Will Ride for Cheese: A Scenic Ride through Canada’s Dairy Capital
Love to cycle AND eat? We hear ya! If you’re looking for a unique ride, then cycling along The Oxford County Cheese Trail is a super fun and delicious way to enjoy your next ride. With 92km of new stories, local flavours and oh-so-tasty cheese, there’s no ride quite like it.
The Oxford County Cheese Trail is a list of 24 curated stops throughout Oxford County that serve up a local cheese or dairy offer for visitors to enjoy. If you follow the Oxford County South Route, you’ll be able to experience many of these stops yourself right from your two wheels. Don’t forget to bring a cooler!
How to Do It
This loop can pretty well be started anywhere along the route, done as a daytrip or broken into two days to make it an overnight trip. Those wishing to start in the north in Woodstock will leave the city and travel south down to the Dutch-influenced towns of Norwich and Otterville. An overnight at the charming R Wee Inn will have you feeling Scandinavian in no time with its sleek interior and simple-chic lodging style.
If you wish to start in the south and work your way north, bike-friendly accommodations are available in both Ingersoll and Woodstock at The Elm Hurst Inn & Spa or Chateau la Motte. You’ll be pampered with a chance to cozy up at these spots; providing the perfect places to rest your weary muscles.
The Places You Will Go
Never have we met a cheese we didn’t like and the towns you’ll see along this route are serving up plenty of that!
In Woodstock, several restaurants have added local cheese to their menu and you can visit Canada’s largest bean to bar chocolatier who uses local milk in their chocolates. Also on the Cheese Trail, Upper Thames Brewing Company serves up tasty craft beer using several local ingredients that provide the flavor to each beer. Once out of Woodstock, don’t forget to detour onto Gunn’s Hill Road where you can visit an artisan soap maker and Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese. You’ll definitely want that cooler we mentioned, this award-winning cheese factory is known for recipes influenced by the Swiss Alps and their fresh curds which are released each Friday afternoon.
Otterville and Norwich are charming villages made up of Dutch culture, Quaker history and a rich dairy heritage. Pop into the Norwich Museum or stroll along the main drags to discover bakeries, charming shops and more.
Also in the south, Tillsonburg makes for a great midway point to stop and enjoy a charming downtown, explore an 1800’s museum inspired by Oscar Wilde or hit up country stores at Sundown Farms or Coyle’s to grab amazing local tastes of place.
Finally, Ingersoll is a small town packed with heart. With five Cheese Trail stops within walking distance of one another, plus several others on the periphery of town it’s a great place to really experience the heart of cheese country. Try bread pudding made using paneer, all kinds of other Ontario cheeses, great shopping where you’ll find unique dishes and other pieces to serve up all that local cheese back home and even a chocolatier using local milk and other fantastic local ingredients. Your stomach will thank you!
Of course, the best part of the whole experience are the views. This 92km ride takes you past lush crops, rolling farm-scapes and of course a cow or two out in the field.
Tourism Oxford has made it easy to plan a trip with their cycling map including 11 road routes with starting points, rest-stops and options to shorten or lengthen your ride. The map includes road descriptions, distance, route difficulty ratings and suggested stops to enjoy along the way. Routes vary from a 34km pedal between Woodstock and Ingersoll to the epic Oxford Century Ride (156km) covering most of the County.
For a full list of Oxford County Cheese Trail stops, visit OxfordCountyCheeseTrail.ca and access the route at RideOxford.ca. For visitor information on the greater southwest Ontario region visit OntariosSouthwest.ca.