600k - 02 July 2022 starting at 0600 (Exeter)
The Exe-Buzzard is a basic ('X'-rated) event from Exeter in Devon to Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire, and back. The route is straightforward and includes some A and B roads. (The Buzzard from Leighton Buzzard is not running this year, but is still available as a permanent).
From Exeter the route follows the old A38 Northeast through Wellington and Taunton before heading across the Somerset Levels and emerging from country lanes into the Cathedral city of Wells. The route sneaks you through an arch and past the cathedral (ideal stop for a photo).
You then climb to weave past Midsomer Norton and descend into Bath. After the city there is a stiff little climb to join the Fosse Way, which you more-or-less follow towards Malmesbury and then Cirencester ( the route diverts around a couple of unpaved sections, but feel free to try them if you wish).
The route cuts across country to a short dual-carriageway section into Brackley, and then A and B-roads to Leighton Buzzard ( there are a few options for pre-booked sleep accommodation here, though it may be too early for most riders).
Heading south and skirting Aylesbury you cross the A41 (Hilton hotel left along the main road proved cyclist-friendly). It becomes suburban for a while, with plenty of roundabouts and traffic lights. Eventually you're out of the sprawl, you cross the M4, and then the Thames at Pangbourne. Take a photo of you & the town sign if there's nothing open.
Continuing South the route turns on to the A4. There is another sleep option (to pre-book), a Hilton hotel along on the left at about 360km.
The next section takes you into rural Hampshire, through the market town of Overton, under the A303, and through Winchester. More suburban roads lead to Chandler's Ford. From there you cross the Test Valley and follow lanes to Salisbury. There's a bit of urban cycling towards the railway station, then a route to Wilton avoiding some of the main road.
After a laney exit from Wilton you join the A30 to Shaftesbury, and rejoin it after the town, continuing to Sherborne (Divert into the town to find food & provisions).
The route takes a diversion South to avoid the unpleasant (for cyclists) centre of Yeovil. You rejoin the A30 at West Coker and continue through Crewkerne and over Windwhistle to Chard. Climb Snowdon Hill out of Chard and you're soon back in Devon. Climb through Yarcombe over the shoulder of the Blackdowns then fork left up a deceptively short ramp to follow the ancient Viney Lne to Honiton.
From Honiton the by-passed old A30 takes you all the way to Exeter. However, to keep the distance to near 600k, the finish is listed as Cranbrook. You may control finally either at the Cranberry Inn (on your right by the second roundabout, closes at 10;00), at the Cranbrook shops (right at fourth roundabout - Co-op on your left open till 10:30), or anywhere between there and Exeter.
- Exeter (start)
- Leighton Buzzard
- Chandler's Ford
The event will have a postal finish, meaning you must get proof of passage and post your card to the organiser within three days. It is intended for experienced randonneurs.
At the A41 and after Pangbourne, along the A4, (around the 360k mark) there are a few hotels and motels suitable for tired randonneurs. Pre-booking is advisable.
♦ This event is now part of the Exeter Wheelers' SR series.
Exe-Buzzard gps here updated 21-09-2021 (note this is just a gpx track. It will not provide reliable turn-by-turn routing unless you run it through one of the online routing apps. Even then you should check the route through Wells as the way past the cathedral involves crossing a footway)
Exe-Buzzard routesheet here. updated 20.06.2022
Map of the route here updated 16.11.20
PARENTAL CONSENT is required for entrants under 18 years of age. See the entry form for details.