Published: 26th JUNE 2019

10 great rides to national parks

We've picked our top rides on the National Cycle Network that take you to some of the UK's fantastic National Parks. These beautiful areas of countryside have something for everyone - from mountains to meadows, moorlands, and wetlands. Get on your bike and start exploring.

Flat-calm lake with boats on it in the distance, green ferns in foreground and grass and trees around the lake

Northumberland National Park

Northumberland National Park has the very enviable title of the least populated National Park in the UK. If you're looking to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life, the clear air and dark skies (perfect for stargazing) make this the perfect tranquil getaway.

The Pennine Cycleway (North Pennines) is a long-distance route that takes in some of the most spectacular landscapes and unspoilt countryside that England has to offer, including the Eden Valley, the North Pennines and the Northumberland National Park.  

Cyclist on gravel path  with heather either side, plus forest and mountains in the distance

Cairngorms National Park

Cairngorms National Park is home to some of Britain's most loved and unique wildlife including endangered species such as the Golden Eagle, Red Squirrel and Scottish Wildcat. Go visit and see how many you can spot.

The 6-mile route between Aviemore and Boat of Garten takes you through the heart of the Cairngorms with its stunning scenery and rich variety of wildlife. It crosses heather-covered moorland and dense forests before arriving at the village of Boat of Garten, known as the “Osprey Village”. 

View of Lake Windermere with hills and trees in background and interpretation board in the foreground

The Lake District

The Lake District is not only England's largest National Park, but it is also home to the highest mountain and deepest lake in England. Cumbria's valleys and fells are picturesque and a staple for any adventurer.

The Ride to Windermere route is a feast for the eyes, giving you a taste of the Lake District and some of England's most beautiful countryside. From Kendal the route takes you all the way to Lake Windermere, enjoying some of Britain's finest countryside views.

View of hills covered with pine trees and edges of loch visible, rainbow in the sky

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs

The route between Aberfoyle and Callander lets you explore Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, providing wonderful views of lochs and forests. It's a tough 13-mile route but the rewards are worth all the effort.

An idyllic and unspoiled landscape of sparkling lochs, green hills and dense forests awaits you.

Four cyclists on gravel track through forest

The New Forest

The New Forest Ride between Brockenhurst and Holmsley is short and largely traffic-free. The route takes you through a unique landscape where there could be a cluster of wild ponies around the next corner.

The New Forest is a delightful patchwork of different wildlife habitats, so keep an eye open for birds, butterflies and wild roe deer and stags beneath the canopies of mighty oak and beech trees.

Grey stone wall and gravel track through Welsh valley with mountains

Snowdonia

Thousands of people visit Snowdonia every year, drawn in by the lure of Snowdon, the highest mountain in England and Wales. Snowdonia is an area steeped in history and there are many historical sites to visit as well as a wealth of outdoor activities to enjoy. 

Lon Las Ogwen is a wonderful 11-mile route offering views of the Snowdonia mountains as it climbs south from the coast at Porth Penrhyn. Following the valley of Afon Cegin, the trail climbs on old railway cuttings through lovely broadleaf woodland to Tregarth.

View of reservoir in Wales surrounded by mountains and trees

Brecon Beacons

The Taff Trail is 55 miles long and starts in Wales's thriving capital with major attractions such as Cardiff Castle, The Millennium Stadium and Cardiff Bay to take in.

From here the route takes you to Brecon, through the Brecon Beacons' breathtaking mountain landscapes, past dramatic waterfalls and crystal clear reservoirs.

Two people on a tandem bicycle on cycle track past stone walls and fields with cows and trees

Peak District

The 16-mile High Peak Trail is traffic-free and goes straight through the Peak District. Following the line of the former Cromford and High Peak Railway, this route takes in the stunning Derbyshire Dales countryside between Middleton Top and Parsley Hay. At Parsley Hay the route links with the Tissington Trail which runs to Ashbourne.

Neat moorland and drystone walls make up the dramatic landscape of this stunning region, preserving some of England's most evocative scenery.

Eight cyclists on country road overlooking green hills in Devon

Cyclists take in a view at Dartmoor National Park.

Dartmoor National Park

The Dartmoor Way is a 95-mile-long circular cycling route around Dartmoor National Park linking hamlets, villages and towns. This challenging route passes through or near Bovey Tracey, Ashburton, Buckfastleigh, Ivybridge, Yelverton, Tavistock, Okehampton and Chagford.

The rich history and rare beauty of Dartmoor are revealed through open moorlands and deep river valleys, home to rare birds, lichens, butterflies and other insects.

Wall of ruined Gothic abbey against blue sky

The North York Moors

The North York Moors boasts huge swathes of beautiful heather moorland, ancient woodland and dramatic coastline, making the scenery stunning and unique. There are few other places that have such a contrasting landscape. 

Our lovely coastal route between the seaside resorts of Scarborough and Whitby, also known as the Cinder Track, is perfect for a day out in the North York Moors. Take in the best views, secluded coves and historic sites that North Yorkshire has to offer. 

Share this page