8 of the best picturesque UK family cycle routes

3 April 2023 - News

Whether you prefer lochside adventures in Scotland or woodland wildlife sanctuaries in Cornwall, you can test out these select forest cycle routes that are family-friendly. Gather up the kids, pack a few sandwiches, and head out for a memorable family day.


1. Argyll's Old Military Road


With its remote location, riders can discover unspoiled landscapes, abundant wildlife, and breathtaking views of the mountains.

If you want to cycle in Scotland but are worried about all those hills, try going for a lochside route. There are no fewer than three lochs along the Old Military Road, which offers views of Ben Lomond and numerous picturesque picnic spots. A ride across Loch Lomond by waterbus adds to the excitement. At Tarbet, you can start the 16km return trail.


Explore the route options and area >>






2. Strathyre's old railway line


An excellent cycle route that takes you away from roads and mostly follows well-surfaced tracks.

During the 10km stretch along the old railway line from Strathyre to Callander, a loch, a waterfall, an oak woodland, ruins of a Roman fort, and a river is part of the Sustrans National Cycling Route 7.


A backdrop of Ben Ledi frames a loch, waterfall, oak woodland, and river. Visit stunning picnic spots or stop for lunch at the famous Mhor Tearoom before your return trip.


Discover more about the area and the route >>


3. North Yorkshire sea views


The coastal route between Scarborough and Whitby offers everything you need for a wonderful day out.

It follows the 34km Cinder Track, which was a former railway line. The area offers stunning views, secluded coves, and opportunities to visit local attractions such as Scarborough Castle, Whitby Abbey, and Captain Cook Memorial Museum. There are also lots of great picnic spots with stunning sea views.


Discover the route on the National Cycle Network >>





4. The Ancient Sherwood route


The Ancient Sherwood route takes you through some of the oldest forests in the UK.

There are 32km of gentle cycling through a National Nature Reserve, protected Sites of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSIs), and ancient woodland that evokes the legend of Robin Hood. A woodland play park and space for a picnic and a family cricket or rounders matches await you in Clumber Park.


Explore the area and forest routes >>


5. The Forest of Dean's local history


Situated in the heart of the beautiful East Sussex countryside, where you might be lucky enough to spot foxes and deer.

Located in the Forest of Dean, the Family Trail is a 15km circular route mainly along old railway tracks. The trail has been designed with families in mind, with a good surface and no difficult sections, as well as villages, woodlands, and picnic spots.


Discover the Forest of Dean’s trail >>





6. Thetford Forest wildlife watching


There are 30 acres of wildlife-friendly land to explore in Brandon Country Park in Thetford Forest.

The Poacher Trail offers a thrilling combination of undulating bumps, narrow tracks, and open forest drives. It should take about two hours to complete the trail, leaving time for a picnic by the lake, watching dragonflies and damselflies, and exploring the walled garden and spooky mausoleum afterwards.


Discover the Forest of Dean’s trail >>





7. Discover the country of Watership Down


Located in some of Hampshire’s prettiest countryside offering the most beautiful, breathtaking views.

Located in the North Wessex Downs, near Blackwood Forest, the Watership Down trail is a 27km cycle ride through some of Hampshire's prettiest countryside. It was made famous by Richard Adams in his epic rabbit tale. The strenuous climb from Kinsgsclere village to Watership Down ridge is worth the effort for its rewarding views. Get away from everyday life by unpacking your lunch up here and enjoying a quiet family moment.


Learn more about Watership Down’s cycle routes >>


8. Cornwall Clay Trails


A spectacular rural setting with nine mostly off-road Clay Trails

It is estimated that the clay mines of Cornwall go back over 250 years, but at the Clay Trails, nature has flourished since the mining was abandoned. There are mostly off-road cycle trails in the network. Visit the Ruddle Pit viewpoint for a picnic overlooking the luminous turquoise dam, which gets its colour from mica particles used to clean the clay. And, keep a look out to see if you can spot any buzzards, sparrow hawks, or kestrels.


Find out more about Cornwall's Clay trails >>






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