With a plethora of cycle trails across the country, enthusiasts can spend weekends and school holidays for years taking their children away for short breaks, the fantastic memories of which they will live with for the rest of their lives. All that you really require is a car to get around and high quality towbar cycle carriers, or at very least a vehicle with a towbar so that you can transport the bikes on a trailer.
- The Ridgeway
Riding the ridgeway is a weekend cycling route that stretches over 87 miles. While it isn’t a beginner’s ride, many beginners have embarked on this route and enjoyed it thoroughly. It stretches from Avebury in Wiltshire to Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire. Beginners might want to opt for the 42 mile stretch which makes up the Ridgeway’s western half of the route on the Chalky downland ridge and it is open all year round.
The historic background to this route is hard to ignore with all sorts of eye candy for the history buff. Barbury Castle, Uffington Castle and Liddington Castle all offer great fun and exploration for the whole family, especially the children. As for the adults, well it’s never too late to have a happy childhood, is it?
Don’t forget to gaze upon the White Horse that has been carved out of the chalk at Uffington, which can be best viewed from the flat topped Dragon Hill- named after the legend of St. George which overshadows the historic route. National Trails have some fantastic information about this trail and it can obtained from their website page or alternatively by contacting them the old-fashioned way.
- Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire
This fabulous trail is eleven miles long and can be easily completed in a day. Children, depending on their age, should cope with it quite well and the whole family will enjoy the scenery. The trail surface is purpose built even thought the trail itself is exceptionally peaceful and tranquil, where trees and greenery abound. The Forest of Dean and Wye Valley tourist information and local authority will have lots of extra information should you feel that you need it. Despite not being that widely advertised, this is a cycle trail that is exceptionally popular for a day trip with young children and makes a great part of a weekend getaway.
- Caernarfon, North Wales
Between the town of Caernarfon and the village of Bryncir, this trail takes the cyclist through an adventure woodland that is unforgettable. The Lon Eifion trail has a surfaced cycle path all along its entire twelve and a half miles. The scenery from a path in North Wales couldn’t really get more spectacular with a glimpse of Snowdon in the distance and the path sweeping along the west of the Snowdonia mountains. There is plenty of accommodation on both ends of this trail and families are warmly welcomed.
- Ravenglass, Cumbria
The Eskdale cycle trail may require a little more effort than some of the other trails, even if it is shorter in length being a mere eight miles. An ideal trail for beginners it stretches from Dalegarth to Ravenglass – or the reverse route if you prefer and is a spectacular ride in the valleys. There is only one catch. There is a hill to overcome about halfway through, and while it’s not overly steep, some children may be inclined to complain. The steam train is very exciting because you can get on the train, take a ride to Ravenglass, and then cycle back. Bookings for bikes must be made at Ravenglass station, so don’t forget to call ahead. (01229 717171)
- Isle of Wight
The Troll Trail – yes you read it correctly – is an enchanting trail also known as the red squirrel trail, on the Isle of Wight and perfect for adults and children alike. It’s properly surfaced, free of traffic and the troll sculptures along the way are perfect for firing the imaginations of both the young in body and the young at heart. This makes for a wonderful cycling getaway as the Isle of Wight itself has plenty of accommodation geared for families. There is also a rather splendid selection of other artworks along the trail too, all worth taking snaps of during the adventure. This trail stretches between Merstone and Shide and offers more than just trolls. If you love butterflies there are some fabulous species to be spotted between March and October, and plenty of different birds and flowers too.