Best Roads for Motorcycling in the West Country England
About the West Country
Touring in the West Country.
Being an avid motorcycle pillion passenger I would like to share my thoughts with you on the West Country in the UK and my experiences on the motorcycle.
Firstly a bit about the West Country an area that I am very fond of.
The West Country is beautiful, it has charming little villages, coastlines and cliffs and long sandy beaches. Wherever you go here there is something to be seen.
It's a magnificent touring area and if you haven't rode your motorbike in the west country yet then I suggest you do.
Most of the places that I have written about here are meeting places for bikers. There are lots of pubs where bikers gather and talk about their experiences riding in and around the West Country.
The West country consists of:-
- Lyme Regis
- Shepton Mallett
If I've forgotten any please let me know!
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Swanage Railway just one of the many stop off's you could pick whilst travelling in the West Country
Steam trains are again plying the century-old track that once linked the seaside town of Swanage with Core Castle. Enthusiasts have restore the handsome stone buildings of Swanage station, closed along with the line and have relaid 2 miles of the railway. Very nostalgic trip through some glorious countryside.
Swanage Railway is another place where bikers meet
Stonehenge is frequently visited by Bikers
Salisbury and Stonehenge are worth a visit
Salisbury has a magnificent, graceful cathedral, The cathedral' crowning glory, its tower and slender spire, soars 404ft into the sky, the tallest spire in England. The Close is entered through medieval gateways and contains some fine private residences.
Around and about the area there are streets full of inns, bow windowed shops and half timbered houses are laid out on a grid pattern.
And don't forget Stonhenge many bikers visit and it's great for catching up with your fellow riders. No comparable prehistoric monument exists elsewhere in Europe. Stonehenge is incredibly ancient. The monument grew in three main phases over about 1300 years,
Beginning as a ditch and bank circle. In phase two a double circle of bluestones was added, there are 80 of these, each weighing about 2 tons. In the third phase the bluestones were displaced and the colossal sarsen stones were added.
In its final form, Stonehenge included a rearrangement of the bluestones.
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Places to stop off for a visit
Admiral Blake Museum
Chewton Cheese Dairy
Clapton Court Gardens (a must for pillion passengers if your a she and love gardens!)
Combe Sydenham Hall
Cricket St Thomas Wildlife Park
Downside Abbey Church
East Somerset Railway
These are just a few places that I have been to.
East Somerset Railway is a particular interest to me as David Shepherd the painter exhibits a range from the steam loco Black Prince and Lord Fisher which my father had an involvement in painting when he was alive and David Shepherd became a very good friend of his.
Gloucester Cathedral is also one not to be missed
Built in the 15th Century, Gloucester Cathedral's South Porch and 225ft high tower are a glorious profusion of graceful parapets, slender pinacles and lacy stonework, absolutely stunning especially when the sun is shining.
The afternoon sun shining through Gloucester Cathedral's west window throws splashes of colored light onto the giant piers of the arcade. These immense stone columns convey an impression of solid, uncomplicated strength.
If your a biker into architect then this is for you. No need to travel abroad when it's on your doorstep waiting to be explored!
Gloucester Cathedral in all it's glory
Dont forget your wet gear when touring in the west country
In our experiences it is advisable to carry your wet gear with you when touring in the west country, very rarely do you get a complete day of sun, we have on more than one occasion set off in the dry from Hampshire to reach one of the listed destinations above to arrive to fall blown rain!
Guided tour to the West Country
A little bit about some of the towns
For a pillion passenger the rideout is a lot more enjoyable if the rider is not just concentrating on the good riding roads but also builds into the day visiting some of the lovely quainte villages that are on offer.
Barnstaple - This ancient town stands on the Taw estuary and until the 19th centruy was an important port. The bridge across the river was originally built in the 1400s but has since been widened and extensively altered.
Bideford - South West of Barnstaple and Ilfracome, has always made its living by trading and the sea. The long tree lined quay is very popular with tourists.
Bath - Britains most impressive collection of Roman relics are found here. The Roman baths are found here also and a variety of museums.
Bournemouth - Miles of sandy beaches and some of the best shopping in the south and plenty of amenities for tourists.
Poole - Has an enormous natural harbour and at the quay there is a maritime museum.
Penzance - The first and last town in Britain.
Newquay - This is where you go to surf, surfboarders love it here.
Exeter - The cathedral is there great treasure.
Exmouth - I would say has nearly the best position with one side being sandy beaches and the other alive with wildfowl and small boats.
Bath in all its glory is a great stop when motorbiking too
Bath is another lovely place to stop off on your travels. With many places to visit including:-
Roman Baths and Museum
Sally Lunn's Museum
The Great Bath
Camden Works Museum
Bath Postal Museum
Bath Abbey Church of St Peter and St Paul
My favorite being the tower of Bath Abbey which soars to 162ft high above a Roman statutue standing over the Great Bath a must to visit.
Cheddar Gorge and Caves a must visit for all bikers
A plunging, 2 mile cleft in the Mendip Hills present nature at its most awesome. Cliffs crowd the narrow road as if ready to slam shut in some huge seismic convulsion.
Secret streams riddle the hills, and there are more than 400 caves or holes in the area. Some are provided with electricity to expose their lustrous stalactites and stalagmites.
At the head of the gorge, a leafy and peaceful contrast is provided by the Black Rock Nature Reserve. Where on a good day it is possible to see Buzzards and Kestrels .
And don't forget to pick up your slice of Cheddar Cheese!
If you go to Cheddar Gorge you must pick up some Cheddar Cheese!
Riding down Cheddar Gorge
© 2012 Trudy Cooper