• Distance 46 km
  • Elevation gain 580m Max 14%
  • Difficulty
  • Epic rating

If you’re looking for bang for your buck, look no further. This is a stunning, relatively short, loop that takes in some of the island’s most impressive sights:

  • Animal Flower Cave and Farley Hill National Park in the north;
  • Cherry Tree Hill, Morgan Lewis windmill; and
  • the wild east coast beaches at Cattlewash, near Bathsheba.

If you want to see St Nicholas Abbey you can easily incorporate it, with a 1.5km out and back extension.

For more information on the sights, read our article on the best things to do in Barbados.

 

All metrics in this article are approximate.

Highlights

It’s difficult to choose the best bit, given this ride incorporates some of Barbados’s most beautiful spots.

We love the east coast road but were also surprised by how beautiful Animal Flower Cave in the north is. The photos we’d seen didn’t really do it justice. It was particularly magical because we arrived just after opening so had the place pretty much to ourselves.

St Andrew Parish Church
View from Farley Hill
Farley Hill National Park

Route notes

1. Cattlewash to St Andrew Parish Church: 0-6.5 km

A wonderful, easy start to the ride, alongside the crashing surf of the east coast. This is the Ermy Bourne Highway and though the surface is a bit bumpy, it’s pretty quiet and the views are fabulous.

 

2. St Andrew Parish Church to Animal Flower Cave:6.5-23 km

It’s a short (2km) sharp (average 10%) climb from the coast to the top of Farley Hill. There are views to the west coast from the top, and, if you fancy a breather, call in at the beautiful, shady Farley Hill National Park. From there it’s an enjoyable downhill all the way to Animal Flower Cave, though watch out for a few stretches of poor tarmac.

 

3. Animal Flower Cave to St Andrew’s Parish Church: 23-39.5 km

From Animal Flower Cave, it’s an undulating ride back to the east coast with some tough uphill sections where gradients hit 8-10% for periods. The scenery is rural and it’s a pleasure to ride through quiet villages and verdant countryside.

Optional extension: if you’re keen to visit St Nicholas Abbey, you’re only 1.5km away at the point the route hits Cherry Tree Hill, about two-thirds of the way up the climb, just before the 36km mark. There’s about 60m of climbing between where you are and St Nicholas Abbey.

If you glance to your right, as you make the final descent down Cherry Tree Hill to the coast, you’ll spot Morgan Lewis windmill, the only intact sugar mill in Barbados.

 

4. St Andrew Parish Church to Cattlewash: 39.5-46 km

The final stretch is back along the east coast road (see section 1) – bumpy but with unforgettable views.

 

Wild north coast of Barbados
Cycling near the top of Cherry Tree Hill
What a contrast between the west and east coasts of Barbados!

Café stops

There are several beachfront bars in Bathsheba itself, but not in Cattlewash where this ride starts and ends. However there is a toilet block at Barclays Park on the Ermy Bourne Highway on the east coast road. There are also facilities at Animal Flower Cave.

If you’re happy to break up your ride, Farley Hill National Park, Animal Flower Cave, Morgan Lewis windmill and St Nicholas Abbey are all wonderful places to explore. You can read more about them in our guide to the best things to do in Barbados.

 

Accommodation

We stayed at the lovely Sapphire Beach Condos in St Lawrence Gap in the southwest of Barbados. You’ll need to have a hire car (or arrange a transfer) in order to get up to the start of this ride.

Alternatively, spend a few nights on the east coast of Barbados – we have some great accommodation suggestions in our ultimate guide to cycling Barbados.

 

Tips

Read our tips for Barbados cycling before you set out.

The east coast road (i.e. the Ermy Bourne Highway) is bumpy and the road surface down Cherry Tree Hill is poor in places too.

  • The road to Animal Flower Cave turns into a track for the last couple of hundred metres. It was just about rideable when we were there, but you may prefer to get off.
  • If you decide to start the ride in Bathsheba, rather than Cattlewash, note you’ll add a couple of steep hills to each leg of your journey.​
  • Consider 25mm tires (or even 28mm) to reduce the amount you are shaken about, particularly in the sections where the tarmac was not in good shape.

Found this guide useful?

We’d love to hear from you – comment below or drop us a line.

Check out our ultimate guide to Barbados and other articles on Barbados, below.

Don’t miss our other ride guides for Barbados (see the related rides section above) including Southern Barbados and Barbados coast to coast

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Clare Dewey

Clare Dewey is a road cyclist with a passion for travel. She set up epicroadrides.com to help make it easy for road cyclists to explore new places by bike.

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