Corallian Crusade

"A gentle exploration of the Corallian limestone escarpment which forms a low ridge between Oxford and Swindon. The distinctive yellow stone has been extensively quarried and used in many of the local buildings."

This 105km audax starts and ends at the Thomas Hughes Memorial Hall in Uffington, Oxfordshire. This is a new event and will be run for the first time on Sunday 30th September 2018.

This audax is organised by Corallian Cycling Club who are based in Wantage and take their name from the Corallian Limestone which underlies the area.

The Thomas Hughes Memorial Hall in Uffington has a large car park and a village shop adjacent. The nearest railway stations are Swindon (22km) and Didcot Parkway (26km). There is a campsite at Britchcombe Farm just a few km away.

There are two controls and three information controls on the audax. The first control will be at Bampton Garden Plants, a fairly new cyclist friendly café on the outskirts of Bampton that provides breakfast, cakes and more. The second control is at the friendly and welcoming Talbot Inn near Swinford Toll Bridge over the River Thames, if the weather is good it has a lovely decking area overlooking the river. On Sundays it offers a carvery lunch as well as menu choices, n.b. if you wish to lunch here it is recommended to book in advance so the staff can know to expect you.

The organisers provide refreshments in Uffington at the start and end of the audax. Before you set off there will be a selection of tea, coffee, squash, biscuits, malt loaf and bananas. On your return there will be home made cakes, sandwiches, crisps and more.

Pre-entry is preferred via the Audax UK website, we can accept entries up to the evening before the event as long as we still have brevet cards. Earlier entry to enable us to judge the amount of catering required is preferable. If we have any brevet cards left we can accept entries on the day on a first come first served basis. Please contact the organiser before travelling to check that we have spare cards.

Route of the Corallian Crusade

The route is designed to explore the ridge of Corallian Limestone between Swindon and Oxford. Pretty much every time the route descends or ascends you will be riding down or up the scarp slope of the outcrop. Many of the buildings in the villages you will ride through are built from the stone. The photo below shows a typical cottage built from Corallian Limestone. The route is not especially hilly though and is an ideal stepping stone to longer and harder audax events.

The route heads out to the southwest roughly following the line of the Corallian ridge to Shrivenham, a few lumps before you drop off the ridge at Fresden and then climb back up at Coleshill. Plunging off the escarpment properly into the Thames Valley towards Lechlade the route does a loop crossing the Thames twice before climbing back up the scarp slope at Buckland. A smaller loop on top of the Corallian outcrop follows before dropping back off it to cross the Thames again at Newbridge. You'll now ride along the bottom of the ridge with the outcrop to your right before climbing up the escarpment one last time to Cumnor. The ride back to Uffington goes along the road that runs right along the top of the escarpment, you will get glimpses down into the Thames Valley to your right. All the villages along here have buildings and walls built from the stone, there were many quarries in this area, most now disused.

Route sheet

You can extract TCX and GPX files from the Ride with GPS widget below. The latest routesheet is available on Google Docs or as a PDF below.

John Talbot,
27 Aug 2018, 14:15