Top Forests for a Gentle Woodland Ride

Our favourite places for a gentle woodland ride

Updated 26th March 2024

Grab your helmet and head out to the woods with the family for a beautiful cycle ride. Here are our favourite places across the country for a gentle forest bike ride.

Kielder Forest (North East)

Kielder Water and Forest Park

Over 100 miles of cycle route radiate out from the trail hub at Kielder Castle. The Borderline cycle trail (7 miles) follows a former railway line, making it relatively flat and easy to ride. The Lakeside Way cycle trail (26 miles) will take you on a scenic journey of the lake shore.

Nearest town: Bellingham 
Sat nav: NE48 1ER


Dalby Forest (Yorkshire)

Path through the trees in a conifer woodland

The Green cycle route (8 miles) and the Ellerburn family cycle route (2.5 miles) offer an easy ride through mixed terrain, and are a great choice for parents with young children. The Blue cycling trail (8 miles) is a little more difficult, but offers great views along the way.

Nearest town: Pickering
Sat Nav: YO18 7LT


Hicks Lodge (East Midlands)

Family cycling away from the visitor centre

A great day out for any budding cyclist, from complete beginners to the more confident rider. Situated in young woodland, the site has been designed with the whole family in mind.

Nearest town: Ashby-de-la-Zouch
Sat Nav: LE65 2UP


Sherwood Pines (East Midlands)

A family of four cycling on forest trail

The regions premier venue for off-road cycling. The Family cycle route (3 miles) is ideal for those with small children, and the Adventure cycle trail (6 miles) is a great choice for those looking for a longer ride with picnic stops.

Nearest town: Mansfield
Sat Nav: NG21 9JH


Thetford Forest (East)

Forest Road winding through a Conifer Woodland

The Shepherd Trail (5 miles) is ideal for beginners offering wide forest roads suitable for bikes with tagalongs, trailers and child seats. The Poacher Trail (10 miles) is slightly harder on a more challenging surface.

Nearest town: Thetford
Sat Nav: IP27 0AF


Bedgebury Pinetum (South East)

Early morning mist rising up above the lake in autumn

The Family cycle trail (9km) is a great route that allows visitors to enjoy the impressive trees, flowers and wildlife that call Bedgebury Pinetum home. If you have little ones and would prefer a shorter ride with the same benefits, the Family short cycle loop (4km) is the one for you.

Nearest town: Goudhurst
Sat Nav: TN17 2SJ


Haldon Forest Park (South West)

Viewpoint over the forest

The Discovery Trail (1.5 miles) is an all-ability trail with fun features for children and regular resting points. The Challenge Trail (7 miles) is slightly harder and is a great confidence builder when moving on from the Discovery Trail.

Nearest town: Exeter
Sat Nav: EX6 7XR


Forest of Dean (South West)

Cannop Cycle Centre in the Forest of Dean

Start your cycling adventure at Cannop Cycle Centre, then proceed to enjoy a gentle ride through the forest on the Verderers’ Trail (7 miles) or the Family Cycle Trail (11 miles). With wonderful scenery and plenty of beautiful spots for the perfect family picnic.

Nearest town: Coleford
Sat Nav: GL15 4


Alice Holt

Child outside bike hire shop in the woods

The family cycle trail (5km, 3 Miles) is a fantastic way to explore the forest. With a robust surface suitable for all bikes including those with trailers, be prepared for the up and down hill sections. There is a fantastic picnic spot next to lodge pond about ¾ round the trail. For the more adventurous cyclists there is the shipwrights way which goes from Bentley train station, through the forest and down to Portsmouth, 50 miles in total.

Nearest town: Farnham
Sat Nav: GU10 4LS


New Forest (South)

The open forest landscape within the New Forest National Park

Exploring this ancient forest by bicycle is the ideal way to discover the beauty and fascinating wildlife that can easily be missed by car. The cycle trail that is particularly popular with families is the Bolderwood Green Trail (7 miles).

Nearest town: Lyndhurst
Sat Nav: SO43 7NY (This will take you to the New Forest Centre where you can plan your day).