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Discover the Forest of Dean by bike

Posted on 31st October 2013

A luscious green sanctuary covering over 110 square kilometres, the Forest of Dean is the perfect destination for those who want to enjoy a holiday full of peace and relaxation. The land is carpeted in trees as far as the eye can see, and this ancient woodland is a popular haunt amongst those keen to discover the great outdoors. With this in mind, what better way to do so than on a bike ride?

Cycling is a great activity to be enjoyed on all Forest of Dean cottage breaks, with countless trails and routes carving through many of its spectacular beauty spots. Also a great way of getting some exercise, cycling in the Forest of Dean means that you will be able to return home feeling healthy and refreshed.

A leisurely ride

The best thing about the Forest of Dean cycling scene is that it caters for all abilities; whether you’re a beginner in the saddle or a pedalling pro, there is sure to be the perfect route to match your skill set.

If a leisurely meander through the countryside sounds like your ideal way of exploring the area, the Family Cycle Trail is among the best of the Forest of Dean cycling routes and is mainly a collection of former railway lines. Beginning at Cannop Valley and continuing along the old Severn and Rye railway path for 11 miles, this route offers cyclists the chance to learn more about the history of the forest through the remnants of former coal mines, the remains of which can be found at Foxe’s Bridge, Lightmoor and New Fancy. 

Head downhill

If you want to truly head off the beaten track, the Forest of Dean has more than enough muddy trails to push your riding up a gear. Among the most popular is the Verderer’s Trail – a moderate graded course which was designed by mountain bike rider Rowan Sorrell. Seven miles in length, it’s a cocktail of narrow sections, moderate climbs and plenty of humps which will provide great entertainment and excitement for both intermediate and experienced riders.

There is also the Freeminer Trail, a three-mile route complete with tricky drops, testing climbs and hairpin bends. Maintained by the Dean Trail Volunteers in conjunction with the Forestry Commission, it is designed as a challenge for experienced riders only, with quality off-road bikes an essential. As of 2013 undergoing a much anticipated development, mountain bikers can expect to find a host of exciting changes here in the near future.

Hop on a hire bike

With such great riding opportunities to be found in the forest, it would be a shame if you couldn’t experience them just because you didn’t bring your own bike from home. Luckily, there are countless cycle hire companies dotted around the Forest of Dean, with Pedal a Bike Away being one of the best.

Offering a great range of leisure cycles as well as mountain and downhill bikes – all of which are competitively priced – these are the best people to talk to, whichever type of cycling trip you are hoping enjoy.

If this guide has got you in the mood to experience cycling while staying in one of the cosy holiday properties in the Forest of Dean, be sure to take a look at the area’s official Tourist Information Centre website and get planning!

Image Credit: 38 Degrees (Flickr.com)