Cycling is an increasingly popular sport. It is also a great way of getting to know a country. Hidden tourist gems in the middle of a forest or up the hills become more easily accessible when getting on your bike. Here are the best 5 bike rides in Britain that will enable you to discover the country's natural beauty:
Camel Trail UK - Flickr/Maxpax
The Camel Trail, Cornwall
This is a seventeen mile stretch of multi-purpose trail through some of the most beautiful scenery in the South-West. Mostly level and almost all surfaced, this trail provides the perfect route for cyclists, walkers, horse-riders and more to explore the wonderful coastline and woodlands of Cornwall. Beginning in the picturesque fishing port of Padstow the trail winds along the banks of the Camel Estuary to Wadebridge, through scenic woodlands to Bodmin and then further inland to the quaint village of Blisland at the entrance to Bodmin Moor.
The Peak District - Flickr/woodytyke
The Peak District
There are so many trails and cycle paths in the Peak District, and the whole area is so beautiful that choosing just one seems wrong. Get on your bike and head out to one of the most beautiful areas of countryside Britain has to offer. This is possibly for the more serious cyclist or fitness fanatic as most of the trails are not even close to being level. Cycle hire is available in most of the larger local towns and villages, and there are plenty of off-road terrain opportunities for all you mountain bikers or fans of cyclo cross.
Glasgow to Greenock
The National Cycle Network is expanding through Scotland all the time. This route is one for the more serious cyclist, as not only is it 28 miles (45k) long but a large section of it is off-road. Beginning with a run along the River Clyde, this trail then takes you into Pollock Country Park, with landscaped gardens and an 18th-century National trust property. This is followed by some quiet back roads partially alongside White Cart Water before you hit the off-road section which takes you through to Greenock with amazing views of the Firth of Clyde.
Mawddach Trail - Flickr/pisces1946
The Mawddach Trail, Snowdonia
One of the best ways to explore the picturesque Snowdonia area of Wales, this track is around 9.5 miles long and follows a disused railway line along the edge of the Mawddach Estuary. The full trail stretches from Barmouth to Dolgellau but there are several points along the way to join if you don't fancy cycling quite so far. Popular with bird watchers as it crosses two RSPB reserves, pretty much the whole of the Estuary is listed as a site of special scientific interest.
Moor to Sea Cycle Route (Whitby to Scarborough)
This route links two of the North's most famous seaside towns through forest, moor-land and along the coast. Dalby Forest, Robin Hood's Bay and Whitby Abbey are just some of the attractions of this route. There are many subsidiary tracks to follow and the route itself can be joined at any point for those who want a shorter ride.