Bike week is an annual celebration which aims to inspire people all over the UK to give cycling a try. With so many beautiful scenes throughout the New Forest to discover, here are some of our favourite routes that the whole family can enjoy.
1. The Solent Way to Lymington
Length: 6.2 miles
If you're torn between idyllic woodlands and scenic coastal views, the Solent Way to Lymington is for you. Combining grassland with the coast, this route is found in the southmost part of the New Forest and is just a short ride from Shorefield Country Park. It's a mostly flat route and therefore suitable for most cyclists. You'll start along Hurst Spit, from which you can see Hurst Castle, before continuing along winding footpaths through the grasslands of Keyhaven.
The route also passes though the Lymington-Keyhaven Nature Reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and most definitely an area of outstanding natural beauty. At the end of which you'll find yourself in Lymington, a quaint village which makes the ideal place for a brief stop.
From the start point near Hurst Spit to Lymington is 6.2 miles, making the total route 12.4 miles, however the route is easily adapted should you only want to complete it in part.
Route Length: 7.5 miles
Bolderwood is an ancient woodland located in the heart of the New Forest. On this route you'll find the most rural trails which lead you off road though unspoilt views.
Bolderwood also a fantastic place for wildlife, particularly deer, and cycling is the best way to get up close to these elusive animals. It's home to Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary and you can often spot deer throughout the area.
A great starting point is Bolderwood car park, where you can stop off at the deer viewing platform, where herds of fallow deer regularly gather. If you head to the bottom of the car park (the West end if you're carrying a handy compass) and turn left over the cattle grid you'll find a splendid route through the ancient woodlands. Continue down the hill and keep an eye out for the wooden way-markers which will lead you through the forest. The route is signposted throughout and is easy to navigate, bringing you back to your original start point at Bolderwood car park.
3. Beaulieu to Buckler's Hard
Difficulty: Very Easy
Route length: 3 miles
If you're looking to fill a full day out this route is great as you can visit two of the New Forest's popular attractions, Beaulieu National Motor Museum and Buckler's Hard whilst you're exploring. This route, along two miles of quiet footpath, often appeals to families and connects the quaint Beaulieu Village to the place where ships for Nelson's navy were built.
Route length: 6 miles
Burley Village is a quintessential New Forest Village which has an interesting history steeped in witchcraft. Located in the heart of the forest it can be reached on the New Forest Tour from Shorefield Country Park, a seasonal bus service which lets you take your bikes on board as an environmentally friendly mode of transport through the forest. Be sure to check their website for full details on dates.
If you'd rather hire bikes, you can do so from Forest Leisure Cycling in the centre of Burley village, which also makes a great starting point for this route.
Head away from the Queen's Head Pub towards the war memorial and take the turning into Pound Lane, signposted Bransgore. You'll need to fork left just before the old railway bridge and you'll find a cycle route waymarker. Follow this and it will lead you through boggy heathlands and under oak trees. The Old Station Tea Rooms make a fabulous place to stop off at the halfway mark. Retrace your route along the Holmsley Passage before turning right up the hill on the quiet lane to loop back round to Burley, where you began.
If you're planning on taking a bike ride through the New Forest, we're sure you won't be disappointed. There's a range of cycle hire facilities near our parks too, from CycleExperience in New Milton (where you get 20% off mid-week cycle hire when you stay at any of our parks!) to New Forest Activities in Beaulieu.