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King Alfred statue in Winchester

The King Alfred’s Way Cycle 2021

Challenge level: 4 out of 5

When can I go?

13 September - 17 September 2021 On Sale
Duration 5 days

What does it cost?

Registration fee (payable today) Info £149
Remaining amount
Total commitment Info

Can I still choose sponsorship?

Yes, if you'd like to fund your challenge through Sponsorship (whereby your chosen charity will pay for your challenge, provided you raise the minimum sponsorship target of £1,498) simply get in touch and we can arrange this for you.

Please note that not all charities are happy to commit to the minimum sponsorship option. If you choose this option, we contact the charity you want to support on your behalf. If they are not happy with the minimum sponsorship option, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.

The King Alfred’s Way Cycle 2021

Cycle through 10,000 years of history on this stunning 350km bike ride following King Alfred’s Way.

Our spectacular circular route starts and finishes in the heart of Winchester, where Alfred is buried.

Winding our way up and down quiet roads and rustic tracks that date back hundreds of years, we’ll encounter Iron Age hillforts, remains of Roman settlements, striking medieval architecture and intriguing Neolithic monuments, including the world-famous Stonehenge.

We’ll tackle tough climbs for breath-taking views of rolling chalk hillsides, the famous Salisbury Plains, commons coated with vibrant, purple heather and chocolate-box country-side settlements.

With stops at the fascinating Stonehenge, Farnham Castle and the Avebury’s Henge and Stone Circle, the landmarks will keep us captivated every pedal of the way.

This leads up to a triumphant finish in Winchester, with a statue of King Alfred himself welcoming us back to the city.

This invigorating cycle is a chance to get fit, see South England like never before and discover the secrets, legends and spiritual history of local landscapes that you thought you knew.

With mind-blowing insight into the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Alfred the Great and chances to envision what it was like to live here in the Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman, Saxon and Medieval periods, this cycle is time travel at its finest.

free transfers for all 2021 challenges!

If the challenge can’t happen in September because of COVID-19, we would postpone the challenge until later in the year or early next year. We would of course let you know as soon as possible and give you the full details so that you can mark the date in your diary.

What's more, we're offering free transfers for all 2021 challenges!

This means you can register now and then if you feel worried about travelling later on, you can put both your registration fee and your challenge balance towards any other 2021 or 2022 challenge of your choice, up until 12 weeks before our cycle begins.

Your itinerary

Day 1
Winchester – Amesbury – Stonehenge | approx. 52km

We meet bright and early as a group in the city centre of Winchester, a bewitching iron-age city, where Celts, Romans, Gauls, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and Normans all found a home over time.

Winchester was also a major seat of Power in the medieval and later periods. Needless to say, our time travel begins the moment we hop on our bikes and pedal our way out of the city.

We leave the quiet suburbs behind to enter a timeless rural landscape of small roads and ancient tracks, once frequented by rickety horse-and-carriages.

Tackling a range of terrains, we’ll undulate past prehistoric barrows and earthworks and through medieval farms. Along the way, we’ll catch glimpses of striking castles and ancient churches, which tower over us on higher ground.

The late morning/early afternoon sees us approaching Salisbury. As the city comes into view, we jump on the opportunity to visit the huge, grassy ramparts of Old Sarum, an awesome Iron Age and Early Medieval site.

We then descend through expansive panoramas of folding grassland to the chocolate-box village of Amesbury. Here, we find our hotel for a quick freshen-up.

Then, we transfer to the ancient spiritual landmark and World Heritage Site of Stonehenge for an excellent end to our day, admiring the ancient blue stones.

We toast our success of finishing our first day with a group dinner in the evening, before retiring to bed for a good night’s rest.

Day 2
Amesbury – Avebury – Marlborough | approx. 78km/48 miles

Rising to breakfast at the hotel, we mount our bikes at around 8am to cycle past the atmospheric Neolithic site of Woodhenge on our right, believed to be the ruins of a burial ground. This leads us up onto the ridgeway of Salisbury Plains.

Still a renowned military training ground, blended with the remains of Iron Age and Roman settlements, the Salisbury Plains make up another brilliant example of how southern England has changed over time.

We enjoy a stretch of smooth cycling as we head north on a well-surfaced track and take in the mysterious cursus, a Neolithic ceremonial monument that predates the Avebury Stone Circle by 1,000 years.

Eventually, we climb onto the White Horse Trail at the northern edge, a tough climb that rewards us with unbeatable views back across the Plain or over the Vale of Pewsey. Then we can catch our breath on a smooth descent into traditional English villages.

Today’s final stretch takes us across the River Kennet and along a narrow road, lined with thatched cottages, into the very centre of Avebury’s Henge and Stone Circle World Heritage Site, the largest stone circle in the world!

Here, surrounded by signs and spirits of the past, we rest our legs and enjoy a well-deserved lunch. Dating back to 2850 BC to 2200 BC, much of its history is shrouded in mystery, but we learn what we can as we explore the site.

Refreshed with food and historical insight, we then cycle the short distance to our hotel in Marlborough, where we settle down for dinner.

Day 3
Marlborough – Reading | approx. 75km/45 miles

After breakfast at the hotel, we wind back up onto the Downs and continue our journey north towards the Bronze-Iron Age Liddington Castle, one of the earliest hill forts in Britain, which dates back to 700BC.

It would be a crime to ride all this way without taking advantage of the incredible panoramas, so we make a quick detour to the brow of the hill for the best view.

Once we’ve caught our breath and a film-full of photos, it’s back down we go to pass south of Wantage, where King Alfred was born circa 849AD.

We push on along the ridgeway, before descending into Streatley and Goring to admire their beautiful locks and weirs across the River Thames. Here, we have a well-earned rest and lunch.

We then ride back through Dickensian times, as we enjoy the grandeur of Thameside all the way to our hotel in Reading, which thrived in medieval times as the tenth richest town in England.

Now a magnificent half-way through our challenge, we tuck into dinner and find our hotel for a decent night’s sleep.

Day 4
Reading – Farnham – Hindhead | approx. 79km/ 49 miles

Waking to a big breakfast at the hotel, we brace ourselves for a big day of cycling ahead.

Starting today from the bustling town centre of Reading, we have no need to worry about traffic, as we head onto hidden cycle paths, forest tracks and forgotten back roads.

Riding through the rolling Surrey Hills, we breathe in the tranquillity of the countryside, encountering handsome heathland on a web of bridleways and back roads.

These eventually take us from gravel to road and we descend to the striking town of Farnham. Picturesque terraces and villas line the road until we come face to face with Farnham Castle. Now a beautiful wedding venue, the castle was the centre of camouflage research during World War Two.

We wind our way out of the town, up through the magnificent Moor Park Estate, where Charles Darwin wrote sections of “Origins of Life”.

Next, we’re in for a breath-taking ride around Frensham and Hankley Commons, where vibrant purple heathers should be in full bloom. Still alive with nature, it’s remarkable but true that these are ancient lands, with archaeological remains from around 6,000BC!

We encounter some steep climbs and sandy sections, but it’s nothing we can’t tackle and the wildlife will distract you from the difficulty. Keep your eyes peeled for nightjars, tree pipits and butterflies! We then literally lose our breath on a tough climb along beautiful tree-lined track to Hindhead Common.

The vistas here are well worth the workout and have been named “the Devil’s Punchbowl,” taking in miles of southern countryside, town and city and extending all the way to the skyscrapers of London!

This energises us for a final descent to our hotel in Hindhead town, in time for dinner.

Day 5
Hindhead – Winchester | approx. 80km/50 miles

Rise and shine for our last day in the saddle! Today’s route is very tough but with a triumphant finish at Winchester Cathedral to look forward to, we’ll conquer it with zeal.

Following an undulating route through woods, heathland and nature reserves, we ascend to the stunning, chalk ridgeway of the South Downs.

The constant picturesque panoramas distract us from our fatigue as we cycle through the Queen Elizabeth Country Park. We’ll gaze across the reserve of Winchester Valley and spot rare butterflies, before leaving the Downs for smoother terrain.

Taking the Pilgrim’s Trail, this gently rising gravel track over the ancient St Catherine’s Hill is the perfect end to an epic challenge. We roll into Winchester and onto the city centre, where a five-metre-tall statue of King Alfred himself welcomes us across our finish line!

From there, you make your own way home, no doubt already raring to choose your next Dream Challenge!

 

Book my place

Funding options

Self Funded

Pay your registration fee and your challenge costs yourself.

£749

Pay the balance

  • Pay a non-refundable registration fee of £149, which is used to administer the challenge and pay deposits to suppliers.
  • Pay the challenge costs of £749 yourself 12 weeks before your challenge starts.
  • The challenge costs cover your food, accommodation, transfers, guides, mechanics and medical support.
  • Choose to fundraise as much as you can for the charity, hospice or animal sanctuary of your choice or make a personal donation.
Book my place

FAQs
The King Alfred’s Way Cycle 2021

We understand if you're worried about making plans right now because of COVID-19, but please rest assured that your health and safety are always our highest priorities

We are delighted to be leading the industry with our 14-step initiative to minimise the risk of coronavirus.

If the challenge can’t happen in September because of COVID-19, we would postpone the challenge until later in the year or early next year. We would of course let you know as soon as possible and give you the full details so that you can mark the date in your diary.

What's more, we're currently offering free transfers for all 2021 challenges!

This means you can register now and then if you feel worried about travelling later on, you can put both your registration fee and your challenge balance towards any other 2021 or 2022 challenge of your choice, up until 12 weeks before our cycle begins.

*This offer is subject to change and may expire. We will let all participants know if the deadline to request a free transfer changes so that you can decide in plenty of time

As we hope you know, the health and safety of our participants is always - and has always been - our highest priority.

Our team of experts here at DC has created a brilliant 14-step initiative, to minimise the risk of coronavirus and reassure you that you're safe booking with us.

All participants will be sent free Travel Safety Kits with face masks, hand sanitiser and anti-bac wipes.

We're also enhancing our health and safety audits, including COVID-19 training for all event staff.

Sticking to the government and NHS advice, we'll keep two-metres apart wherever possible and depending on group size, cycle in staggered waves to allow for greater social distancing.

Our accommodation and eating establishments will be required to pass COVID-19 hygiene and cleanliness checks as part of our health and safety protocols and have included COVID-19 mitigation as part of our challenge-specific route and risk assessments.

That's just to name a few of the inspired actions we're taking. Please check out our full 14-step initiative here and rest assured that we've got your back.

We have public liability insurance. However, we cannot insure your bicycle on this challenge, so please make sure your bicycle is covered on your home contents insurance or that you take out a specialist bicycle cover.

Your non-refundable registration fee of £149 per person is used to administer the challenge.

Your challenge costs of £749 cover:

  • All coach transfers
  • Accommodation on a twin-sharing basis*
  • Meals throughout the challenge, except for breakfast on Day 1 and dinner on Day 5
  • Stonehenge entrance fee
  • Full event management and support - the Dream Team are on hand from the moment you sign up for the challenge to provide any help you may need and answer any questions
  • First aid support, including at least two first-aiders with a comprehensive remote first aid kit
  • A team of first-aid and COVID-19-trained challenge guides
  • Carefully mapped out route, following the original King Alfred's Way as closely as possible
  • Mechanical support
  • Extra protocols taken to protect you from COVID-19 - please see our ground-breaking 14-step action plan here.
  • Your King Alfred's Way Cycle 2021 medal and t-shirt

*Accommodation is included on a twin-sharing basis. If you would rather pay for a single supplement and have a room to yourself, we can arrange this for you for an additional cost of £200.

Certainly. Our hotel accommodation is included in your challenge cost on a twin-sharing basis.

However, if you would prefer to have a room to yourself and pay for a single supplement, we'll be happy to arrange this for you at an additional cost of approx. £200. Please note, this is NOT included in your challenge cost.

If you would like a single supplement, please get in touch by emailing us at events@dream-challenges.com or call us on 01590 646410 (Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm).

In addition to paying your registration fee (£149) and your challenge costs (£749), you'll need to budget for your:

  • Breakfast on Day 1
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Gratuities
  • Personal expenses
  • Transport to/from our challenge start and finish point in Winchester
  • Parking in Winchester throughout the challenge if you choose to drive to and from the event
  • Accommodation in Winchester if you choose to spend a night in the city before/after the challenge. Please note, this is not a part of our challenge, so you will need to arrange this yourself if you decide to do this.
  • You may also choose to pay for a single supplement at our accommodation (approx. £200)

Please bring your own bike (we recommend a mountain bike or hybrid for this challenge) and a cycle helmet is essential.

A bicycle mechanic will be travelling with the group but please bring two spare inner tubes for your own bike. We also recommend giving your bike a full service before the challenge to make sure it's ready for our cycle.

Cycling shorts are also recommended and everyone will need their own water bottles or a camel back-type hydration system.

We'll send all participants a free Travel Safety Kit ahead of the challenge and it's essential you bring this with you to minimise both your own and your fellow participants' risk of COVID-19.

Your Travel Safety Kit will include hand sanitiser, anti-bac wipes and two face masks (one for each day of the challenge).

All meals are provided, but you may want to bring your own breakfast to enjoy before we start our cycle on Day 1 and any snacks you want to nibble on along the way.

The King Alfred’s Way Cycle 2021 is not designed for Olympic athletes – it's designed for people looking for an amazing goal to train and get fit for.

A number of the people who take part on this challenge will have a low level of fitness when they sign up. Our cycle through the stunning south of England is the perfect motivation to get fit and have the experience of your lifetime.

Once you have registered for the challenge, we'll send you a realistic and achievable training plan, which builds up gradually as the event gets closer.

Please don't be! The majority of people will sign up on their own and our Dream Challenges are renowned for the amazing camaraderie and life long friendships made as our groups take on these incredible feats together.

Once you've signed up for the challenge, we'll send you a link to a private Facebook group for everyone registered for The King Alfred’s Way Cycle 2021 .

Please feel free to use this space to swap questions, advice and updates with your fellow cyclists on your training and fundraising.

You may also want to reach out to the fellow participants in this group to see if there's anyone in your local area you can meet up to train and fundraise with.

Absolutely. We encourage solo riders and teams alike to join us for the adventure.

Our Dream Challenges are renowned for their camaraderie, so it's a fantastic opportunity to strengthen bonds between teammates and/or make new friends there. 

Join us with your friends and family or take it on as a corporate challenge and show your commitment to corporate social responsibility while having the time of your life. You could even take this opportunity to raise funds for your charity of the year.

No, your main luggage will be transported each day by our support team. We advise you to pack light.

You will need a bag to go on your bike or a waste bag for things like your free Travel Safety Kit, water bottle (ideally at least two litres) and phone/camera, along with any other personal items you want to hand. Any extra items you may need during the day can be carried on the support vehicle, which you will have access to at the snack stops and lunch.

We start and finish the challenge in the Winchester City Centre. We'll send all participants the full details of our exact meeting location as the event date draws closer. Winchester has fantastic transport connections

By Car
Please visit the Winchester City Council website here for a fantastic guide on all of the car parks in the area, their locations, fares and opening times.

By Train
Winchester is easily accessible by train with regular services to Manchester Piccadilly, London Waterloo, Southampton and Bournemouth. For information on train times and services, please visit the National Rail website here

Please visit the Winchester City Council website here for a fantastic guide on all of the car parks in the area, their locations, fares and opening times.

If you want to stay in Winchester the night before the challenge, there are loads of accommodation options ranging in price. See the top ten rated hotels on Trip Advisor here.

We advise that you look into what precautions they have in place to protect you from coronavirus before booking. This handy guide from Healthline will help inform your choice of accommodation.

We will stay in comfortable hotels throughout the challenge.

Accommodation is included on a twin-sharing basis. If you would rather have a room to yourself, you are welcome to opt for a single supplement for an additional cost of approx. £200. We can arrange this for you upon your request. Simply call us on 01590 646410 (Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm) or email us at events@dream-challenges.com.

Our accommodation will be required to pass COVID-19 hygiene and cleanliness checks as part of our health and safety protocols.

You need to be 18 years old or over to take part in The King Alfred’s Way Cycle 2021. There's no maximum age limit. One of the amazing things about this challenge is that it brings adults of all ages and from all cycles of life together for one amazing event.

16 and 17-year olds may participate if given permission by the event organisers. Please get in touch with us to discuss this. Simply email events@dream-challenges.com and we'll be happy to help.

The Dream Challenges team are here to help you achieve your challenge and will support you all the way. We are on hand from the minute you sign up to answer any questions that you may have about your training or the challenge itself.

Once you have registered, we will send you a realistic training programme to help you get fit for the challenge. The programme builds up gradually as the event gets closer.

During the cycle, we'll have First aid support, including at least two first-aiders with a comprehensive remote first aid kit, accompanying the group at all times throughout the challenge, along with a team of experienced challenge guides.

The group size for this challenge is likely to be around 25 people altogether. We will arrange the group according to the current government advice to allow for greater social distancing and minimise the risk of COVID-19.

We cycle on all sorts of terrains and surfaces throughout this challenge, including well-surfaced roads and tracks to sections on gravel, sand and ancient trails. Therefore, we recommend using a hybrid or mountain bike.

We recommend that your bike is serviced before the challenge to minimise the chance of any mechanical problems and please bring your own puncture repair kit with two spare inner tubes.

Need to hire a bike? Check out the Bike Hire in Hampshire website here, which has links to all the bike hire services in Winchester.

Yes, if you'd like to fund your challenge through Sponsorship (whereby your chosen charity will pay for your challenge, provided you raise the minimum sponsorship target of £1,498) simply get in touch and we can arrange this for you.

Please note that not all charities are happy to commit to the minimum sponsorship option. If you choose this option, we contact the charity you want to support on your behalf. If they are not happy with the minimum sponsorship option, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.

Accommodation in Winchester before and after our challenge is not included, so if you choose to spend a night or two in this stunning city, please arrange this yourself. Winchester has a variety of accommodation options to suit any budget. 

Click here to see the top 10 best-rated hotels in Winchester on Booking.com.

We also advise when booking transport and accommodation that you look to ensure a cancellation period is in place. On booking.com, you can usually pay on arrival and cancel up to 24 hours prior to the event.

If you plan to get the train to/from the area, you may want to purchase travel insurance when booking your tickets to cover you for any cancellations/ date changes.

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