Holly Seear – Favourite Ride – The Shipwrights Way

I only discovered this route this year. It is a 50 mile route originally used by Tudor shipbuilders to transport wood from Alice Holt Forest in North Hampshire to the Portsmouth Dockyards.

It is suitable for mountain bikes, cyclocross bikes or hybrids with off road tyres and is predominantly bridleway, cyclepath and permissive paths. The route begins next to Bentley station with an undulating path through Alice Holt Forest. Most the route is flat or gently undulating, but

there is a tough climb where the route joins the South Downs Way and climbs steeply up to Queen Elizabeth Country Park. On leaving the park you encounter another steep gravel climb, but once you descend from the South Downs Way the route is downhill or flat to the coast. (Total elevation gain for the complete route is 2200 ft).

Most the route is through beautiful Hampshire countryside, but the last section into Portsmouth is not as pleasant as predominantly cycle path next to, or under the main roads so if you chose to only do a shorter section pick the earlier sections.

There are plenty of options for refreshments on route and the route goes through Queen Elizabeth Country Park which has a bike friendly cafe with a track pump and tools available for use and if you have time to play there are some purpose built mountain bikes trails here too, ranging from an easy family trail to a technical and root covered red graded trail.

The route itself it a bit of a treasure trail with 20 Portland stone sculptures along the way for you to spot. Each sculpture tells a story about the local area and even has a QR code on it so you can read the history on your mobile.

 

We rode the length of the trail, stayed overnight in a B&B before riding back the next day, but you could chose to do part of the route or get the train back depending how far you wish to ride.

Hampshire County Council has a website dedicated to the trail here with interactive maps, breaking the trail down into sections and information about the sculptures so you can plan your trip.

X