• Description and Map • Photos and highlights • Where to stay • Bike hire
a beautiful ride on rural tracks, paths and quiet lanes, with plenty of cultural interest too: a stately home, the village that inspired Jane Austen’s imagination and a poem by Edward Thomas, and more.
Starting in Upper or Lower Oddington, a couple of miles east of Stow, the route takes you through scenic Cotswold countryside and the peaceful villages of Chastleton, Evenlode and Adlestrop.
Terrain: gently undulating, with a few hilly bits where you’ll need a low gear or may like to walk with your bike. The climbs reward you with spectacular views at the top followed by easy downhill stretches.
Distance: 10 miles (16 kms) but easily extended, or shortened by using the yellow road between Daylsford Hill Farm and Adlestrop (See map).
Oddington, Daylesford and the Diamond Way
In Lower Oddington village, take the track heading south and signposted to St Nicholas. Pause at this beautiful 11th-century church and its peaceful churchyard. From there, cycle traffic-free through scenic Cotswold countryside past the Dalesford Organic Farm and along the Diamond Way.
At the top of the hill on the road to Chastleton, the circular iron age hill fort on the right is worth a small detour (See Chastleton Barrow on the map). About 130 metres wide, only the 3-metre high surrounding rampart remains, but it’s atmospheric and there’s a great view.
Chastleton House and gardens are free to National Trust members. A somewhat quirky mansion where little has changed since Jacobean times, it’s a fascinating place to while away an hour or two. Enjoy a game of croquet on the lawn after your visit! Then take the bridleway across country to Evenlode.
to Evenlode village
Evenlode is a traditional Cotswold village with attractive period homes and a 12th century church. It’s a sought-after place to live due to its successful resistance to change and over-tourism.
Buy an ice-cream at the Adlestrop village shop. Savour the treat on the comfy wooden bench outside before cycling down the path to the village cricket pitch.
The sleepy Cotswold village of Adlestrop has two claims to literary fame. As you ride in, you may notice the village name in large letters on an old railway sign above a sheltered wooden bench. That’s to commemorate the now closed station and the famous 1914 poem about it by Edward Thomas. Read the poem here or on the little plaque on the bench.
The village and its people are also thought to have inspired Jane Austen’s 1814 novel, Mansfield Park among others. Austen stayed with her cousins, the Leigh family, at Adlestrop’s rectory (now Adlestrop House) several times and kept up with events in the village by letter. The grand house in Adlestrop Park close to the rectory almost certainly inspired some of her fictional houses. The colourful lives and inheritance problems of those wealthy neighbours must have influenced her storylines too.
Where to stay, eat, drink
Stay at The Horse and Groom, Upper Oddington village, near the start of the ride, or The Old Post Office, Adlestrop, and start from there instead.
Or choose a cosy self-catering cottage on airbnb. This one in Evenlode includes two free bicycles.
The nearby historic Cotswold town of Stow-on-the-Wold is another great option. Check out the photos, reviews and guaranteed price-matches here:
Local bike hire
TY Cycles, Chipping Norton
can deliver the bikes to you, by arrangement
Tel : 01608 238150
Unit 11, Worcester Road Trading Park,
Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire OX7 5XW
Hartwells Cotswold Cycle Hire
Open 7 days a week;
Pick up and return to the shop. It’s some distance from this ride, but no problem if you have a bike rack.
High Street, Bourton-on-the-Water GL54 2AJ
tel: 01451 820 405