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Discover Five New Gravel Routes in Oxford County This Season

When planning a gravel cycling getaway this summer, there is one destination that should be at the top of your list – Oxford County.

The county continues to develop more enticing gravel cycling routes, including the launch of five new gravel routes this year. They range in experience level from intermediate to advanced and cover diverse terrain and unique stops around the county. Read on below to discover these routes.

For gravel riders, Oxford County is a real hidden gem, with more unpaved roads than nearby counties. This means quieter cycling routes and a feeling of being off the beaten path. Oxford’s unpaved gravel roads also hold some of the county’s most beautiful scenery: rolling hills, bucolic countryside, and unique stops that showcase the bounty of the area, whether that’s local cheese, bakeries and markets, BBQ, maple syrup, art galleries and tons of historic sites.

Where to Stay?

You’ll need at least a few days to ride these routes and really experience what Oxford has to offer. In the county’s larger towns of Woodstock and Ingersoll, there are some great accommodations options from which to base a few days of riding. Having a comfortable place to crash at the end of day is so important – gravel grinding can really tire you out!

Certified bicycle friendly Elm Hurst Inn & Spa in Ingersoll is a fantastic option with elegant rooms and spa onsite, including sauna and steam rooms. They also have an excellent restaurant, so it won’t be hard to unwind there after riding gravel all day. They also have mid-week discounts to take advantage of. There are a lot of other great bicycle friendly hotel options in both Woodstock and Ingersoll so secure overnight bicycle storage won’t be an issue.

Gravelocity Cycling Tours

If you just want to ride and don’t want to think about the logistics, Gravelocity Cycling Tours can offer you a perfect Oxford gravel getaway. Gravelocity offers group rides for beginners and experienced gravel riders alike to see the most beautiful corners of the county and its farmland, forests and marshes. You’ll enjoy tasty mid-ride treats, incredible views and boutique accommodations.

Oxford County Experiences & Cheese Trail

Really want to experience Oxford County? Pair your cycling stay with one of twenty different immersive experiences, from animal and farm experiences, to culinary experiences like roasting your own batch of coffee at Early Bird Coffee.

Speaking of cheese, one of the most unique ways to experience the region is the Oxford County Cheese Trail, which is a self-guided tour with shops and stops featuring cheese, dairy and related experiences. As the dairy capital of Canada, you’ll be able to visit cheese makers, restaurants, local food producers, museums, artisans and boutiques all along the route. Local makers produce cheese varieties including gouda, cheddar, curds, goats cheese, as well as unique local specialties like Oxford’s Harvest, a mild, creamy cheese made by Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese near Woodstock. Many of these cheese makers are close by to the gravel routes below, so be sure to check them out enroute. Learn more and discover the rich cheese making history of the county at the Ingersoll Cheese & Agricultural Museum.

New Oxford County Gravel Cycling Routes

These five new gravel cycling routes can be found on the Tourism Oxford Cycling Website with information on surface type for each route, difficulty level, safety notes, and Ride with GPS digital mapping.

The Reverend’s Ramble – 33km

 The Reverend’s Ramble is a great intro to Oxford gravel and its name is an homage to “saddle-bag preacher” Nathan Bangs who founded the picturesque West Oxford United Church enroute. While care should be taken riding out of Ingersoll, once out into the countryside, this ride is a breeze. This route covers rolling hills and quiet farm lanes where you will find yourself surrounded by corn stalks and tree-lined gravel roads. On Curry Road the rolling hills turn the road into a ribbon of gravel. Onwards down Jordan Line and Cuthbert Road the roads narrow and once you’re on the downhill of Budd Line, it will feel as if you’ve strayed onto a farmer’s track.

Stops Enroute (Seasonal hours, check website before visiting):

Taste of Embrosia – 57km

Ambrosia in Greek mythology was the name of the elixir of the gods, granting longevity to whomever consumed it. Passing through the town of Embro and scenic countryside this route might just offer you the same! Most of this route rides along gravel roads and trails, with a steady but gentle climb towards Embro at the 35km mark, with the return journey a pleasant mostly downhill roll back towards Ingersoll. Make sure to stop for a mid-ride elixir at Kintore Coffee Co. in Embro, and plan to have lunch back in Ingersoll at the The Olde Bakery Cafe for great soups and sandwiches, decadent and old-fashioned desserts and a cozy and warm atmosphere. After lunch check out the Ingersoll Cheese & Agricultural Museum where you’ll learn about the rich history of cheesemaking in the county and features a gift shop with local cheeses, blacksmith shop, barns, and local history gallery.

Stops Enroute (Seasonal hours, check website before visiting):

Heritage Ride – 65km

Starting and ending in Tillsonburg, this route makes use of a forested rail trail northeast out of Tillsonburg for a 10km leisurely warmup ride, before weaving its way onto gravel and paved roads, with a gradual climb up to Norwich around the 30km mark. On the last leg of this gravel loop, head back south towards the Trans Canada Trail for a 14km return journey to Tillsonburg. With trail inclusions, about one third of this ride is off-road. Riders interested in aviation can detour slightly to the Tillsonburg Airport to view vintage Harvard warplanes and have a snack at bicycle friendly Skyway Cafe, or check out other refreshment stops midway. Just after the 45km mark is the historic African Methodist Episcopal Cemetery just north of Otterville. Restored in 2007, this is the resting place for 140 Black pioneers, many who fled slavery in the United States.

Stops Enroute (Seasonal hours, check website before visiting):

Woodstock, Hickson Trail, Wolverton – 74km

Leaving from Woodstock, this route is a true Oxford gravel adventure, starting out on the rough and ready Hickson Trail for 7.5km. You’ll exit the trail onto Braemar Road, which is a tranquil tree-lined gravel road that crosses little rivers and a few wetlands. After Township Road 9, you’ll then find yourself on some of the most picturesque gravel roads in the county, including Hubbard, King and Wolverton roads. At the end of Hubbard Road where it intersects with Township Rd 12, detour west about a kilometre off route to enjoy the fantastic offerings at Cheese Trail stop Bright Cheese & Butter, which has produced award-winning cheese at their historic factory for over 140 years. Sample aged cheddars, Asiago, Colby, and feta cheeses to name a few. Consider booking in advance for a matinee country music concert at Walters Music Venue, or continue back to Woodstock via a trail for the last couple kilometres along the Pittock Reservoir.

Stops Enroute (seasonal hours, check website before visiting):

– Hickson Trail:  South section of Hickson Trail off of Pittock Road
– Walters Music Venue– 836074 Hubbar Rd. Bright
– Bright Cheese & Butter– 816503 County Rd. 22, Bright
– Trails Edge Tavern- 46 Albert St. Plattsville

A Full-on Bro’mance – 93km

Starting and ending in Ingersoll, this advanced gravel route is a big ride and should only be attempted by experienced gravel grinders. The route combines two of the above routes – the “Taste of Embrosia” and “Reverend’s Ramble” and explores the diverse landscapes north and south of Ingersoll, with wide open countryside in the north and the rolling hills and small farm lanes south of town. With the ride passing through Ingersoll at the mid-way point, stock up on food and water before tackling the southern portion of the route.

Stops Enroute (Seasonal hours, check website before visiting):

These gravel grinding routes are sure to fill a few days of riding in beautiful Oxford County, where it feels like there are more unpaved roads than paved. On these new gravel routes, you’ll never be too far from an excellent local cheese maker, farm market, local pub, interesting cultural or historic site, and delicious bakery or cafe. The rolling hills, forested lanes, and bucolic scenery are sure to have you coming back for more.

More information on planning your Oxford Gravel Adventure, visit:


Sponsored Content Partner: Tourism Oxford
Photo Credits:
Oxford Tourism – photos 1 & 5, Dudek Photography – photos 2, 3, 4, 6, 7

Published On: March 9, 2023Categories: News

About the Author: Ontario By Bike