Put 9th of September in your diary now for the
Seventh Charlbury Children’s Sponsored Bike Rally
round Charlbury’s five churches
and the Third Charlbury Children’s Bike Gymkhana
and School Picnic.
Sign up from 11.15 am
Individual Starts from 11.30 to 12.30 am
Parents and children should go to St Mary’s Church in Charlbury any time between 11.15 and 12.30 a.m. to sign in and start. When signing in, parents will be asked either to show on their smartphones that they have set up sponsorship pages for their children or to make a suggested donation of £5 per child. But we are actively encouraging parents to set up an online sponsorship page for their child. See here for more details on how and where. It is the easiest and quickest way to gather sponsors and enable them to GiftAid their donations. This year’s rally will be raising sponsorship for the Charlbury School Association and OHCT. Remember to specify that you would like Charlbury School Association (CSA) to receive 50% of the sponsorship your child raises.
Five Church Route
We will be following the normal route around the village passing all five churches.
Optional Over 7’s route
Over 7s will have the option of taking a longer course via Park Street, Five Ways and Hixet Wood.
Optional 10 mile route
By popular demand we are again offering longer 10-mile route for older children with bikes suitable for fairly gentle off-road tracks. This route will take them into and around Ditchley Park before returning to the FINISH. The idea for the longer route is threefold: to offer older children a ride that’s a genuine challenge; give children and parents a chance to cruise around exploring Ditchley Park on bikes (which is not normally permitted); and because the the CSA and OHCT are hoping riders will raise money through sponsorship, we feel this longer ride gives friends and family a genuine reason to dip deep and sponsor a child to ride 10 miles!
For safety, the children will start the rally at short intervals. Parents or responsible adults must accompany them (on bike or on foot). All riders must wear helmets. Balance bikes and scooters will be eligible for the youngest year groups.
How to take part
All children who complete their route will receive certificates and prizes.
The FINISH for all groups will again be on Wychwood Paddocks (the school playing field) where there will be a mass PICNIC, an opportunity for adults to try out E-BIKES and a BIKE GYMKHANA for the rally children to show off their biking skills.
The Picnic and Bike Gymkhana
The Charlbury School Association invites the public (with or without children taking part in the Rally) to bring picnics and set up around the edge of the school playing field.
There, the Windrush Bike Project will be organising the bike gymkhana, a series of cycling games to improve the children’s skills and confidence. WBP can also advise on family cycling and Bikeability training and will offer a free bike check and minor repair service.
The Journey Team of Charlbury Town Council will also have a range of e-bikes for adults to try out
For any questions before the rally or on the day, call the organiser James Styring (Charlbury Town Councillor) 07792 375423.
A parent or carer should accompany each child round the course (more than one child per adult is fine). They should read the more detailed instructions in the Risk Assessment.
The organisers are not responsible for your child’s safety.
Before the start each child must be signed in by a parent or responsible adult who has read and accepts these rules and accepts that the child may be included in general publicity pictures of the event. (Specific permission will be sought for any pictures focusing on a particular child.)
This event is raising funds for the Charlbury School Association and the Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust. Participation is free for those children who open a sponsorship page via the OHCT website; for this without sponsorship, a donation of £5 per child is suggested.
The children with their accompanying adults will start off from the churchyard gate at short intervals after they have signed in and collected their rally card and wrist band (see below).
Please make sure that your child understands that this is not a race and that the roads have not been closed for this event. All riders must wear helmets.
Children should pay particular care at junctions. (“Stop. Look. Listen.”)
Marshals are at the junctions of the two shorter routes within the town in order to direct them in the correct direction, not to tell them when it is safe to go.
Please make sure your child understands this. (On the longer Ditchley Park route, riders need to use their map and look out for signs staked to the ground at junctions.)
Each child must get his or her card initialled at:
Between stops 3 and 4 children aged 7 and above will be cycling via Park Street, Five Ways and Hixet Wood. Special precautions need to be taken between the entrance to Cornbury Park and Five Ways Corner (see Risk Assessment). Younger children will be going via Church Street and Sheep Street. All children will go up Fisher’s Lane, Poole’s Lane and Crawborough, then along the alleyway from the top of Crawborough to Wychwood Paddocks.
There is a longer route which is waymarked, via Ditchley Park.
The Charlbury School Association invites families (with or without children taking part in the Rally) to bring picnics and set up round the central area of the school playing field where the Windrush Bike Project (WBP) will be organising a bike gymkhana. This too is not a competition but we hope that lots of the children will want to test (and show off!) their biking skills. Their wrist band is their ticket for the gymkhana. With help from the Journeys Working Group of Charlbury’s Town Council the WBP will also offer the opportunity for adults to try out some e-bikes.
The day’s events are organised by Charlbury Town Council, the Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust, Charlbury School Association and the Windrush Bike Project.
Contact – Charlbury Town Councillor James Styring 07792 375423
Care will be needed throughout. The route is on the streets of Charlbury on a busy day with extra cars and pedestrians because of the Farmers’ Market and the equestrian event in Cornbury. The surface on the roads is not great, and there are potholes especially on Church Lane. The streets are residential and there are many parked cars. The long route for the oldest children includes short sections of rough track and potentially puddles.
There will be marshals at the junctions in town and warning signs for cars, but parents are responsible for their children’s safety. They should decide which route is appropriate for their child and their child’s bike.
Route A is for the youngest children. Balance bikes and scooters are allowed.
Route B is for older children (7+) and is probably not appropriate for balance bikes or scooters.
Route C via Ditchley Park is for children aged 8 or over and is suitable for bikes with chunkier tyres and good gears.
The rally is not a race and reckless riders may be disqualified.
Start at St Mary’s churchyard gate
Riders and accompanying adults will start from St Mary’s churchyard gate at short intervals between 11.30 and about 12.30 You should sign in at St Mary’s any time from 11.15 am onwards.
At the start you need to give way to any pedestrians. Look left and right before turning left onto Church Street.
Church Street: the road leads uphill and buses may be coming down (the bus stop is on the right of the road). At the junction, beside the Rose and Crown, turn left into Market Street. STOP, LOOK, LISTEN. Take care and look left, right and ahead as it is a crossroads. You may need to give way.
Market Street: the road surface is a bit potholey and there will be parked cars. There are shops and it’s a one-way street, though you may have to watch out for pedestrians crossing. Your stop at the Quaker Meeting House is about halfway along on the right behind a narrow gate. Leave your bike outside against the wall while you get your card signed. Afterwards carry on along the street and stop at the top of Dyers Hill.
Dyers Hill: please be extra vigilant here. Watch out for cars coming from Thames Street opposite and turning down Dyers Hill. This can be a particularly awkward junction with poor sight lines for cyclists. For safety’s sake, the check in at the Baptist Church has been moved to outside the White Hart so that you don’t have to cross this busy road. Dismount at the end of Market Street and walk along the pavement to the White Hart. Afterwards ride down the hill for 50 yards and turn left into Church Lane.
Church Lane: lots of parked cars, and the road is very narrow and the surface poor. Watch out for other cyclists and pedestrians at the back gate into the churchyard. Take it in turns. Get your card signed at St Mary’s Church. (Thereafter Routes B and C diverge from Route A– see below).
Church Street (second time): Back up Church Street. You may need to give way at the junction to traffic coming down Brown’s Lane. This time turn right at the top into Sheep Street. Again take care here.
Sheep Street: This is one way. There will be lots of parked cars and poor road surface. Halfway along you start to go sharply downhill. Your next stop is St Teresa’s Church on the corner of Sheep St and Fisher’s Lane. The entrance is on your left before the turn left into Fishers Lane. Leave your bike outside before going in to get your card signed. (Routes B and C rejoin here.)
Fisher’s Lane: Leave the Catholic church and turn left into Fisher’s Lane. At this junction, be prepared to give way to vehicles coming from Hixet Wood. Fisher’s Lane is slightly uphill and one way. Stop to get another signature at the Methodist Church before carrying on to the junction with Poole’s Lane, where you turn left. Again be prepared to give way and watch out for potholes.
Poole’s Lane: Uphill and narrow. There will be parked cars and possibly traffic in both directions. Dismount if necessary. At the start of the Playing Close, turn right and go up Crawborough (towards the school).
Crawborough: Take extra care on the blind bend outside Egypt and watch out as the surface is very loose and uneven. About two thirds of the way up the hill, turn left into the narrow alleyway that leads to Wychwood Paddocks.
Wychwood Paddocks: Cycle along the road and before you reach the Enstone Road, enter the gate into the School Playing Field. Cycle to the Windrush Bike Project tent to collect your prize and certificate – and then take part in the Gymkhana. The wrist band you will be issued at the start is your ticket for the Gymkhana.
Route B (for children aged 6 or over)
Turn right out of St Mary’s churchyard down Park Street. Give way to cars going through the narrow point unless signalled by the marshals to proceed.
Take great care and keep left.
Between the entrance to Cornbury and Five Ways corner, children should ride on the pavement with their accompanying parent on the road beside them. This is because there will be large vehicles on Park Street attending the equestrian event at Cornbury. At Five Ways, watch out for traffic turning from Sturt Road and Woodstock Road. Turn left into Hixet Wood. Continue down the hill watching out for parked cars and cars emerging from driveways. Stop at the St Teresa’s Church (RC) on the corner of Sheep Street. Rejoin Route A to follow the route: Fisher’s Lane > Poole’s Lane > Crawborough > Wychwood Paddocks.
Route C (for children aged 8 or over)
We are excited this year to be able to offer a 10-mile ride for slightly older, more confident cyclists. From the top of Crawborough, the route is waymarked with small arrows attached to short stakes. There are no marshals along Route C and there is no need to get your Rally card stamped along the route. Use the map that you will be given, the waymarkers, and this description, to find your way around Route C.
This route is perfectly achievable for children who are happy to cycle for 20–30 minutes, have a break, and cycle for another 20–30 minutes. It will probably take about 45–60 minutes going at a gentle pace. Do of course bring your own water and bring plenty of snacks. Some children may cycle the entire route without needing to stop. Some children may wish to stop five or six times. There’s no rush and the estate gates will remain open until we’re fairly sure that everyone’s come through, so enjoy the ride and enjoy exploring Ditchley Park on two wheels!
We are very grateful to Ditchley Park for giving us permission to use several of the estate roads and the farmyard, for today’s ride and for leaving the gates open, moving cattle and making us feel welcome. Estate staff will be present on the estate, so if you have any problems (punctures, or somebody falls off, for example) either phone James Styring (the organiser, from Charlbury Town Council) on 07792 375423, or somebody from the estate will no doubt find you and pick you up and give you a hand.
The route: Follow Route B around town. As you go up Crawborough, don’t turn left into the alleyway with the Route A/B riders. Instead, continue to the top of Crawborough. Take great care crossing the Slade.
Ticknell Piece: follow Ticknell Lane up into Ticknell Piece. Beware the barrier halfway up: don’t try cycling through this unless you have narrow handlebars and exceptionally good balance. Turn left into Ticknell Piece Road and then at the T-junction turn right up the hill past the entrance to the Bowls Club (on your right). Listen and look out for traffic which is generally going fairly slowly through the estate, but nevertheless you need to be aware. Go to the top of Ticknell Piece Rd and at the end on the left you will notice a short alleyway that leads to Quarry lane. Go through the alleyway and turn left onto Quarry Lane, following the track down to the junction with Ditchley Rd. Turn right into Ditchley Rd, keeping an eye and ear open for cars coming fast around the bend down the hill.
Ditchley Rd: cycle all the way up the road to the white gatehouses at the entrance to Ditchley Park. Be careful, as there are several blind bends on the road and traffic can come quickly through the bends and not see shorter cyclists. We recommend cycling through the bends in single file and close to the left verge of the road.
Ditchley Park: the gates by the white gatehouses will be open. Cycle through the gates and along the estate road all the way to the front of Ditchley House. You have to go over a couple of not very visible sleeping policemen and two cattle grids. Going over the sleeping policemen, make sure that children are holding onto their handlebars tightly and if they are able to do so to lift their bottoms off the saddles – it will make going over the sleeping policemen that much more comfortable. On the cattle grids they should have no problem as long as they keep going in a straight line and don’t try to stop.
Opposite Ditchley House you will see an open gate and one of the waymarkers pointing down the grand avenue of trees eastwards (in the direction of Woodstock and Oxford). Ditchley House have kindly asked the farmer who keeps cows on the estate if he would move them so that we can cycle along the the route of footpath here without encountering cows, calves or bulls.
Follow the waymarkers down the centre of the grand avenue, passing between the huge piles of logs at the bottom of the avenue, to the road at the end. If it’s been raining, be aware that the ground could be muddy or slippery. We’ve designed the route so that it’s slightly downhill at this point. Even if the ground is slightly difficult to cycle on, you should be able to roll over the ground easily enough. It’s just a five-minute walk if you do want to get off and push.
Outside Ditchley Park: turn left onto the narrow tarmacked road. Not many vehicles use this road but it is narrow so be aware of oncoming traffic, especially on the two very tight bends. Cycling northwards, you go through a tight left- and then right-hand bend, and then the road goes through the middle of an open field. At the end of the field, the lane bends left a little bit and you arrive at a crossroads. Turn left at the crossroads and follow the avenue of trees down to the gates of at the back of Ditchley Park. These gates will be open as well.
Back inside Ditchley Park: cycle around 100 metres until the estate road forks. Take the right hand fork which goes down a steep hill. The house and its associated buildings will be on your left and there are various other outbuildings and homes on the right-hand side. As you cycle down the hill, you’ll see a fence with a gate and a cattle grid cycle ahead of you.
Beyond the cattle grid, the condition of the road becomes more potholey and rocky, and in places there might be loose stones or sandy patches, so proceed carefully on this less-maintained estate track.
Go over the cattle grid and up a short, steep slope. After 50 metres or so, you’ll find the track forks again. Take the left-hand fork with the house through the trees on your left and an open field on your right.
Follow the track with the woods on your left. After a few hundred metres, the woods end and there are fields on both sides. Follow the track left, down and up to the line of trees where the farm is. Don’t take the public footpath which follows the edge of the field next to the trees as it is rutted and can be slippery in wet weather. Instead, go up to the beginning of the farmyard and turn right through the farm, and cycle all the way through the farm until you reach the Salt Way, which is the big wide farm track outside Ditchley Park.
Salt Way: note that the Salt Way is very rutted, with large rocks and potholes, so proceed with care. Turn left out of Ditchley Park onto the Salt Way and cycle up to the white gatehouses at the entrance to Ditchley Park. Watching out for traffic coming quickly along Ditchley Rd heading towards the estate, turn right into Ditchley Rd.
Ditchley Rd: cycle all the way back down the hill to the bottom of Ditchley Rd being careful (as you were on the way up) on the blind bends. Turn left up Quarry Lane to the alleyway into Ticknell Piece.
Ticknell Piece: retrace your steps back through the Ticknell Piece estate and cross over the Slade at the top of Crawborough, taking care of traffic.
Crawborough: proceed down Crawborough until you come to the the narrow alleyway on your right-hand side which leads into Wychwood Paddocks.
Wychwood Paddocks: cycle along the road, watching for parked and moving cars. Before you reach Enstone Road, enter the gate on the left into the School Playing Field. Cycle to the Windrush Bike Project tent to collect your prize and certificate – and then take part in the Gymkhana. The wrist band you will be issued at the start is your ticket for the Gymkhana.
Well done: you’ve just cycled 10 miles!