This beautiful cycle path begins in the port village of Portreath, once a thriving hub of the local mining industry, now a sleepy Atlantic fishing town. Following the course of the old railways and quiet country lanes, this route meanders past Gwennap Pit and through the Bissoe Valley Nature Reserve. Many species of wildlife are visible from the path, some of which are only found in old mining country – keep an eye out for the distinctive green woodpecker, or the small copper butterfly.
Many good pubs are available en route, and the pretty village of Scorrier offers a mid-way refreshment point. As you approach the Jurassic Coast you’ll encounter majestic views of the channel, and if you time it right you can arrive in Devoran just as the sun is setting and retire to the pub for a well-earned drink.
Leaving the spires of Derby Cathedral behind, this trail takes you out through the heartland of England’s national heritage. The cycle path hugs the picturesque River Derwent before joining the famous Derby waterways, cutting out through the spring fields along the disused railways of the Cloud Trail.
After traversing Trent viaduct, the path twists to take you up to the lip of stunning Cloud Quarry, affording you and your partner gorgeous views of the surrounding countryside, before descending to continue towards Loughborough. Once in Loughborough, you’ll find excellent transport links to take you back to Derby, or a good-quality hotel in which to spend the night.
Heathfield’s 14th century Cuckoo Fair has lent its name to one of the UK’s most beloved cycle paths, but you’d have to be cuckoo not to ride this route! From Polegate you’ll emerge on to fresh, green swathes of fields and washes of early spring daffodils as you coast along this disused railway path towards the stately home of Hampden Park.
Along the way to Heathfield you’ll encounter beautiful works of art carved from felled oaks by acclaimed sculptor Steve Geliot, take in the breathtaking Pevensey Castle and pass through small country villages, each promising a warm lunch and a pint for the weary traveller. Special note should be taken of the 13th Century Michelham Priory, an Augustinian monastery set in 7 acres of grounds with a placid, evocative moat.
Upon leaving the ancient Saxon town of Okehampton you’ll find the picturesque ruins of Okehampton Castle dominating the landscape around you. As you continue through the beautiful Devon countryside keep your eyes peeled for wild deer roaming the woods, and for the rare and endangered avocet.
Before arriving at Lydford you’ll encounter the Meldon viaduct, a stunning piece of architecture that gives you a sense of scale as you coast alongside, and you’ll later traverse the Devon valleys on the Lake viaduct, which affords you truly spectacular and strikingly romantic views of the Dartmoor countryside.
[bctt tweet=”If I can bicycle, I bicycle. David Attenborough”]
Lincoln itself is a beautiful town in which to start a journey, and as you leave it behind the spires of Lincoln Cathedral will remain visible. As you progress alongside the Witham River, drifting past slowly-opening riverside blooms on the old Lincoln-Boston rail line, you’ll encounter numerous works of art by internationally-renowned sculptors, affording you breaks for moments of reflection and rejuvenation.
Amongst the Fens, the skies are huge and give you an enormous sense of scale as you pedal your way along the river, heading for historic Woodhill Spa. This longer route is ideal for couples who enjoy cycling together, but is easily split into smaller sections for those who enjoy lingering.