Bike rides for little legs
‘I like going on a really long bike ride because when you go along at high speed the wind goes through your hair you feel like you have accomplished something.’
- Harry Wilson, Kids’ Council, aged 11
‘Go on a really long bike ride’ was chosen by our Kids’ Council as one of the top three activities for this year’s 50 things campaign, so we’ve come up with the best places for little legs (and longer ones too) to pedal around in the great outdoors.
You can download route maps or collect a leaflet when you visit to start your free-wheeling adventure.
‘I like cycling in the woods because you can see lots of nature and you can hear woodpeckers. I think Wimpole is one of the best places in the country for a bike ride.’
- Harry Wilson, aged 11
1.5 miles to 4.3 miles. With fantastic views, organised and self-led activities and three routes to choose from, there is something for all ages at Wimpole.
On Arrington Drive, you will find a short 1.5 mile tarmac route perfect for youngsters just starting out . Or Mare Way challenge takes you up onto the ridgeway with great views over Cambridge and a fantastic descent to zoom down. You could even ride to Wimpole along the Wimpole Way. Read about the routes.
‘It’s fun cycling at Wray because I enjoy the terrain that’s around it and I also enjoy the great scenery of the castle and Lake Windermere. It is absolutely stunning and I know it’s good for me at the same time.’
- Toby Hodgson, aged 11
Wray Castle itself is also brilliant for families, with play space both indoors and out and lots of 50 things activities, including den building (number 4) and stone skimming (number 5) on the largest natural lake in England.
6.5 miles. Explore heath, expansive views, and Knoll beach on this gentle circular route. It’s a haven for native wildlife and features all six British reptiles, as well as deer, insects and bird life – great for tracking wild animals (number 34 on the 50 things challenge). Download the route.
Studland was also the inspiration for Toytown in Enid Blyton's Noddy and is a great place to try out new things too, with slacklining on the beach, watersports, horse riding (number 48 on the 50 things challenge) and camping out in the wild (number 3 on the list).
Make a day of it with the woodland play park and quiz trails.
3 miles. Explore the Devonshire countryside with two family cycle tracks to try out, along rural tracks and quiet roads. Download the Killerton park cycle trail and the Killerton to Broadclyst cycle trail.
More family bike rides in Devon:
Mortehoe - 2.75 miles. Cycle down to a rocky headland and lighthouse. Download the route.
Plymbridge Woods - 10 miles. For families with older children, follow the old railway track. Download the route.
‘I love going for really long bike rides and seeing how far I can go. The best place to go for a bike ride is around Mottisfont and its woods - you can cycle really far and explore lots.’
Rosie Everett, aged 7
Mottisfont is also one of our best places to play pooh sticks (number 19 on the 50 things challenge) and has seasonal trails and den building to keep everyone entertained.
‘Malham Tarn is one of our favourite places to go on a long bike ride. The route around the track is reasonably flat and easy to follow so the children can cycle ahead safely. The scenery is stunning there and it is a great place to take a picnic, with places to stop off and enjoy the wildlife.’
- Imogen Swales, mum of three
4.5 miles. Enjoy the country's finest limestone scenery at this Dales beauty spot and National Nature Reserve. Download the route. For young wildlife detectives, the tarn is also a great place to tick of number 8 on the 50 things challenge, catch a fish in a net, and number 44, with birdwatching from the bird hide.
3 miles. Enjoy a gentle cycle through the Stowe estate with over 40 temples and monuments and a backdrop of lakes and valleys, created by a family once so powerful they were richer than the king. Download the route.
You can also pick up an explorer’s map, discover what's on the naughty path, uncover Sleeping Beauty’s resting place or try your hand at orienteering (number 45 on the 50 things challenge).
‘I love to ride my bike for miles through amazing woodland, then cross the bridge, pass the shooting lodge and if you go far enough you reward yourself with some fantastic views.’
- Lawrence Trowbridge, lead ranger
5 miles to 17 miles. Choose from one of 5 fantastic routes on the vast Ashridge Estate. The Duncombe Terrace route is best for families, with a 5 mile linier route on a surfaced track through the woodland with great views across the Aylesbury Vale.
The route starts and ends at the visitor centre, where there are toilets and refreshments available from the Brownlow café. Download the routes.
Around 4 miles. Pedalling around Erddig is fun for all the family, from flat riverside path, challenging climbs, rolling farmland and some lovely woodland tracks. Pick up a trail map at visitor reception when you visit.
Don’t miss the shire horses, Jerry and Claire, the wolf’s den play area and the chance to discover life ‘below stairs’ in the servants’ quarters of the house.