Day 4 - Avebury to Chippenham (20 miles) or Didcot (40 miles)

After a good nights sleep we woke for our continental breakfast - Caroline hunkered after more farm-grown bacon but it was not to be. We paid up and packed up ready to get going. The road took us south back towards Avebury together but my way soon led west. Caroline carried on down the road and out of sight.

A hundred yards down a farm track was a ford - I splashed through it and up the steep bank on the other side. The way continued between hedges until I reached open ground and the neolithic site of Windmill Hill. Its another ditch and bank enclosure with several round barrows. I had the place to myself.

The steep bank on the other side of Windmill Hill was one reason why it made a good defensive position - it also gave me a scary descent on the turf. The lane from the bottom of the hill was deeply rutted, and I nearly came off twice from clipping my pedals when in a rut. Riding between the ruts was not worth the risk of falling into one. Eventually it smoothed out and I saw the culprits - two Land Rovers.

I was now on National Cycle Route 4, following the obvious signs. There were other less obvious signs too.

The church at Cherhill provided me with a little rest and reflection.

Pressing on, I reached Calne. This seemed like a big city. Its really just a large village, but I'd been cycling for three days and this was the biggest population centre I'd been in since Oxford.

National Cycle Route 4 follows an old disused railway line. Hence there are no steep gradients. There are still signs of its railway heritage.

An old railway bridge crossing the road has been replaced by this elegant arched suspension bridge. It swings nicely when you rock it, and the lack of supports underneath make it seem an airy perch above the traffic.

It wasn't far to my sister's in Chippenham now, but I found a well-made bench to sit for a snack amongst the butterflies and bugs.

Three miles to Chippenham, my sister's house, and a hot shower! The end of the road for me!

Meanwhile, Caroline was doing 40 miles back to Didcot along the roads. She passed the Devil's Punchbowl and the Uffington White Horse, and pushed on through the pain for the last five miles to get home.

The next day my Dad gave me a lift to Oxford station with my bike in the back and I got the train back to Lancaster. A quiet journey until the arrival of 200 scottish football fans on the carriage at Preston station. I was home twenty minutes later, leaving a fight between two opposing scottish teams on the platform at Lancaster station. It was good to get home.

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