The 100 km route starts in front of Longleat House and meanders through the estate, circling the main house, past the big cats enclosure – Listen out for their morning roar. Riders will have warmed up nicely before enjoying the first hill of the day and exiting out of the Longleat estate. Eyes left on the way up, to catch a glimpse of the safari animals padding about in the field below.
Riders will be directed through the small estate village of Horningsham, turning right towards The Bath Arms and then left, up towards Maiden Bradley. A steady climb, skirting Bradley Woods, warming up nicely for a fast descent down Druley Hill and out towards a marshaled crossing at Upton Noble. The picturesque vale of Batcombe beckons, as Riders descend Hincombe Hill. Exiting the village of Westcombe, choose an easy gear and prepare for the second steep climb of the day – gratefully rewarded with a fast section through the country lanes of Chesterblade and Stoney Stratton, and on to the first Feed Station of the day at Evercreech Village Hall, mile 27.
On leaving the Feed Station, Riders will head out onto the B3081 for a brief stretch, climbing up towards Milton Clevedon. Views in abundance, a short descent takes Riders down into Bruton, where you meet the one way system and are guided out towards the village of North Brewham, traversing the River Brue and swinging right to South Brewham. Take care when making a sharp right, then left, at speed through this sleepy village. This is preparation territory for the climb ahead. King Alfred’s Tower climb beckons. Prepare your lungs and go steady on the climb out of South Brewham, ready to make your mark on this extra timed section. This is a killer climb, and a treat this year with it’s earlier placement at mile 32; short and sharp, but worth the puff for the fantastic folly at the top. A majestic building drenched in local folklore. We will have a ‘Sportivephoto’ photographer perfectly placed to capture your glory. Any Riders wishing to take in the beauty at a slower pace (walking!!), please stay in single file and give those spinning some space.
Legs and lungs get a chance to recover as Riders meander through Bayley’s Coppice – part of the Stourhead Estate – and on to Kilmington Common, before making a right towards the B0392, and the market town of Mere. Please take CAUTION when exiting right onto this main road; although well signed, with good vision, this is a fast commuter road and busy with National trust visitors at the weekend. Riders will, almost immediately, take a right turn towards Stourhead and a quick left into Bells Lane and through the former WWII American Airbase – avoiding the busy entrance to Stourhead. A flat two-miler, with a right hand turn downhill towards Gaspar. Take care not to shoot across the quiet crossroads at the bottom of the hill and be sure to indulge in the views of the Stourhead Estate as you cross the bridge towards Penhill. Enjoy pedalling through the pines, making sure that you take a sharp left towards a short, steep climb up Penhill, through Penselwood. It may be of note that Stourhead Estate have kindly repaired good sections of this forest road, however, this is an active forestry area and therefore please be aware of mud and debris.
Heading out of Penselwood towards Coombe Street, Riders drop down to the River valley of the Stour. Enjoy the descent, but be aware of the sharp left turn that awaits you. A sharp climb up Penmill Hill is rewarded with a 3 mile breather – a lovely flat section of open road, turning right and ducking under the A303, before spinning into the market town of Mere, where Riders will find the second Feed Station of the day at mile 51.
Fueled up and raring to go, Riders will head North on the B3095, dipping under the A303, before a steep climb up and out towards the village of Kingston Deverill. Wonderful 360 degree views abound, out towards Salisbury and beyond. From this plateau Riders will experience a fast descent into Kingston Deverill – following the River Wylye – turning left, with a short climb back through open countryside towards Maiden Bradley. At Bradley Park, Riders turn right down Back Lane. On reaching the High Street turn right again towards Crockerton.
On the homeward stretch, riders can enjoy the picturesque spin past the mile long lake of Shearwater. At the end of Clay Street, a left and sharp left again will take you up through Buckler’s Wood and onto the Redway. Turn left at the top and a rapid descent brings riders back to Horningsham. Turning right at the T junction, take care as you ride through this picturesque Estate village. A right hand turn at The Bath Arms Public House will guide you back into Longleat to enjoy the most spectacular finish to the 2014 Endura Lionheart – straight down the Longleat Drive – finishing in front of Longleat House. We will be there to congratulate and decorate you with your limited edition Endura Lionheart medal, and encourage you to re-fuel with a complimentary bowl of something hot and tasty.
Well done – you’ve made it!!