Bowden Hill lies to the East of Lacock, beyond the abbey famed for several films and past the low-lying fields. After crossing the river, amongst some small houses, the climb begins.
The road rises gently past Bewley Common, favoured by horse riders and dog walkers. At first, all that can be seen ahead is an occasional dwelling place and the many trees. Those distracted by the thatched cottages either side may not spot the rising road ahead and be caught unawares as it momentarily flattens out before rearing up to around 1 in 7.
The size of the hill is hidden behind a mature horse chestnut in long grass, but around the sharp bend it looms into view. The gradient doesn’t let up through a tight turn back to the right. On the next straight section, the road is not quite so steep, but the Rising Sun pub on the right beckons temptingly to tired legs.
In a few tens of metres the hardest part is over and as you pass the 19th century Church of St. Anne the climb eases and you’re treated to views across the Wiltshire countryside towards Bradford on Avon and given a moment to catch your breath. However, it’s not quite time to relax as around the next corner the road rises a little more, passing through an arch of trees before reaching the gates of Spye park.