This weekend marks the start of the 100th Tour de France. While we may not all be able to keep up with Wiggo & co, cycling is a great way to explore the countryside this summer. Here’s our pick of some great cycling routes around the UK.
East Winchecter – Itchen Valley
The Itchen Valley is a cyclist’s dream, with numerous routes to peak your interest along the River Itchen from Winchester through the picturesque and historic settlements of Avington, Itchen Stoke, Itchen Abbas, Martyr Worthy, Easton, Abbots Worthy, Alresford and Cheriton to the springs at Hinton Ampner.
Forest of Dean
Listed as number one in a list of Britain’s 50 best cycle routes by the Telegraph, the Forest of Dean offers a clearly signposted route with purpose-built paths and railway lines, and lots of picnic sites to stop at along the way. The perfect trail for all the family!
The Water Rail Way, Lincolnshire
Opened in 2008, this path offers 20 miles of off-road cycling and 13 miles on quiet lanes, running alongside the River Witham from Lincoln to the sleepy village of Bardney. It’s been described as a comfortable, accessible and safe ride, so it’s perfect if you want to bring the kids along.
Hastings and Bexhill waterfront, West Sussex
This 3-mile ride from Carlisle Parade in Hastings to De La Warr Parade in Bexhill-on-Sea runs alongside a railway line by the seafront road, offering a perfect route for beginners, with some superb views. The terrain is quite flat and traffic-free, with a few nice stops on the way if you need a refreshment stop.
Tissington Trail and Parwich, Peak District
This 15-mile ride in the White Peak region (between Manchester and Sheffield) takes in the spectacular scenery of Britain’s first national park and offers something for everyone. The eastern terminus of the former Cromford & High Peak Railway offers an incline for those who want a challenge, but if you start further along the trail at Black Rocks or Middleton Top, there’s a mostly level, traffic-free route, with sweeping views in every direction.