Our friends at Forest Holidays have pulled together their pick of the trails for a family cycle, complete with picture perfect picnic spots close to their locations.
If you want cycling that is a little family-friendly, try one of these selected cycle routes, from a lochside adventure in Scotland to a woodland wildlife haven in Cornwall. Pack a few sandwiches, round up the little ones and head off for a memorable family day out.
1. The Old Military Road, Argyll
If you fancy cycling in Scotland but are worried about all those hills, the trick is to go for a lochside route where the terrain is flat. The Old Military Road, with views of Ben Lomond, numerous picturesque picnic spots and no fewer than three lochs, will delight all the family. To add to the excitement, it starts and finishes with a ride on the waterbus across Loch Lomond. Pick up the 16km return trail at Tarbet, just 7 miles’ drive from our the Forest Holidays cabins at Ardgartan Argyll.
2. The old railway route at Strathyre
The sustrans National Cycling Route 7 goes past the Forest Holidays cabins at Strathyre and the 10km stretch along the old railway line from Strathyre to Callander takes in a loch, a waterfall, an oak woodland, the ruins of a Roman fort and a river, with the majestic Ben Ledi as the backdrop. Wow. Take your pick of stunning picnic spots or stop for lunch in the famous Mhor Tearoom at Callander before the return journey.
3. Sea views in North Yorkshire
Load up your cycles for the 20-mile drive to the coast from the two Forest Holidays locations in Yorkshire National Park; Cropton or Keldy, for this spectacular cycling route. The sustrans National Route 1 runs along the coast from Scarborough to Whitby on the 34km Cinder Track, which is a former railway line. There are lots of great picnic stops with stunning sea views.
4. The Ancient Sherwood route
The Ancient Sherwood route takes you through some of the oldest forest in the UK, starting pretty much at Forest Holidays cabins in Sherwood Forest. It’s 32km of gentle cycling that soaks up a National Nature Reserve and protected Sites of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSIs) as well as ancient woodland that speaks of the legend of Robin Hood. Lay out your picnic in Clumber Park, where there is a woodland play park and space for a family cricket or rounders match.
5. Local history in the Forest of Dean
The Family Trail through the beautiful Forest of Dean is a 15km circular route that runs mainly along old railway tracks. It has been created with families in mind, with a good surface and no difficult sections and there are villages, woodlands and picnic spots along the way.
6. Wildlife watching in Thetford Forest
Brandon Country Park is a 30-acre wildlife haven within Thetford Forest, near to the Forest Holidays cabins at Thorpe Forest. Take the 13km Poacher Trail for a thrilling combination of undulating bumps, narrow tracks and open forest drives. The trail should take about two hours, which leaves time for a picnic by the lake, watching the dragonflies and damselflies, before exploring the walled garden and spooky mausoleum.
7. Explore Watership Down country
The Watership Down trail in the North Wessex Downs, near to Blackwood Forest, is a glorious 27km cycle ride through some of Hampshire’s prettiest countryside, made famous by Richard Adams in his epic rabbit tale. Starting at Kinsgsclere village, the strenuous climb is worth it for the rewarding views from Watership Down ridge. Up here, unpack your lunch and savour a special family moment away from the hustle and bustle of real life.
8. Clay Trails in Cornwall
The clay mines of Cornwall go back 250 years but at the Clay Trails, the mining has long gone and nature has been encouraged to flourish. The network of cycle trails is mostly off-road. Stop at the Ruddle Pit viewpoint for a picnic overlooking the luminous turquoise dam, which gets it colour for the mica particles used to clean the clay. Forest Holidays cabins at Deerpark are just over half an hour’s drive away.
Whatever you do on your forest escape, your woodland surroundings will work their quiet magic on you, making this the most memorable of holidays.