There are a multitude of delightful cycling routes starting from Peppard that are mainly on quiet country lanes. The wind direction is usually my deciding factor, starting out against it and hopefully with wind on my back on the way home. If the wind is from a westerly direction then one of my favourites is a circuit of just twenty miles.
Setting off from the crossroads at the junction of Gravel Hill (B481) and Blounts Court Road, you get a nice downhill start to Wood Lane. Turn right here and proceed past the Sonning Common shops to the junction with Kennylands Road: go straight across to Kidmore Lane and thence to Kidmore End. At the end, by the pond, turn right and almost immediately left by the church and pump. Continue until you come to Rokeby Drive and turn right and thence to the junction with the A4074. Turn right here for a short stretch on this busy road until you reach the Pack Horse pub.
Just past the pub is a left turn signposted ‘Tinkers Green Only’: go down here to the end. At the end, almost opposite, is the road down to the House and Mill at Mapedurham. You may wish to go down to Mapledurham or, to continue on my ride, turn right. This road will take you past Nuney Green, Goring Heath and the turning down Path Hill to Whitchurch, but continue on this road to Cray’s Pond.
Go through Cray’s Pond and on to Goring, on the way marvel at the vista in front of you with views across the River Thames to Streatley Hill and the Berkshire Downs. Just before you reach the derestricted speed signs after Cray’s Pond look out for a large timber framed house on the left and see if you can spot the totem pole in the garden. Look out also, for the potholes in the road!
Continue down the hill until you reach the junction at the bottom with Goring station on the left. Turn right here and if you are in need of sustenance, turn left over the railway bridge into Goring where there are a number of cafés and pubs. If not, keep on up the slight rise and then down the hill to Cleeve where you turn right at the bottom before reaching open country. After about a quarter of a mile turn left. With the fire station on your right, continue to the top of the hill to open country and you will see a large water tank. There are some lovely views from here (ignoring the large open range piggery). Continue downhill and up a short rise flanked by trees – again be wary of potholes. There is a really glorious view across open countryside and you will need to pause to take it all in.
Follow the lane down to the crossroads and turn right. This is signposted to Woodcote and will take you there by way of the wonderfully named Catsbrain Hill. In Woodcote, go straight across at the crossroads with the village hall and green on your right; this will take you to the junction with the A4074 (again). Don’t worry, but take care, with a right turn and almost immediately left you are now on your way to Checkendon. The surface of the road through Checkendon is very rough so, again, take care.
On through Checkendon to the junction with the road to Nuffield and turn right to Stoke Row, here you may wish to visit the rather ornate Maharajah’s Well.
Incidentally, the church clock in Stoke Row is permanently set on twelve o’clock so I suppose it’s right at least twice a day! Just after you pass the Cherry Tree pub turn right where the road is flanked by mature beech trees, a truly wonderful sight on a bright autumn day. Continue on, which is now mainly downhill, through Kingwood, past the Unicorn and the cricket field until you reach the B481 at the top of Gravel Hill which is back where you started.