Route advice needed in South West England.

johnblack

Über Member
Afternoon, I've got a long day in the saddle coming up in a couple of months as I've got to get to Exeter from Northamptonshire, stupid idea but it is all for charity.

One option for the route would be heading towards Bath and using N24 to Radstock and also using the Bridgewater to Taunton cycle route.

We'll be on full road set-ups and as I've never used either of these routes I'm not sure if they're feasible. Also if anyone has any other ideas or route options I'd be really glad of the advice.
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
I lived on the Somerset coast for a few years, I've ridden the last bit into Taunton and visited but not ridden Bath and Radstock.

N24 is tarmac at the Bath end then I think packed gravel but I'd use it because it cuts through the Mendips. Expect it to be usable on 25+mm width tyres but slower than tarmac maybe 10-12mph average.

N3 from Bridgwater to Taunton is a mix but mostly packed gravel when I rode it except for the very last bit west from Firepool. I think I'd stay to back roads eastwest of it between North Newton and Creech St Michael (IIRC) and then use it for the last bit into Taunton.

Let us know how it goes, please!
 
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OP
J

johnblack

Über Member
I lived on the Somerset coast for a few years, I've ridden the last bit into Taunton and visited but not ridden Bath and Radstock.

N24 is tarmac at the Bath end then I think packed gravel but I'd use it because it cuts through the Mendips. Expect it to be usable on 25+mm width tyres but slower than tarmac maybe 10-12mph average.

N3 from Bridgwater to Taunton is a mix but mostly packed gravel when I rode it except for the very last bit west from Firepool. I think I'd stay to back roads east of it until near Creech St Michael (IIRC) and then use it for the last bit into Taunton.

Let us know how it goes, please!
I will do, thanks for the reply. It's a long day so if I can cut out a bit of elevation I'm going to do it. I'm also keen to stay off A roads as much as I can. I've been thinking along the lines of what you confirmed. The Bridgewater - Taunton part may be better done on road or maybe even take a different route after Radstock and miss it all together?
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
I will do, thanks for the reply. It's a long day so if I can cut out a bit of elevation I'm going to do it. I'm also keen to stay off A roads as much as I can. I've been thinking along the lines of what you confirmed. The Bridgewater - Taunton part may be better done on road or maybe even take a different route after Radstock and miss it all together?
I was assuming you were going to take a fairly direct route between N24 at Radstock and N3 at Wells or Dinder. It's difficult to miss the entry to Taunton altogether without ending up climbing big hills or using A roads (most of the useful bridges are occupied by A roads... the A361 at Burrowbridge is probably the one where you spend least time on the A road) or both. The best route for you may well depend whether you like packed gravel or busy A roads least!

I've corrected a mistake in my earlier post after reminding myself on a map: the back roads are west of the Bridgwater - Taunton part's gravel section and you rejoin at Monkton Heathfield not Creech St Michael.
 

Heltor Chasca

Out-riding the Black Dog
I live just off the NCN24 in a village south of Radstock. I have a route used for the Exmouth Exodus (Bath-Exmouth) which would be ideal. You will need to make amendments to divert via @mjr ‘s suggestions (which are good ones) and your final push into Exeter. The drag onto the top of Cheddar Gorge is easy. You have no choice but to go over the Blackdown Hills.

What route planner do you use and I’ll send a link?
 
OP
J

johnblack

Über Member
I live just off the NCN24 in a village south of Radstock. I have a route used for the Exmouth Exodus (Bath-Exmouth) which would be ideal. You will need to make amendments to divert via @mjr ‘s suggestions (which are good ones) and your final push into Exeter. The drag onto the top of Cheddar Gorge is easy. You have no choice but to go over the Blackdown Hills.

What route planner do you use and I’ll send a link?
That's very kind of you, thanks, I've resigned myself to having the real grippy stuff at the end, still at least I will have earned a beer. I'm using plot a route mainly, but also use ride with gps and strava!
 

Ajax Bay

Guru
Location
East Devon
It just so happens I have been working on a route with a similar line (for the 'Easter Arrow' (to York 400+km).
Here's mine adapted to: Northampton to Taunton (252km)
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29322917?beta=false
I have ridden the last 160k of that (both ways - Taunton to Whitney) on 31 Dec and 1 Jan). And some of the route south of Daventry (Canons Ashby to Whitney) on the Heart of England 300k audax last April.
With all due respect to you and those above, you will not be wanting to faff around on canal paths if you're riding this in a day (another 50 to Exeter so 300+km) likely in the dark. With this route, from Taunton, take the A38 to J27/M5 and then the B3181.
I've resigned myself to having the real grippy stuff at the end,
No 'grippy stuff' on my route.
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
With all due respect to you and those above, you will not be wanting to faff around on canal paths if you're riding this in a day (another 50 to Exeter so 300+km) likely in the dark. With this route, from Taunton, take the A38 to J27/M5 and then the B3181.

No 'grippy stuff' on my route.
With all due respect to you, that's some pretty poor A and B roads after Chippenham on that route. A bit the other extreme to N24 and N3 and "keen to stay off A roads as much as I can"!
 

Aravis

Here for the ride.
Location
Gloucester
Using the same start and end points as @Ajax Bay, here's a radically different approach, arcing much further northwards via Stratford and Gloucester:

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29325254

Surprisingly few miles added, and the total climbing is greatly reduced, which may be important.

Not all A-roads are the same, and to my mind, the A38 through Gloucestershire and Somerset is the consummate mile-eater. It sits in the shadow of the M5, which is where most of the traffic goes, and I don't hesitate to put it forward as a good option for a trip of this sort. There's a hiccup around Bristol, which is avoided by diverting at Almondsbury towards the Avonmouth Bridge, eventually rejoining the A38 near Brent Knoll. There's just one short section on my route I'm not sure about, immediately after the M5 junction at Cribbs Causeway. I'm sure it's survivable, but if I'm down that way I take a more circuitous route.

There's nothing off-road apart from a little bit after the Avonmouth Bridge itself.

The temptingly direct A46 south of Evesham is not a complete no-no, but I always avoid it. I've shown one way; my preferred option dog-legs in the opposite direction but is a little longer.

I don't think we know what the actual start point of the trip is going to be. Anywhere significantly south of Northampton and you wouldn't want to go up as far as Stratford. There are good routes through the Cotswold Water Park towards Malmesbury, fter which you'd join the A38 north of Bristol.
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
Not all A-roads are the same, and to my mind, the A38 through Gloucestershire and Somerset is the consummate mile-eater. It sits in the shadow of the M5, which is where most of the traffic goes, and I don't hesitate to put it forward as a good option for a trip of this sort.
Of this sort? Of a trip by someone keen to stay off A roads?

The A38 is popular with lejoggers which I think is because it's reasonably straight, reasonably broad most of the way (some bits in and north of Bristol are wide enough to have cycle lanes although I think the ones they've painted are substandard) and reasonably easy navigation, but I'd put it merely in the "not a complete no-no" category because it's also reasonably busy (especially through the towns and cities), reasonably hilly and mostly very very dull.

I much preferred the OP's original approach of heading for Bath (Fosse Way?), using the railways to halve the Mendips, then heading along the Bawdip ridge, but each to their own.
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
Does this RWGPS link work for you?

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/23183699
Looks OK as far as I know it if one's not determined to go through Taunton. The B roads over Wedmore were usually quieter than I expected. I guess leaving that route at Whimple gives good access to Exeter. Just one question: why does it leave N24 between Midford and Radstock?
 

Aravis

Here for the ride.
Location
Gloucester
Of this sort? Of a trip by someone keen to stay off A roads?

The A38 is popular with lejoggers which I think is because it's reasonably straight, reasonably broad most of the way (some bits in and north of Bristol are wide enough to have cycle lanes although I think the ones they've painted are substandard) and reasonably easy navigation, but I'd put it merely in the "not a complete no-no" category because it's also reasonably busy (especially through the towns and cities), reasonably hilly and mostly very very dull.
"Of this sort" includes all the parameters. This is a big single day ride. Cutting out elevation has been mentioned, as has full road setup.

I think we should be offering ideas and explaining the reasons for them, as I did. It's for the OP to decide.
 
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