2023 Route Revision
The route of the White Horse Round was extensively revised and relaunched early in 2023. It’s now even more varied, faster and more flowing – and a bit longer. Find out all the details on the Route page. You’ll also find some info there about a temporary closure of a short section of National Cycle Network route 45 in Swindon, which the White Horse Round uses.
The White Horse Round is a 117 mile self-guided gravel cycling route for experienced cyclists, with about 5,500ft of climbing. An ideal start point is Bradford-on-Avon in Wiltshire, but as it’s a circular route you can start where you like on it – Devizes, Swindon, Bath and Kemble (near Cirencester) work particularly well, with most of those accessible by rail.
It was devised as an adventurous alternative to expensive mass-participation sportives, and to raise some money for the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity. All the route and general info here is freely given, and in return we ask you to donate a few quid if you can spare it. More info about that below.
The riding is a 50/50 mix of byways and backroads, and along the way it’s possible to pass, or spot, up to six white horse hill figures, which are something of a Wiltshire speciality. There’s also stone circles, hill forts, long barrows, Roman roads, ancient fortifications, and many beautiful villages.
You’ll ride on the Kennet and Avon canal towpath, weave along the stunning Imber Perimeter Path of Salisbury Plain, and pass over the mysterious old Wansdyke defensive ditch and nearby Cherhill Down, with 360º panoramic views. The route then goes through the world heritage site of Avebury, along the old drover’s road The Ridgeway, and makes an unexpectedly interesting and enjoyable off-road passage through Swindon. Flirting with the Gloucestershire border, the White Horse Round finally turns south west to take in a long and ever-changing stretch of the Roman road The Fosse Way, though not without some off-road fun around the beautiful village of Castle Combe.
Despite the length, the full White Horse Round is doable in a day, especially in good summer conditions. It also makes for a great bikepacking adventure, with a planned overnight stop.
And if 117 miles is too far, there are 3 shorter route variants: White Horse South, Mid, and North, at 77, 73 and 78 miles respectively. Check these out on the Route Variations page.
Ready to tackle The White Horse Round yourself? Grab any of the free downloadable files for your GPS unit, and go whenever you want! You can also check out our route descriptions, OS mapping, and advice for training and bike prep. Ultimately the White Horse Round is just a route suggestion, to be ridden self-guided whenever you like, so you can pick your moment or vary it as you require.
A key reason for establishing the White Horse Round was to raise funds for the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity, which provides life-saving emergency cover across much of the West Country.
If you ride the Round (or are even just here to read about it) please make a donation to the charity, however small. A suggested amount is £5 or £10, which seems pretty good value to us, for the GPX files and other info on offer. Especially with typical sportives asking for £50 or more. If you can spare more, it’s hugely appreciated. All donations go direct to the GWAAC and support their work, and are collected through their fundraising platform.
Joining forces with The Kemble Round
The White Horse Round was devised by the same people who established The Kemble Round, the thrilling 100 mile gravel route in Gloucestershire and The Cotswolds. These routes are two of the grandest gravel cycling challenges in the West Country. It’s even possible to combine them, for a Kemble/White Horse double – but as far as we’re aware no-one has managed that 217-mile monster yet…