The New Forest National Park, located in the South of England, is a haven for cyclists with its varied terrain and stunning scenery. Whether you're an experienced cyclist or just starting out, there's something for everyone in the New Forest. In this blog, we'll be sharing five of the best cycle routes in the New Forest that are perfect for you and your family to enjoy together.
The Benefits of Cycling Together as a Family
Cycling with your family offers a range of benefits. It's a great way to get the whole family active together and get some exercise. It also has the advantage of getting you and your children away from screens for a while.
Another benefit is that it gets you and your family more familiar with the local area which is always useful. If you are environmentally conscious, cycling to a destination instead of driving also reduces your carbon footprint.
Finally, cycling has been shown to reduce stress which is always a good thing, especially for growing children. At Bike Club we offer a range of lightweight kids bikes that are great for family rides, including first pedal bikes for young ones.
New Forest Cycle Routes
Ringwood to Fordingbridge Loop
This 14-mile loop takes you through some picturesque villages and countryside in the New Forest. Starting from Ringwood, a historic market town on the edge of the national park, you'll cycle along tranquil lanes and scenic woodlands. The route takes you past the stunning Rockford and Ibsley water meadows, which are home to a wide variety of wildlife. You'll also pass through the charming villages of Ellingham and Ibsley, before arriving in Fordingbridge, a quaint town with a beautiful medieval bridge and plenty of places to eat and drink.
Brockenhurst to Burley
This 10-mile route takes you through the heart of the New Forest, offering beautiful views of heathland, woodlands, and open fields. Starting from Brockenhurst, the route takes you along quiet lanes and quaint villages, with great views of the stunning New Forest. Close to the end, you will pass the impressive Burbush and Shappen hills. You'll end up in the picturesque village of Burley, with its thatched cottages, tea rooms, and traditional pubs.
Beaulieu to Bucklers Hard
This 2.5-mile route takes you through some of the most beautiful and historic areas of the New Forest. Starting from the quaint village of Beaulieu, you can cycle to nearby Beaulieu Abbey and Palace House, before heading south toward Bucklers Hard.
You'll cycle along country roads and pass through forests. The route then takes you along the scenic Beaulieu River, where you'll see stunning views of the surrounding countryside and wildlife. The cycle ride ends in Bucklers Hard, a historic village located on the banks of the Beaulieu River, which is famous for its shipbuilding heritage. You can visit the Maritime Museum and enjoy a drink at the historic pub, The Master Builder's House, which was naturally once the home of the shipyard's master shipbuilder.
Ashurst to Lyndhurst Loop
A predominantly on-road route, it will take you through some stunning open views of the New Forest. That route will take you first through Ashurst Campsite, then through a section of dense woodland, before opening up onto farms and fields. You will then cover heathland and cross a bridge over the Beaulieu River. Next, you will come across the Beaulieu pony sale yard, Matley Passage, and a series of hills which will lead you into Lyndhurst. Lyndhurst is regarded as the capital of the New Forest and is a pretty village with many independent shops, art galleries, cafés, museums, and pubs. After a pit stop, you can then take Southampton Road back to Ashurst.
Burley Hill Fort Loop
Starting at Woods Corner, you will cycle right onto Mill Lane with exceptional views of the Forest. You will eventually come to a T-Junction and pass onto Bennetts Lane, and cycle past The White Buck pub. Cycle onto Holmsley Passage, a great road that offers spectacular views and takes you to the old railway. You will then take a right and cycle through some beautiful open heathland before looping around to Burley, passing Burbush hill, Castle Hill, and Black Hill. Burley is a picturesque village with ancient origins. Today it offers antique shops, art galleries and gift shops, pubs, and more.
Questions We Often Get Asked About Where to Ride as a Family
What is the best age to start kids on a bike?
There is no best age to start kids on a bike as it is possible to teach them however old they are. The average age when children are taught is generally between 3 and 7. However, it is possible to start your little one off on a balance bike when they are as young as 18 months if they can stand. It is also never too late to teach older children to ride.
We offer great bikes for getting children cycling, including balance bikes for young ones and pedal bikes for 3 year olds and older. For information on which size to get your child, refer to our size guide.
What is the most bike friendly place in the UK?
There is no definitive answer as to the most bike friendly place in the UK. All over the country, there are national parks that offer the most stunning and open places to ride. Some of the best with great routes and facilities include:
- The Peak District - Has over 65 miles of off-road trails with a great variation in scenery and terrain.
- The Lake District - Features bike-friendly buses, and a range of country lanes, cycleways and bridleways to suit all experience levels.
- Brecon Beacons - A cycling hub, with a variety of routes, from steep climbs to scenic family trails.
For more bike friendly routes, you can take a look at the National Cycle Network website.
Where is the best place for kids to ride a bike?
When a child is learning to ride a bike, the best place is a tarmacked area or a quiet road. For going on family cycle rides with your kids, we recommend searching for local routes in forests and national parks if possible. There are also cycle routes in cities that take advantage of quiet roads and cycle lanes.
Which city in the UK is the most cycling friendly?
It is hard to define which city in the UK is the most cycling friendly, though some are generally regarded as better than others. Some of the safest cities for cyclists include Bristol, Newcastle, and Cardiff.
Oxford and Cambridge are also renowned for being bike friendly cities and lead the way for the number of residents that regularly cycle. Bikes get priority in many areas of these cities which has led to a reduction in car traffic.
Other cities investing significantly in cycling infrastructure are Leeds, Liverpool, and Leicester, which all have an increasing number of people taking to two wheels.
Subscription Kids Bikes with Bike Club
The New Forest offers a great variety of cycle routes for all abilities, ranging from peaceful woodland rides to scenic coastal trails. If you want to go on a family bike ride but your kids have outgrown their bikes, then Bike Club has the perfect solution. With our kids bikes subscriptions, you can exchange your current bike whenever you like so that your child always has a proper fitting bike! We have a wide variety of bikes available, such as the popular Frog 55 and the Woom 3.
For more bike routes, you can have a look at our blog on our top 10 family cycle routes.