Wattle Flat Loop

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Wattle Flat Loop

Limekilns, Wattle Flat and Peel Village

distance

Distance

85.7km

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Sealed

85.7km

road-surface

Unsealed

0 km

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Difficulty

Punishing

terrain

Terrain

Hills

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Time

5 hours

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Average Speed

20

climb-mkm

Climb (m/km)

13.7

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Climb

1,175

descend

Descend

1,175

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Min Elevation

645

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Max Elevation

980

At a Glance

A really challenging ride out to Wattle Flat and back via Limekilns, or do the lollipop loop via Peel.

Why I choose this course and the bike(s) I prefer to ride

I love this ride but gosh I find the climbing tough.  It takes me a good 4 hours of riding time these days.  Add food and photo stops and soon I’m at 5 hours for the lap.

Up until this year when the bitumen sealing program was completed, I’ve tended to ride my gravel bike.  It has easier gearing and so I’d suggest I’m still going to choose that bike as I get older.  If I was younger (like, 20 or 30 years younger), I’d enjoy this route on a road bike and dial back the tyres to 25mm or 28mm clinchers with around 80psi.

As well as one-off training rides, I like to ride this route when I am preparing for multi-day tours and even carry small bikepacking load.  It builds both strength and endurance.  There are some awesome views on the way out and on the way back.  With climbs comes descents, and you get both on the way out and on the way back.

Check opening times of the venues at Wattle Flat (good opportunity to refuel / hydrate) and watch out for animals.  There are plenty of kangaroos, wallabies and wombats, as well as foxes and the occasional farm stock escapee of all types out here on these roads.

Route Difficulty

I rate this ride as 6 on a scale out of 10 because of the distance and the climbs.  I find it hard, with some big climbs for me and climbing 13.7m in every kilometre.  There’s also a section of road without a great shoulder for cyclists.

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Highlights

- Enjoyable ride through mixed farming county

- Coasting or fast open descents

- Fabulous views everywhere on this ride

- The old Limekilns Hotel

Traps For Young Players

- Wildlife – kangaroos and wombats

Camping & Accommodation

- Bathurst and surrounds have so many options.

Food & Water

- General Store at Wattle Flat

Useful Links

Course notes

The Limekilns Road has gradually been sealed over the past 30 years all the way to Wattle Flat.  The last few kilometres were only completed in Autumn 2021.

I head north from the Bathurst CBD, cross the Great Western Highway and then the Macquarie River on Hereford Street.  I ride past the rugby league and union fields on the river flats before reaching the roundabout at Trinity Heights shops and then ride up Marsden Lane.  It’s a double-kicker rise on Marsden Lane, before a slight downhill into the left turn at Limekilns Road about 5.5km from the CBD.

Limekilns Road goes all the way to Wattle Flat.  It’s about 42km from the start which for many riders isn’t that far, … but there are 3 really good climbs before I get there.  The first climb is about 2km long and starts just after Yarras Lane.  Near the crest, it has a short lung burner of about 200m.  Then it’s a nice open 4km downhill spin to recover.

Clear Creek is the bottom of the next climb, about 17km after leaving Bathurst.  The is the start of the next climb which is a solid 8km to the top.  I pass Pymont’s Lane (to Peel) on my left and then the remote control model club soon after before the climb proper.  For me, I dig into a tempo.  There’s a great view to the south about the 24km mark and a great set of gates around 25 km.

I then descend to the old Limekilns Hotel before riding on past Mt Horrible Road (a great gravel route), Dulcis Vale (a property with a lovely cottage) and Red Hill Road (another good gravel route), which is when the last major climb starts.  It’s 4km of up, and then a further 8km to Wattle Flat.

There is a refuelling option at the “General Store” at Wattle Flat (42km) but of course it is a good idea to check opening times before leaving Bathurst.  At this point I can either ride back the same way I rode out (quieter roads) or complete the lollipop and ride down towards Peel on a busier road (some parts without shoulders).

For this route, I chose to ride back towards Peel on the Sofala Road.  It’s a steady climb out of Wattle Flat and I don’t really notice it.  At about the 46km mark, the road stats to tip downwards and the “trucks and buses must use low gear” signage is an indication of how steep and windy this road is about to become.

This is a really fast 10km, where I drop 300m in elevation and dip into the lowest point in the ride (even below the starting elevation).  I’m really careful on the windy descent with speed, cornering, brake temperature and of course animals (goats and deer are also seen in this area).  The road is fairly open with a good shoulder all the way to Cheshire Creek (55km from start), before the road narrows a fraction.  I’m really cautious along this section of road back to Pymont’s Lane (63km), as there isn’t much of a shoulder on the road for cyclists.

Just before Peel, I turn left onto the quieter Pymont’s Lane (63km) where I turn to the east for some rolling hills, admire Clear Creek on my right and the mountains and forests on the horizon.  I’m riding upstream, so to speak.

There are always native animals on Sofala Road and Pymont’s Lane.  Kangaroos are regular sights, and they are often bouncing in front of me as I climb Pymont’s rollers.

I reach Limekilns Road (68km) and turn right towards Bathurst.  After a short descent to cross Clear Creek again, it’s then a gradual climb back through farm country to the highest point of the ride (73km) where I’m rewarded with a fantastic view to the south over Bathurst.

Anther descent as I watch the road and try to keep an eye on that view.  I cross WInburndale Rivulet again, and then the last climb of the ride starts around the turn to Yarras Lane.  I get into a good tempo here, and keep an eye on the views to the east (on my left) as I rise to the top, and then turn right onto Marsden Lane (80km).

I’m edging closer to town and ever-watching traffic coming out from my left as I pass several cross-streets rolling back into town.  Soon enough, I’m back onto Hereford Street and riding the river flats before finishing my ride with a coffee in town.

It’s been a big ride.

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