1. Northumberland Coast: Almouth to Druridge Bay
This circular 9 mile route takes you on a coastal path to Druridge Bay – a stunning seven mile stretch of sand running from Amble to Cresswell which forms part of the Druridge Bay Country Park and Northumberland AONB. Here you’ll find a series of smaller nature reserves that are home to a variety of birds – from swans to the rare Golden Eye Snipe. The Country Park has all the amenities you need to enjoy a day at the coast with toilets, cafe and children’s play area. The park is centred on a lake with surrounding meadows and woods which has been restored from an old opencast coal mine – the perfect place for a picnic.
2. Cumbrian Coast, Solway Firth: Burgh-by-Sands to the Solway Coast
24 miles of beautiful saltmarsh and farmland that arrives at fantastic beaches which have been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The loop is 24 miles and you start out along the Hadrian’s Wall Path that takes you through Drumburgh, Glasson and Anthorn. Once on the Cardurnock peninsula, the route then takes you to Bowness-on-Solway where there is Campfield Marsh, an RSPB nature reserve – a wetland paradise with 360 degree views of the Solway Plain.
3. North Thanet Coast: Cycle the North Thanet Coast
This wonderful 8 mile coastal route begins on the sea wall opposite Margate station and winds westwards past spectacular chalk cliffs, sandy beaches, rock pooled bays on the way to Reculver. The whole route is passable on foot subject to tides, but cyclists have a short section on a clifftop road if they don’t want to carry their bikes or get their feet wet! Reculver Beach makes up part of the Reculver Country Park and has imposing 12th century towers and a Roman fort. This is great spot for a picnic with its secluded grassy area and stunning views out to sea.
4. Norfolk Coast: Wells and Holkham Circuit
This 10 mile circular ride near Kings Lynn takes you to Holkham National Nature Reserve and the fantastic Holkham Beach – one of the most unspoilt and beautiful stretches of sand in the country. Behind the shoreline lies a semi-circular basin, which, at very high tides, rapidly fills to form a spectacular shallow lagoon. You could also take a boat trip to nearby Blakeney Point, home to a colony common and grey seals.
5. Gower Peninsula: Millennium Coastal Path
This totally traffic free, 7 mile route in Carmarthenshire follows a stretch of coastline on the Burry Estuary. Previously an area of industrial wasteland, the area has been transformed into a tranquil green corridor offering superb views of the Gower Peninsula. The Millennium Coastal Park has several stretches of golden shoreline including the Llanelli Beach and Burry Port Beach which is popular with surfers and sea kayakers.
All images: Sustrans