The Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive has become one of the biggest events of the sportive calendar. It’s such a popular early-season test that it runs on both the Saturday and Sunday – and yet it still sells out before the day. Now in its seventh year, it is a flagship event for Wiggle and UKCE in the South of England.
This year it has a brand new HQ at the spectacular stately home, Somerley House in Hampshire.
Somerley House was designed by Samuel Wyatt in 1750 and has been in the Normanton family for five generations since it was bought by The 2nd Earl in 1825. The house and its gardens sit high up over looking hundreds of acres of parkland. Winding its way through this beautiful parkland is the well-known river Avon which stretches the full length of the 7,000 acre estate. With the event HQ set up right in front of the house, it will provide a stunning setting for the start and finish of the event.
The new venue is not only a beautiful location but it also has logistic advantages, including a different entrance for cars and exiting riders and a mile long driveway to split riders up before they start cycling on public highways.
Somerley House and Gardens are not usually open to the public; however as an added bonus; riders of the Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive and supporters will have the chance to view some of the State rooms within the House and access to the Gardens on the event day.
The ride itself has two routes, a 67mile standard route with 2030 feet of climbing and an 84 mile epic route with 2480 feet of climbing.
Starting just outside the National Park, near Ringwood, the ride starts in the south-west corner of the Forest and completes an anti-clockwise loop along unspoilt and quiet back lanes with picturesque views.
As the ride progresses, taking in the views of the rolling scenery, there are a number of hills to challenge the legs; short, sharp climbs popping up every now and again to keep you on your toes. The route passes through the beautiful New Forest villages of Sway, Beaulieu and Lepe before heading north and back into the centre of the district.
As the route reaches the most central point of the forest, Lyndhurst, riders cross the M27 and approach the events major climb of the day, just outside Nomansland. It’s steep, but fairly short, so it shouldn’t force too many riders from their bikes. Once at the top, it’s downhill all the way – with one spiky hill exception around Stuckton and the final feed stop – as you roll back around the edges of the Forest, back towards Somerley House.
To book your place visit ukcyclingevents.co.uk.