England has some incredible cycling routes. In this article, we’re looking at the best the South Coast has to offer, choosing four routes that will thrill and amaze all those who like to experience natural beauty, history and freedom by bicycle.
Exploring England’s south coast by bike is undoubtedly one of the most exciting and enjoyable ways to discover the different regions along it. What’s more, many routes available are suitable for all ages and experiences, so families can have a UK staycation without the feeling of missing out on a holiday this year.
Here are just a few hand-picked cycling routes to explore on your next trip to the south coast.
Clifftop mines and coastal roads of Cornwall
Starting and ending in Penzance harbour, this cycle trail follows the Cornish coastline where the gorgeous landscapes, moorland and amazing sea views can be taken in at your leisure. The route travels west alongside the well-preserved Iron Age site of Carn Euny, where you can go through a 10-metre-long underground cave which is dimly lit by bio-luminescent moss.
This trail will give you an amazing workout, as it’s 34 kilometres long. A full day of peddling past amazing views and green landscapes will feel like a breeze. The route allows you to take in coastal ruins and countryside before travelling down to the Red River and circling back to Penzance for a well-deserved rest.
The Tarka Trail, Braunton to Meeth
The Tarka Trail between Braunton and Meeth is a section of flat, unused railway which provides 30 miles of traffic-free cycling, making this the longest stretch in the UK. There is a selection of routes throughout this stretch for a steadier bike ride. So, if 30 miles in one full sweep sounds daunting, there are smaller sections of routes you can tackle along the same stretch. These include Braunton to Barnstaple (six miles), Barnstaple to Bideford (nine miles), Bideford to Great Torrington (six miles), and Great Torrington to Meeth (11 miles).
Stay the night…
If you’re looking to make the most of your cycling trip over a couple of days or more, you may want to book yourself into local accommodation. Sweetcombe Cottage Holidays has a selection of sea-view lodges, townhouses and cosy cottages for every family and occasion, making it easy to relax after a fun weekend or a mid-week staycation.
Properties, such as The Moorings and Anchors Away located in East Devon, are positioned right on Exmouth Marina where you can watch the boats on the harbour water.
Staunton Country Park, Havant, Hampshire
There’s nothing like cycling around a new route where you can stop off, enjoy the surroundings, have a meander and grab a bite to eat. Staunton Country Park is an ideal family-friendly day out, with a café where you can refuel with a spot of lunch. It also has a fantastic gift shop on site and an easy 2.6-mile cycle trail through the woodland and open country.
The park also offers a maze and Victorian glasshouses that are home to exotic species to discover and explore after your cycle. Young ones will be kept entertained at the park’s farm, which is home to many different animals, including pigs, sheep, Shetland ponies, and even llamas and alpacas.
Corfe Castle cycle ride, Dorset
When the weather is as good as it has been throughout lockdown, a leisurely ride while exploring your surroundings gives you the feeling of being on holiday. This Corfe Castle cycle ride in Dorset is an 11-mile on-road circular route; perfect for a steady afternoon ride to burn off lunch. It provides a great excuse to enjoy the views of Corfe Castle and its 1,000-year history, which was once a royal palace and fortress.
You will also pass through the tranquil Blue Pool and Hartland Moor. The former is especially popular for its colour-changing waters that are surrounded by peaceful, sandy paths and 25 acres of heath and woodland for a pitstop. The adventurous may want to tackle two other routes which are available here for a longer adventure – the ‘difficult route’ and the ‘moderate route’ with the option for bike hire.
Read more cycling-related articles and guides in our dedicated section here.