Cycling is becoming an increasingly popular pastime with more and more people realising the rewards of discarding four wheels and using two.
The benefits are many – cycling is good for your health, an excellent form of exercise, environmentally friendly, easy on the pocket and fun – and cities all across the country are also seeing the advantages and adapting their road networks to accommodate cyclists.
But sometimes you don’t want to use a road or cycle lane – occasionally you want to go a bit further, be more adventurous and cycle in more beautiful, picturesque surroundings. Here are some of the best family cycle routes currently available for your two-wheeled treks in the UK.
Forest Of Dean
This was specially designed with the little ‘uns in mind so the journey should not only be picturesque but relatively peaceful. The route is signposted and follows a series of purpose-built paths and railway lines. And there are plenty of picnic stops so you can take a break and chomp down on a tuna sarnie.
Bath to Bradford-on-Avon
An eight mile stretch that’s just as prone to getting congested with swans as well as cyclists, the Kennet and Avon canal provides an enchanting landscape of rolling hills and greenery that’s peppered with plenty of those famous Georgian buildings.
This is a grand 25-mile route that even takes in the architectural splendour of Lacock Abbey, which was featured in two Harry Potter movies. All together, it links Melksham, Chippenham, passes Britain’s first millennium bridge, the Cherhill White Horse and the Avebury Stone Circle.
The Tarka Trail, Devon
Here you have two options – the Tarka the Otter countryside journey which explores 32 miles of traffic-free trails. The other is a seven mile route from Instow to Barnstaple which passes through the historic Fremington Quay.
Crab and Winkle Way, Kent
This seven mile stretch is mostly traffic free and passes through Blean Woods, which is one of the largest areas of ancient broadleaved woodland in southern Britain. There are also picnic facilities at Winding Pond.
Haldon Forest, Devon
Haldon forest is home to a network of flat trails for all the family as well as providing paths for extreme mountain bikes and offers magnificent views over Exeter.
The Solar System (York to Selby)
Go all cosmic and explore the galaxy by following this six-mile route that follows a model of the galaxy where the sun is eight feet in diameter and suspended above the track. A unique chance to cycle through the solar system at ten times the speed of light (well, kind of).
The Cuckoo Trail, Essex
Local Sussex folklore suggests that he first cuckoo of spring was heard at Heathfield Fair. This is part of the national cycle network and follows the disused railway lines through Halisham woodland and passes Michelham Priory which, as a point of historical interest, is home to England’s longest medieval moat.
So for those cycling fanatics who could buy bikes 247 there are plenty of great cycle routes to explore and make it a great day out with the family.
Are there any other routes you’ve been on that you could add to recommend to others?
Author bio: Gavin Harvey is a personal trainer who likes to combine leisure with sports. Here he writes for GB Cycles.
Image by Space & Light on Flickr