – A few pics of the ride ….

    The climb up on to the Ridgeway

    View north from Court Hill campsite

    Salisbury Plain

    The Ridgeway

    Devil’s Punch Bowl

    Devil’s Punch Bowl

    Winchester Hill Fort (SDW)

    Meon Valley

    Climbing out of the Meon Valley

    Premier Icon boxwithawindow
    Full Member

    Thanks OP

    What a great way to spend days, Salisbury plain is my old stomping ground and I must say those photos are making me pine to be back there.

    Looks like you had the weather, they had only just resurfaced those military roads before covid, before that they were tough going, huge potholes everywhere!

    Premier Icon boxwithawindow
    Full Member

    I have a nice LDR that starts at Westbury white horse and takes in most of Salisbury plain and stone henge if you want to take a look?

    Sub 200 miles too so at a similar pace would be a long weekend for you guys, nice route too.

    Premier Icon gazzab1955
    Full Member

    @boxwithawindow – No problem. We were mostly very lucky with the weather. Sat/Sun were perfect riding weather sunny but not to hot. Monday started with heavy rain but we had a short day planned so we had a lazy breakfast waiting until the rain blew thru before setting off. Tuesday was our big day, 100km and 5000ft of ascent, we had heavy showers on and off all day and we took shelter a couple of times but in the main just rode thru it. Wednesday was sunny all day a great way to finish.

    Premier Icon anagallis_arvensis
    Free Member

    MTB or gravel bike?

    I did it at start of August, started in Reading on my gravel bike with 38mm semi slicks, fully loaded for camping. It was a real fun ride, slip slidy and fast, by Winchester my bottom bracket was lunched so had to call up neutral service to deliver my old hardtail mtb which I finished the ride on, it was a much easier ride, more relaxing, maybe less fun. All in all if I was doing it again an xc hardtail would be my choice unless we had prolonged dry weather before and during.

    Premier Icon jameso
    Full Member

    The KAW is a classic of the ‘no right bike’ genre, I like that. Riders will interpret it in different ways. There aren’t any technical sections by MTB standards (just one descent I can think of that’s getting there), it’s simple XC and lanes mostly, but the skinnier your tyres and the more you pack on the bike plus the longer the days, the more wearing it could feel. I enjoyed it, on my choice of bike / kit / time taken.

    Premier Icon gazzab1955
    Full Member

    @jameso – Gotta agree with you, there is no definitive bike or set up for this ride. There are so many different surfaces and terrains. While I had great fun on my FS Stumpy if I had to pick one bike for the trip I would say a HT MTB with some reasonably fat 2.0-2.3 tubeless tyres just to reduce the chance of punctures (it is hedge/blackthorn cutting season) and make the ride a bit more comfortable. But then of course you have to take into account your own riding style, what bike/s do you have available to you and how much kit you are going to carry.

    Premier Icon Poopscoop
    Full Member

    Thanks for posting the pics.

    That climb upto the iron age fort on the SDW… don’t think ill ever be able to clear that.Lol I assume that’s where the pic is, looks like it?

    Great pics and you looked to had some pretty good weather on the whole.

    Premier Icon jameso
    Full Member

    I have a nice LDR that starts at Westbury white horse and takes in most of Salisbury plain and stone henge if you want to take a look?

    Would be interested to see that, can you pm me? Thanks. I was out that way last weekend. Been exploring the Salisbury to Inkpen / N Wessex Downs area this summer. Some great gravel tracks on the plains.

    Premier Icon nixie
    Full Member

    That climb upto the iron age fort on the SDW… don’t think ill ever be able to clear that.Lol I assume that’s where the pic is, looks like it?

    The one that starts as a 90deg turn and then goes straight up? It is cleanable, I managed it earlier this year. It is hard work though and the ground was dry. Don’t think I’d make it if it was damp.

    Premier Icon boltonjon
    Full Member

    Have completed it twice now, both times on a fatbike and in both directions. Chose to do it anti-clockwise due to the prevailing wind one morning and it was a nice change

    My first loop was just before it officially opened and the route we had was slightly different from the ‘official’ loop. I thought our first loop was much better – a fair bit less tarmac

    We were surprised to see how busy the wild camping scene was – i’ve rarely noticed other campers whilst settling in for a night, but seen several groups on each of the nights

    A really nice loop though. I really liked the Salisbury Plain section as i’d never ridden there before

    The section through Reading was bizarre and did not make the most of their cycle paths though

    Premier Icon gazzab1955
    Full Member

    @poopscoop – Yep that’s the one at Winchester Hill Fort. Fortunately we were going down which was great fun, but as we descended I clearly remembered walking up most of it in 2016 when we did the SDW over a couple of days. It was very dry at the time, but the surface was so loose we couldn’t get any traction and just kept spinning out in the low gears you need to get up there.

    Premier Icon damascus
    Free Member

    Hi,

    Can anyone suggest a place to camp the night before I do the KAW? and where I can leave a van for 4 or 5 days? I’m coming from West Yorkshire.

    Where’s the best place to start? And which way round is best? Clockwise or anti clockwise?

    Thanks

    Premier Icon gazzab1955
    Full Member

    @damascus – Just sent a message with some info, but a good idea to ask on here, see also in my message about using the Facebook Group.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    Just realised this goes directly past my house. That explains the proliferation of abandoned T5s and Berlingos over the past summer!

    Not complaining, it’s a public road but it’s a cul-de-sac where everyone has a driveway so visitors stick out like a sore thumb.

    Premier Icon superfli
    Free Member

    You could camp at Meon Springs, which is at the bottom of Old Winchester hill on SDW/KAW. Nice and quiet, but lacks a pub or many facilities. They also do glamping
    https://www.meonsprings.com/camping.html
    Give them a ring to see if its ok to leave car.

    Edit – although you probably want somewhere on the North side of KAW if you are coming from up North.

    Premier Icon susepic
    Free Member

    @poopscoop – Yep that’s the one at Winchester Hill Fort…..the surface was so loose we couldn’t get any traction and just kept spinning out in the low gears you need to get up there.

    Glad I’m not the only one to struggle on that climb. Have never managed it cleanly, even when properly fit, the gravelly dusty surface is just impossible

Viewing 23 posts - 1 through 23 (of 23 total)

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