I haven't provided a set of circular tours on this page. Routes are described as sections between particular towns or landmarks. You can select which to fit together depending on the time you want to spend on your ride, or how tired you are feeling! Some of my favourite day trips further afield are described on a separate page.
I usually join this route at the 'Cat and Fiddle', the well-known tourist landmark on the A35 near Hinton. If you start from the centre of Christchurch then you need to start up the B3347 and
cut across at Sopley to Bransgore.
Approaching from the 'Cat and Fiddle', go straight across at the staggered crossroads on the outskirts of Bransgore and continue past the parade of shops in the village; or turn left at the crossroads if approaching from Sopley. The route from here on is just a case of 'following the signposts'. On the out of Ringwood at Crow, you have the option of turning left and eventually joining the B3347 at a T-junction, where a right turn will take you into the town. However, if you want to extend the ride, you need to carry straight on over the staggered crossroads (for Route 2) or turn right (for Route 6)
Carry on until the next T-junction when you need to turn left into the area of Ringwood known as High Town. This road leads to a slip road for the dual carriageway. When you reach the slip-road, make sure you turn right, up the incline, which leads you to a bridge over the dual carriageway. Down the other side, and along for about 100 metres brings you to a mini-roundabout where a right turn takes you onto the back road to Fordingbridge, signposted Linwood. After a few hundred metres or so you will be in country lanes again.
Your next landmark is the ford at Moyles Court. Our route to Fordingbridge bears left across the ford (usually dry, but a footbridge allows you to cross dry-foot if it happens to be running). Taking the right fork leads you up across the Forest, on my Route 8 past Linwood and High Corner.
Across the ford leads to Mockbeggar (carry straight on here and ignore the left turn) and to South Gorley, where you need to take the left fork. Carry on to North Gorley and take the right turn, proceeding past the pond and the "The Three Lions" on your left. At the next T-junction turn right and then left in about 50m. At the end of the narrow lane you are in , turn left towards Fordingbridge. (A lane on the right, just before the "The Three Lions", will lead you up a steep hill, and will eventually link up with my Route 8.)
You will eventually join the slip road for the A338 flyover bypass for Fordingbridge. A right turn, followed by a left turn under the flyover will take you into historic Fordingbridge, bearing left into the high street at the roundabout, and joining Route 3.
There are two routes to Cranborne from Fordingbridge, one through Alderholt and the other through Damerham. My favourite is through Damerham, which is reached by bearing right at the end of the high street,and climbing the hill out of Fordingbridge to Sandleheath.
At Sandleheath, carry straight on the B3078, although a right turn will take you up over the downs to the village of Rockbourne and its famous Roman villa site. An exhilarating downhill will take you to the village of Damerham, where you need to go straight through, turning right at the far end, signposted Cranborne. In 800m or so, bear right and continue along the main road to the small town of Cranborne.
An interesting diversion involves a left turn at Bellows Cross just before Cranborne which allows you to drop back on to the Alderholt road. At the end of the cross lane, turn right towards
Cranborne and then bear left at the corner, taking a narrow lane up the hill over the ridge. On the ridge and hidden in the trees on your left you will see the Norman castle mound, or
'motte', in the grounds of Edmonsham House. Following the lane down the hill, getting even narrower, you can join my Route 4 by turning left at the junction with the
For a slightly longer ride, try turning right towards Martin in the middle of Damerham opposite the bridge over the stream. The Martin road will lead you north over the chalk downs, and beside the small stream known as the Allen River. About 4km up the road, you will reach the hamlet of Tidpit. Here you can turn left towards Cranborne on a minor road which will lead you over the downs, past ancient earthworks on the right (not very visible from the road) and on through Martin Wood (magnificent carpet of bluebells in season). A fast and exhilarating downhill (careful!) will take you off the downs and to Cranborne.
Leave Cranborne on the Winborne Road, and almost immediately turn off the main road at the cross-roads at the top of the village signposted Edmonsham. In a few hundred metres along this road, you will see the bottom of the narrow lane past the 'motte' which I mentioned as a diversion at the end of Route 3. Continue past this and past the entrance to Edmonsham house. Here turn right at the junction, and continue up the hill, towards Verwood.
Continue through Verwood and up and across the heath towards Ringwood, and continue to the junction with the main A31. From the junction, Ringwood is best reached by using the cycle path on the South side of the A31, which can be joined by going through the A31 underpass.. (By taking the underpass beneath the A31, and then turning immediately right, you can join my Route 5)..
The cycle path leads into the main square of Ringwood.
Find your way to the main square in Ringwood, now by-passed by the A31. Leave by the eastern end of the square by the old bridge which once carried the main road through Ringwood. You can avoid joining the dual carriageway by following the cycle path which leads you across the forecourt of the filling station, and down the slip road for the Verwood exit from the A31.
The road to Verwood crosses under the dual carriageway. To get to Hurn and Christchurch, you need to turn left immediately before the underpass. This road will take you on a route through Matchams which parallels the dual carriageway which forms the spur road to Bournemouth, after first crossing it on a bridge. After the bridge, bear left alongside the spur road and continue past an entrance to the Hurn Airport industrial estates and eventually the village of Hurn.
On reaching Hurn, at the T-junction, the direct route to Christchurch entails a right turn to the roundabout in about 50m. A left turn at the roundabout leads to the approaches to Christchurch. An alternative route involves turning left onto the Avon Causeway. This picturesque route leads across the watermeadows, eventually joining the B3347, where a right turn will lead through Sopley and Winkton to the roundabout on the eastern side of Christchurch.
On top of the hill, cross the open forest to the junction with the Burley road which the road you are on joins at a corner. You will carry stratight on at the junction, through Burley Street and eventually reaching the village of Burley itself. Route 7 will take you in the direction of Christchurch.
At the end of the village, and just where the road vears left up the hill, take a right turn at the junction towards Bransgore. The road continues across open ground to Thorney Hill and then to the cross-roads on the outskirts of Bransgore. Continue straight on, along the main road at keep to the main route, which will eventually join the B3347 at Winkton.
At Winkton, a left turn at the corner in the middle of the village will lead you to Christchurch, joining it at the busy round-about to the east of Christchurch. Here, if you prefer not to mix it with the traffic on the round-about and dual carriageway, a cycle path leads back towards Christchurch.
Starting from the centre of Fordingbridge, take the road over the bridge and through the underpass carrying the A338 bypass to Fordingbridge. A short climb takes you up to Godshill on the Cadnam road. At the top of this hill, you will notice the junction with the lane joining with my Route 2. The route continues across the cattle-grid and through Godshill, along a magnificent stretch of the high forest, known as Deadman Hill.
You will notice a road from Redlynch and Downton joining at an acute angle. Ignore this and continue along the main road, until at the top of a rise, you will reach the junction of two minor
roads. Turn right here, and in about 500m, continue straight ahead at the junction. You are now heading towards the old disused airfield of Stoney Cross. To continue on this road would take
you to the busy dual carriageway of the A31, best avoided. You will take the second turning of the right, the first being a dead end. This second turning will take you across open
At the end of this road, take the right turn towards Linwood and past High Corner - a gravel track leads to the High Corner Inn, a popular tourist destination. You need to follow this road, which bears sharp right just above Linwood, and descends to the Red Shoot Inn. Continue along the road until the junction with my Route 2 at Moyles Court.
This route from Cranborne is an alternative return to Christchurch from the trip via Ringwood which forms Route 4. It provides a longer route back to Christchurch via Wimborne, should you wish to extend your round trip.
The route is the main road, B3078, south from Cranborne and is well sign-posted. It provides a reasonably flat and fast ride to Wimborne, with fine view of the higher downs to the east. Negotiate Wimborne by the ring road system, and take Route 10 back to Christchurch.
Signposts will take you out of Wimborne on the Christchurch road. This was the old A31 before the Wimborne bypass took through traffic away from the centre of Wimborne. The bypass has to be crossed at a large roundabout which can be very cyclist-unfriendly. At busy times of day, you may care to avoid tangling with cars on the roundabout and take an underpass which I have discovered.Look out for Old Ham Lane, just before Jewsons on the right hand side. Although marked as no through road, in fact pedestrians and cyclists can use an underpass to get under the Wimborne Bypass. Take Fox Lane to rejoin the main route to Parley Cross and Christchurch. This road is busy but does offer a cycle track near Longham. The route to Christchurch, past the airport and then turning right at the Hurn roundabout is uninspiring for cycling and has heavy traffic at peak times. Enter Christchurch from the north through Bargates.