5 bike rides through national parks

In the first of our route series with Sustrans we explore the best bike rides for an adventure through Britain's incredible national parks. 

Published: July 24th, 2014 at 11:50 am

1. Lake District: Keswick to Threlkeld

Explore England's largest National Park using this easy three mile route. A perfect day trip from the bustling town of Keswick, the route showcases the beauty and tranquillity of the Lake District, taking you through woodlands and the beautiful tree-clad Greta Gorge. The lovely village of Threlkeld at the end of the route has the Blencathra mountains as a backdrop, as well as its own quarry and mining museum. More adventurous cyclists might like to head back to Keswick via Castlerigg Stone Circle, thought to be around 5000 years old. With panoramic views of Helvellyn and High Seat Mountains, it’s definitely worth a visit.


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2. New Forest: New Forest Ride

This traffic-free ride is six miles each way and takes you on a lovely tour of the in the New Forest travelling from the pretty village of Brockenhurst to Holmsley. The route takes you through a unique landscape where there could be a cluster of wild ponies around the next corner. The New Forest is a patchwork of different wildlife habitats, so keep an eye out for birds, butterflies and wild roe deer. Arriving in Holmsley, stop in at the converted train station, now a great café. A short distance on is the Forestry Commission campsite for those wanting to extend their stay.

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3. Loch Lomond and the Trossachs: Callander to Killin

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is absolutely stunning and this challenging 24 mile route shows it off to perfection. Starting in the pretty town of Callander, known as the ‘Gateway to the Highlands', the route takes you past glimmering lochs, rushing waterfalls and tranquil forests, with views of snow-capped peaks and heather-clad mountains in the background. Not for the faint-hearted, there are steep climbs before a final descent through Acharn Forest to Killin.

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4. Peak District: Tissington Trail

Following the route of the former Buxton to Ashbourne railway line, the 13 mile Tissington Trail runs from Ashbourne to Parsley Hay, passing through the picturesque village of Tissington and the beautiful countryside of the Derbyshire Dales. The trail also takes you close to Dovedale, a dramatic limestone ravine famous for its much-loved stepping stones which cross the River Dove.

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5. Snowdonia: Mawddach Trail

Forming part of Lôn Las Cymru route, which runs from Holyhead to Cardiff, the nine mile Mawddach Trail is one of the most scenic railway paths in the country, running along the spectacular and atmospheric Mawddach Estuary, below the foothills of Cadair Idris in the south of Snowdonia National Park. The trail follows the course of the old railway line from Barmouth to Ruabon which was open between 1869 and 1965 and popular with Victorian holidaymakers. The estuary is now rich in bird life and you'll pass an RSPB reserve, which uses the old signal box as an observation centre.


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Images: Sustrans/Getty



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