10 of Britain's most picturesque bike rides

Discovering Britain on two wheels

Ruth Sneddon

Forestipedia writer | Helping you to discover the best places on your travels

If you feel the appeal of two wheels and want some inspiration for where to go, here are 10 of the most picturesque cycle routes in the UK. Taking in forests, mountains and moorland. Passing lochs, waterfalls and rivers. Revealing landscapes, seascapes and man-made landmarks, these cycle rides are as varied as they are rewarding and offer a glimpse into the culture, history and beauty of the UK.

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1. Duke’s Pass, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

One of the most scenic cycle rides in the UK is the section of the National Cycle Network Route 7 from Strathyre to Aberfoyle, which takes in the Dukes Pass. The Caledonian vista of lochs, forests, mountains and glens the makes this 13km ride a pleasure from start to finish. There are plenty of pubs, restaurants and cafes at Aberfoyle to refresh yourselves before the return journey and a well-earned dip in the hot tub awaits you back at your cabin at Strathyre.

Dukes Pass road in the Trossachs National Park

Scenic view of Dukes Pass

2. Loch Eck Loop, Argyll Forest Park, Scotland

Glenbranter, part of the Argyll Forest Park, has everything you would wish for on a cycle ride. Take the Loch Eck Loop, which, along with some challenging terrain, brings you to lochs, waterfalls, ancient oaks and Scots pine forest. The views stretch to west coast of Scotland and the islands of Jura and Islay meaning this circular 35km route has some amazing picnic stops. A gentler taste of wild Scotland can be found on the 11km Glenshellish Loop. Stay at nearby Ardgartan Argyll.

Loch Eck Loop at Argyll Forest Park

Follow Loch Eck Loop for picturesque views of Argyll Forest Park

3. Lon Gwyrfai Path, Snowdonia National Park

Our cabins at Beddgelert in Snowdonia are situated right on the Lon Gwyrfai Path between Beddgelert and Rhyd Ddu. To Rydd Dhu and back from our cabins is 10.4km. The path is well looked after and the Welsh scenery is stunning. We recommend cycling both ways, but you could always hop on a Welsh Highland Railway steam train to come back. 

Lon Gwyrfai path in Snowdonia

Cycle along Lon Gwyrfai path to see stunning Welsh scenery

4. The Cinder Track, North Yorkshire coast

The Cinder Track, a 35km off-road track that follows the North Yorkshire Coast from Scarborough to Whitby, is a gift from Dr. Beeching. After his cuts in 1965, it was one of the first disused railway lines to be converted into an off-road trail. Now it forms part of the National Cycle Network Route 1 and what a route it is! Superb clifftop views vie for attention with historical landmarks, secluded coves and atmospheric seaside towns and villages. Stay at Cropton or Keldy. 

Cinder Track on North Yorkshire coast

For coastal views head to the Cinder Track

5. The Bransdale Loop, North Yorkshire

Close to our cabins at Cropton and Keldy is the 42km Bransdale Loop, where you can discover the ‘lost dale’ of Bransdale, accessible only via this single road. After a rewarding cycle through this hidden valley, with only the wildlife for company, your reward is the choice of cafes and country pubs on the homeward section. 

 

6. Ancient Sherwood Route, Nottinghamshire

The vast green swathes of Sherwood Forest offer countless opportunities for a family cycle. The Ancient Sherwood route, which also takes in Clumber Park, is ideal for a family day out with a picnic. It’s 32km and the start, at the Sherwood Forest Arts and Craft Centre, is a short hop through the woodland from our cabins at Sherwood Forest.

Clumber park at Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire

Scenic view of Clumber park at Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire

7. Peddars Way, Norfolk

Peddars Way is one of 15 National Trails, which are long distance walking, riding and cycling routes in the UK. It follows a Roman road from Knettishall Heath, near to our cabins at Thorpe Forest, to Holme-next-the-Sea on the north Norfolk coast. It’s a 74km cycle through the Brecklands, a unique landscape of heaths and wetlands which is fantastically rich in wildlife.

Peddars Way trail in Norfolk

Walk, ride or cycle your way through Peddars way, Norfolk

8. The Peregrine Path, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

Take a trip along the border between England and Wales on The Peregrine Path, which takes in the River Wye, Goodrich Castle and the nesting Peregrine Falcons at Symonds Yat. This 13km route meanders through some of Britain’s most spectacular scenery in the Wye Valley, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A great day out from our cabins at Forest of Dean.

Wye Valley sunset

Sunset views over Wye Valley

9. The Watership Down Trail, Hampshire

The Watership Down trail in the North Wessex Downs offers a glorious and invigorating 27km cycle ride through Hampshire’s prettiest countryside, made famous by Richard Adams’ book. Start your journey at Kingsclere village and persevere for the initial uphill section, because the stunning views are worth all the effort. Kingsclere is half an hour’s drive from Blackwood Forest, or you could cycle across the downs if you are a more experienced cyclist.

 

10. The Bodmin Clay Trails

The Clay Trails near St. Austell is a network of trails through the old china clay sites of mid-Cornwall. Nature has been invited back, to colonise this former industrial area. The result is a landscape of turquoise dams - coloured by fine particles of mica suspended in the water, towering clay ‘mountains’ and historical mining buildings, all softened by wild flowers, nascent woodlands and the presence of bird and butterflies. The Clay Trails are close to the Eden Project, just over half an hour’s drive, or 1.5 hours’ cycle from Deerpark.

The Clay trails near Bodmin, Cornwall

The blissful clay trails in St Austell, Cornwall

Get cycling this June

Enjoy a cycling holiday this summer and enjoy seeing the Great British countryside from a new perspective. When you book your cabin, make sure you hire bikes too if you don’t have your own, and check out our walking and cycling pages for each location where you will find many more routes and trails. Find out more about Bike Month 2021 and join in the fun.

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