Pedal power: 6 cycle routes near Coworth Park
A mix of pretty villages, scenic rivers and quiet country lanes, the home counties are the perfect destination for cyclists. From woodland trails to an Olympic road route, these are our favourite bike rides within reach of Coworth Park.
Distance: 12 miles/19.3km
This gentle cycle is flat and family-friendly and covers a pretty circle of riverside areas along the Berkshire and Buckinghamshire border. Starting in Taplow and heading south past Taplow Lake, this easy bike route leisurely winds its way between Maidenhead and Windsor. Taking you close to landmark sites like Eton College and Windsor Castle, you’ll cycle through the wonderful wetlands of Dorney, past the Olympic lake and down a section of the river-boat-lined towpaths by the River Thames. Follow the final stretch of this Jubilee riverscape with a jaunt into Windsor’s historic town centre.
Distance: 15 miles/24km of different cycle tracks
Winding its way between Bagshot and Bracknell is this huge Scots Pine woodland just south of Windsor Great Park. Thrill-seekers love it for its off-road playgrounds, but Swinley Forest has plenty of sedate woodland trails too if you’re more of a novice biker. The 1-mile/1.6km Green Trail is the perfect way to leisurely explore this incredible natural setting. As you gently ride along the relatively flat forest track, keep your eyes peeled for the rare nesting birds that live here – the Nightjar, Dartford Warbler and Woodlark can all be spotted if you have a keen eye.
Round Berkshire Cycle Route
Distance: 140 miles/225km, which can be split into smaller sections
This cross-Berkshire bike route showcases the very best of the Royal County’s classic character. Split the circuit into smaller parts for a laid-back cycle, or you can try and tackle the entire 140-mile/225km distance if you’re looking for a real challenge. Main road cycling is kept to a minimum on this route, with plenty of scenic forest paths, riverside rides and market towns to cycle through. Saddle up first in Windsor to explore the Great Park’s pretty paved cycle roads before peddling east towards Dorney, Cookham, Reading and the rolling hills of the Lambourn Downs.
Windsor Great Park
Distance: 17 miles/27km of cycle-ready paths
Windsor’s gorgeous Great Park is generally a cyclist’s traffic-free dream. Huge wide green expanses pair with very quiet tarmac roads, and with a limited number of cars allowed into the park it’s the perfect place for families and children safely learning how to ride. There are more than 17 miles/27km of smooth paths and roads to ride on – cycle past Virginia Water’s Roman ruins, drink in the Windsor Castle views at the famous copper horse and schedule in a stop at the Great Park’s Post Office for a sociable mid-cycle breather.
Box Hill Olympic Cycle Route
Distance: 8 miles/12.8km
This iconic road route in the charming Surrey Hills is the perfect pedal challenge if you’re feeling ambitious – and prepared for the leg burn. Famously the most testing section of the road race in London’s 2012 Olympics, it’s a great trial of strength and stamina when you tackle the legendary zig zag road to reach the picturesque summit. Sweat through the steady hairpin climb that’s likened to the Alpe d’Huez in the French Alps to reach the views at the top – these are definitely well worth the effort, with rolling chalk downs, gorgeous beechwoods and a sweet hilltop café for light lunches and refreshment. Cycle the route in reverse if you fancy trying out the famous zig zag road downhill instead.
Pyrford Lock to 45 Park Lane
Distance: 24 miles/38.6km
The River Wey Navigations have some of the prettiest walk-and-cycle towpaths and this whole-day ride from Woking to London certainly puts them to good use. Join this route at the picturesque Pyrford Lock and take in the famous sights as you ride towards London. Winding your way alongside the Navigations, the route continues onto the Thames towpath to take you past Richmond, Kew Gardens and Hampton Court. Follow the quiet backstreets in Putney and Chelsea to pedal through some of the capital’s iconic Royal Parks – leave Hyde Park through Wellington Arch and stop for photos at Buckingham Palace. Finish with a ride up Constitution Hill to enjoy a delicious post-cycle drink or dinner at 45 Park Lane.
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