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The New Forest is one of the most popular areas in the country whether you want to enjoy a family cycling day out, or hone your riding skills on the numerous mountain biking trails. The following is a list of some of the most popular tracks for family cycling days, and a for those who demand a little more from their two wheels.
Beaulieu to Buckler’s Hard
An easy cycle ride of just two miles each way stretching from the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, to the picturesque little settlement of Bucklers Hard. All on the Beaulieu Estate, it is a relaxing cycle ride running alongside the Beaulieu River and, for the most part, away from the traffic.
Ornamental Woods Routes
With a selection of well maintained, reasonably flat cycle-ways, and almost completely traffic free, the whole family can enjoy this cycling experience. You can enjoy a casual few hours looking for the deer, or turn it into a full day’s activity by swapping through the various cycle routes.
Woodland Figure-of-Eight Loop
Although just four miles in length, this route, popular with visitors staying at the Longbeach campsite, is a little more demanding than the four mile distance would suggest. Once off the short minor-road section, the route will take you through the Longbeach campsite and into the forest.
Isle of Wight Views Route
Just eight miles in length, this route will take you along the cliff tops at Milford on Sea, and provides stunning views of Christchurch Bay, Yarmouth and The Needles. Extra care needs to be taken at the Downton crossroads, where there is the risk of fast moving traffic.
Brockenhurst to Lyndhurst
On this 6.5 mile ride you can enjoy two of the most beautiful villages in The New Forest. The start is on the Hollands Wood Campsite, Brockenhurst. Cycle past the famous Balmer Lawn Hotel and you’re into Forestry Commission land where you can look out for deer, donkeys, ponies and cattle as you head towards the lovely village of Lyndhurst.
Brockenhurst to Burley – The South Food Trail
Another Brockenhurst start, this time heading to Burley, famous in folklore for its association with witches and witchcraft. The route is a mix of forest trails and the now defunct railway line which used to run past Burley. At seven miles a pleasant ride, with plenty of stopping places for refreshments, lunch or cream teas.
New Forest Circular
At over 45 miles, not a ride for younger family members. Nonetheless, leaving from, and returning to Brockenhurst, this ride will immerse you in the wonders of The New Forest. With its dazzling scenery, abundant wildlife, country pubs, and quaint cafes, the ride covers a large area of the National Park with plenty of places to stop off and recharge the batteries.
The Red Shoot Route
If you prefer up and down, rather than flat and level, then the Red Shoot Route is for you. Named after the Red Shoot Inn, where you can still enjoy a pint of real ale, the ride is 37 miles long. With some beautiful views to be had from the higher slopes, the trail starts and finishes at Brockenhurst.
New Forest Discovery Trail
Four miles in length, in and around Burley village, and with just two short climbs, this ride is ideal for even the youngest cyclist. Originally designed as a treasure hunt, the kids will have a great time exploring the area, especially if mum or dad go on ahead and plant a few ‘surprises,’ to be found by the little ones.
At a demanding 61 miles long, this ride is for the seriously serious cyclist. Taking in some of the most beautiful Hampshire countryside, and villages and hamlets such as Boldre, Baddesley, and Beaulieu, it is a hard, but completely satisfying ride, which you will be glad you undertook.
You don’t even have to own a bike to enjoy the pleasures of cycling in the New Forest. Businesses such as New Forest Mountain Biking can organise hire cycles for the whole family, can help with routes and organised guided cycle tours, as well as offering a comprehensive range of other adventure activities.