Back in the summer school holidays I tackled King Alfred’s Way with two of my three offspring – Daisy (11) and Jack (who was 7 when he started the ride and 8 by the time we finished).

King Alfred’s Way is a 220 mile (350km) route that is immersed in 10,000 years of history. The route loops around historic Wessex, the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Alfred the Great and takes you to places like Stonehenge, Woodhenge, Avebury stone circle, Larkhill cursus, Figbury Ring, Uffington White Horse, Caesar’s Camp, Iron Age hill forts, Roman roads, Silchester, Old Sarum, the Vale of Pewsey, Salisbury Plain, the Ridgeway, the Monarch Way, the South Downs Way as well as a good smattering of castles and cathedrals.

Of course you can start and finish the ride wherever you like but tradition has it to start and finish in Winchester near the cathedral at King Alfred’s bronze statue, erected in 1899 to mark one thousand years since Alfred’s death (he’s buried in Winchester). We started from home so did a sizeable chunk of the immensely hilly South Downs Way before we even made it to Winchester.

We carried everything we needed on the bikes and my Bob Yak trailer (water, food, tent, clothing, books, radio and sloth) and navigated our route with 8 Ordnance Survey maps. Each day we didn’t know where we would spend the night apart from hoping it would be somewhere near the side of the track in our Terra Nova Starlight 3 tent.

We ended up cycling 232 miles but didn’t do the whole of the official route due to veering this way and that (cycling with children you have to keep them happy by going with the wind). Sometime soon I’ll go back and ride it all again (official route) and maybe even do it alone (wishful thinking).

Jack rode his second hand 24-inch wheel Squish.

Daisy rode her 27-inch wheel Scott.

I rode my 26-inch wheel, 35-year-old Orbit.

For more info see:

About to tackle the south face of Butser Hill (highest point of the South Downs – 889 ft, 271 metres)

Camping in field on the South Downs.

Camping in another field near Salisbury.

Camping on a farm near Avebury stone circle.

Camping in a churchyard.

Our one and only night in doors in 3 weeks and our one and only bath. Good for doing our one and only proper clothes wash. Travelodge, Amesbury.

Inner tent cycling Top Trumps.

Jack giving Daisy a helping push.

Taking it slowly through overgrown nettles.

Warning: Tanks ahoy! Crossing the ‘pretend’ war zone of the military training area of Salisbury Plain.

Atop of Harting Hill.

Have sloth will travel.

Crossing the M3. We’re glad we’re up here and not down there.

Entering Winchester

Winchester Cathedral

Big skies, old barns near Sparsholt.

The sad sight of a ‘ghost bike’ placed at the spot where David Davenport, a 59 year-old from Eastleigh was hit by a car in June this summer while cycling along this road. He was taken to Southampton General Hospital where he died a week later as a result of his injuries.

Jack’s 8th birthday in a playground where we were camping.

Sizing up our wild camping spot.

Track side snacks.

Daisy coming in to land.

Near the Long Barrows of Larkhill.

Long bike, narrow bridge

Picnic spot on the Ridgeway on Penning Down. We’re sitting beside the memorial that commemorates the death of a German soldier who died here in 1993.

The one and only Stonehenge spotted on a perfect day.

Gary and Molly meeting up with us at Avebury Stone Circle.