For families who want to cycle together there is lots on offer, right across Cumbria. The Lake District has some wonderful trails such as those at the renowned Grizedale Forest, but there is so much more on offer too. From railway paths to quiet backroads on the Solway Coast, along the Lune Valley or through the villages of Eden - families have plenty to choose from for some great days out. If you fancy a guided ride sign up for a free Sky Ride Local at www.goskyride.com/lakes
Families with younger children have some great choices for traffic free rides within Cumbria and can use the Bike Bus and Bike Boat service to help those little legs. Three favourites that local expert Chris Ford wrote about in a recent feature for Outdoor Enthusiast Magazine were:
Askham Fell, above Ullswater. Park at GR NY497214 and ride the track towards Pooley Bridge until you reach the large cairn at GR 482227, then head south to The Cockpit, a stone circle which is an ideal spot for lunch. Follow the track east from here then retrace your ride, remembering to stop and play in the "dippy downs" - a long natural bowl at the side of the trail that gives all the thrills of a BMX park.
Keswick Railway Path. Park at Threlkeld end (GR NY315249) and head west a short way on the roadside cycle lane before dropping onto the railway path. Ideal for youngsters, this 4-mile route brings you into Keswick and if you don't mind a short road section at that end you can treat yourselves to a great lunch at the Lakeland Peddlar. Ride back the way you
Coniston. Park at the lakeshore (GR SD308971) and either explore the range of trails that follow the lakeshore or try the National Trust track that winds up the Yewdale Valley from the YHA at GR 302981. At GR 310991 you can cut south east on a track which offers a little more challenge, then complete the loop on a quiet road back to Coniston.
Windermere's Western Shore
Explore Windermere's secret shore. This 4km route is an ideal family challenge and takes in the National Trust's Wray castle - great for a cake stop! The route can be accesses by the Windermere Car Ferry or from the Windermere Bike Boat from Brockhole - The Lake District Visitor Centre to Wray.
Western Shore Cycle Trail Treasure Hunt
This summer as part of the Ntional Trust's 50 things to do before you are 11 ¾ we have a great Treasure Hunt along the Western Shore Cycle Trail. Pick up your free guide from Brockhole, Wray Castle, Low Wray Camp Site or Bowness Bay Information Centre. Complete the hunt and return to any of the above to pick up your free bike bell!
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Grizedale Forest Park
Grizedale Forest Park is perfect for a full day of family adventures. A welcoming visitors centre with a fantasic cafe and shop provide the essentials to refuel during a busy day and a regular bus service, bike hire facilities, car parking and toilets make it easy to enjoy a fun packed day!
Walkers and cyclists are well catered for with miles and miles of well maintained, way marked trails and a Go Ape course provides an added adrenaline rush for the more adventurous. Trails include....
Moor Top Trail
Take a journey through Grizedale Forest along the family graded trail. There are climbs however, but take a break and look at some of the sculptures and of course the fantastic views along the way. Cycle through ancient oak woodlands and majestic conifers, home to Cliff, Midnight Feast, Cloak of Seasons and Ting Ring, some of the sculptures to see while cycling through the forest. Look for a few colourful mushrooms near Moor Top, and maybe have a go at the Mushroom trail, ideal for youngsters. The Moor Top route is 7 miles long and there are some up and down hills to tackle, but this is the Lake District!
North Face Trail
Hard (Red grade)
The North Face Trail offers a rush of curves, berms and north shore, uphill and downhill which takes riders on an adventure trail through Grizedale Forest. The trail starts at the visitor centre and consists of a 16km loop which includes 9 sections of sinuous single-track trail on the west side of Grizedale Forest. The trail offers adrenalin pumping sections of single track descent along with leg burning ascents contouring through oak
woodlands and conifer forest. This challenging trail also gives the mountain biker tricky board walk sections through meadows, yet rewards success with outstanding views along the way.
Mountain Bike Orienteering
Fancy a challenge on your mountain bike while still taking in the beauty of Grizedale Forest. Choose one of 6 different graded Trailquest courses from easy forest roads, ideal for beginners (approx 8 miles) to hard forest road and singletrack with lots of climbing (approx 20 miles).
Signs of Adventure
Recently a series of unusual road signs were spotted in some of the Lake District and Cumbria's most iconic landscapes. After some investigation it was found that Cumbria Tourism and daredevil Lake District rock climber Leo Houlding had photographed the signs to remind people what they could do in the Adventure Capital UK, the Lake District and Cumbria. Leo said: "All of us obey road signs on a daily basis and these signs are about reminding people what they can do in Cumbria's higher, wilder places. We want to encourage people to come to the Adventure Capital of the UK and embrace our landscape because it's good for mind, body and spirit."
These signs are now hidden around Grizedale Forest, use the special guide to find all 13 signs and take in views of some of the most beautiful scenery in the Lake District. www.golakes.co.uk/signsofadventure
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Whinlatter Forest Park
Whinlatter is England's only true Mountain Forest, at 790 metres above sea level there are spectacular views of the Lake District and into Scotland and adventures for all the family! The purpose built visitors centre houses a shop, cafe, and an Osprey Viewing area, where the magical birds can be viewed up close on a big screen (seasonal). Lots of car parking, toilets, bike hire and an adventure playground to keep the little ones amused all add up to make a perfect location for a family adventure.
The miles and miles of forest roads and footpaths create an exciting adventure whether you are on foot or cycling and for the more adventurous there is a Go Ape course and two brilliant man made mountain bike tracks.
This blue graded trail in Whinlatter Forest is proving to be a classic in the making! At around 8km in length the entire trail meanders up, over and around the lower section of the forest and skips the big climbs of the Altura Trail. This blue loop rewards you with mellow berms, rollovers and boardwalks. All of this at a grade to suit everyone from the novice to the expert looking to hone their skills. If you're keen for more action after the Blue Loop, go and ride the bottom section of the South Loop as an ideal compliment!
Hard (Red grade)
This red graded trail is a trail of two halves...
The North Loop is 10km with some superb flowing sections of single-track, the climbs in the first half of the loop are well rewarded with some of the best downhill in the U.K. Huge sweeping berms, technical forest sections and optional black graded features can all be found. The South Loop is 9km and is slightly less technical than the North, a pleasant single-track climb to the midway point allows you to choose between a flowing downhill section littered with berms and rollovers or a continuation of the climb to the top of Hospital Ridge. This trail puts the mountain back in mountain biking!
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