Our National Cycle Network takes you through some of the best parks in the UK. Enjoying these green spaces as the leaves are changing colour only adds to the experience, here's our top 1o favourites to make your life easier.
The Cardiff to Castell Coch route takes you through Bute Park, a fantastic greenspace originally created as the private garden to Cardiff Castle. Its Victorian layout still exists but it has been extensively planted with trees to form the Bute Park Arboretum. The wildlife and history make it great way to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
The North Down: Bangor to Newtownards cycle route begins on the traffic free North Down Coastal Path, which travels through Crawfordsburn Country Park. With two excellent beaches, wooded glens, a stunning waterfall and views across Belfast Lough, Crawfordsburn Country Park is the perfect place to relax and go wildlife spotting.
The long distance Trans Pennine Trail (Central) takes you through the fantastic Rother Valley Country Park. The lakes are home to hundreds of birds including moorhens, mallards, mute swans and Canada geese and there are plenty of watersports and other activities, such as archery and horse riding, to keep you amused.
The 10 mile Nutbrook Trail takes you through the beautiful 700 acre Shipley Country Park. The park has earned the Green Flag Award, the national standard for parks and green spaces in England and Wales, every year since 2008. The park is a popular geo-caching location and there are two play areas next to the visitor centre, a toddlers play area and an adventure playground for older children.
National Route 334 (known locally as Festival Way) takes you from Bristol city centre to this fantastic country park and mansion with 850 acres of woodland and grassland. Home to great mountain bike trails, a deer park, and golf course this park has something for everyone.
The Rea Valley Route links the city centre with Cannon Hill Park and Kings Norton Park. Cannon Hill is the larger of the two and is home to the Midlands Arts Centre so after your cycle ride why not pop in for a well deserved culture fix.
No list would be complete without a ride through a London park and the Hampton Court to Putney route takes you to the best. Richmond Park is a wonderful little bit of wilderness in London, with roaming deer, woodland and bracken covered hillsides. Towards the end of the ride you pass the London Wetland Centre at Barnes, a great place to view wildlife that also has play facilities for children.
The Forth and Clyde cycle route takes you through this park which is home to beautiful woodlands, a walled garden, play park, and mountain bike circuit. Pollok House contains an outstanding collection of Spanish art and The Burrell Collection, named after its donor, the shipping magnate Sir William Burrell, features artwork from all corners of the globe.
National Route 177 takes you through Mote Park, a 450 acre park with a wide variety of facilities and attractions including a BMX track, pitch and putt course, model railway and children’s play area. Angling, sailing and model boating clubs all use the main lake. In 2013 the park won a Green Flag Award recognising it as one of the nation’s favourite parks.
Nationl Route 6 travels out of Blackburn and on to Pleasington, travelling through the lovely 480 acre Witton Park. This is the perfect park for families as it has lots of sporting facilities, a great pavilion cafe and a fantastic children's playground. You can also download a scavenger hunt, orienteering map, park quiz, and history trail leaflets from Blackburn Council's website.