My top cycling spots in Notts
When we first moved to Nottingham in 2011, one of the first things we did was purchase a pair of bikes, as a means to get around and keep fit. I’ve been regularly cycling to work ever since, and we’re lucky here to have a city where cyclists are being prioritised – work on a £6m cycle network is currently underway, to further improve routes and access for cyclists.
Cycling for me isn’t just for the commuter daily grind though, I love getting out and about exploring the county on two wheels. It may be cold outside, but that’s no reason not to get your bike out of the shed, just remember a pair of warm gloves and you’ll be on your way!
We also have plenty of bicycles for hire right across the city and at major attractions, so it’s easy to get around by bike. Here are some of my top cycling spots in Nottinghamshire…
The Big Track
The Big Track is a clearly marked ten-mile car-free cycle route linking the city centre and Beeston. It follows paths along the River Trent and canals, and is a flat and relaxing route, making it ideal for the whole family. Beyond the Big Track at Beeston, you’ll find another favourite…
This sprawling wetlands nature reserve on the banks of the River Trent is a haven for wildlife, and has a fantastic cycle path running along the riverside along its edge. Expect to see a variety of birdlife, as you cycle through the tree lined corridor. Be sure to stop for a spot of tea and cake at the fantastic cafe onsite at the Attenborough Nature Centre.
Wollaton Hall & Deer Park
Also within easy reach of Nottingham city centre, just three miles away, you’ll find 500 acres of parkland surrounding Wollaton Hall. The park is criss-crossed with cycling paths, and the open countryside is ideal for exploring. Keep an eye out for the resident deer in the park, and the cafe has a large outdoor seating area, perfect for a cuppa next to your bike.
Further afield in the county, Sherwood Pines attracts mountain bikers from around the country and world, keen to experience its exciting tracks through the towering trees and lush undergrowth. There is bike hire on site if you don’t have your own mountain bike, and the trails range from the easy Family Cycle Route – three miles ideal for families and beginners – through to the extreme Kitchener Trail. In between is the Adventure Cycle Trail – a moderate trail which I have had a go at. It’s challenging, but a lot of fun to be skidding around muddy corners and racing down hills through the forest.
Heading north from Sherwood Pines you’ll find Clumber Park, a former Ducal Estate turned National Trust property which covers 3,800 acres and is home to over 20 miles of cycling trails. Bring your own bike, or hire one from the cycle hire onsite, which offers tandems, child seats and trailers ensuring the whole family can take part. The scenery is stunning – the beautiful lake, forest, landscaped parkland and ancient trees are wonderful at any time of year, and the countryside is fairly flat, making for easy riding. Along the way, stop at the Gardener’s Cottage outside the Walled Kitchen Garden for afternoon tea, or refresh at the end of your ride in the main cafe by the lake.
Looking for a cycling goal to aim for? This summer the Great Notts Bike Ride returns for its 35th year, and is the ideal way to see some of the most scenic countryside in Nottinghamshire by bike.
The routes on the ride are The Maid Marian (25 miles), The Robin Hood (50 miles), The Friar Tuck (75 miles) and The ‘Little’ John (100 miles).
Early bird entries are open until midnight on Sunday 31st January. Sign up online www.cyclelivenottingham.co.uk or call 0115 968 3327.