Natasha Sones focuses on ways to be active in Suffolk for families. From hobbies such as swimming and climbing to fun family places to go, you will discover hidden gems that Suffolk has to offer.
Here we focus on bike riding, a perfect activity for adults and children to do together to keep fit and have fun. Suffolk has plenty of destinations which are perfect for exploring on two wheels.
The whole county of Suffolk is criss-crossed with wonderful cycling trails, routes, and off-road tracks through woodlands and reserves, making it easy to get out and about on two wheels.
Rendlesham Forest has something for cyclists of all ages. There are two cycle routes of varying distance and difficulty criss-crossing the forest. The F.I.D.O trail is a family cycling route 10 miles long. The Tang trail is a gentle woodland cycle of 6 miles, perfect for the family. Plan your day – Rendlesham-forest-Trails
You can also try out the Viking trail at Tunstall Forest, a 10 mile, single-track mountain bike trail beginning from Sandgalls car park in the north of the forest.
Over in the west of the county is High Lodge Forest Centre where there are three trails starting from the Visitor Centre to enjoy the unique atmosphere of the forest. The five-mile Shepherd Trail is relatively flat and suitable for most types of bike, with its terrain including a mix of gravel forest roads, tracks, and trails. There is the option of a 3.5 mile shortcut, ideal if you are riding with children. The other trails are the Beater Trail, with two alternative routes, covering six or 11 miles, and the single-track 10 mile Lime Burner trail, both for more experienced off-road cyclists. At the other end of the scale, there is a Pump Track to help children improve their riding skills.
Suffolk has lovely quiet lanes and is a (mainly!) flat county. Pass through some of the prettiest villages in England, with character-filled cottages half-timbered, thatched cottages, and Tudor timber-framed buildings. The best of these can be seen in Lavenham, East Bergholt, Cavendish, Polstead, and Thorpeness. Stop for a cream tea in a little tearoom or fish and chips and a pint in a country pub.
Lavenham is one of the prettiest villages in Suffolk
Cycling at Alton Water is a great option as there are a choice of trails to suit every type of cyclist, with tracks open all year round. The eastern shore of Alton Water – a reservoir situated in 400 acres of beautiful countryside – offers a challenging 8 mile route, combining surfaced tracks with un-surfaced ones.
Relax and enjoy the picturesque surroundings at Alton Water.
Dunwich and Minsmere is a lovely 13-mile circular route ideal, great for exploring the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Natural Beauty. Set out from Dunwich Beach car park through Dunwich Forest, and the attractive village of Westleton with its thatched church. It will take you around three hours, longer if you take an optional detour through Walberswick. The route goes past the famous RSPB Minsmere reserve.
See the beautiful heather when cycling through the heathland at Dunwich.
After visiting the National Trust’s Dunwich Heath visitor centre, your return route will take you past the ruins of Greyfriars Priory, a historic monument that is free to visit and is one of Dunwich’s many reminders of its unique history as a lost city. For refreshments, try the beach cafe or National Trust cafe at Dunwich Heath. Pubs include The Ship at Dunwich and The Westleton Crown.
Long Distance Rides
If you want to make a weekend of it, there are several long-distance routes for relaxed touring. Try the 88-mile Suffolk Coastal Cycle Route, a circular signed route through the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, from Felixstowe to Dunwich on quiet roads before looping inland via the market towns of Framlingham and Woodbridge.
Make time for a visit to the historic Framlingham Castle on your tour.
• Southwold Cycle Hire From here you can hire mountain bikes and all cycles, along with a helmet, lock, and a pump also provided as standard. Bicycles with carriers, child seats, and tag-a-longs are also available on request for little ones.
• You can hire bikes from a number of places in and around Thetford, including the High Lodge Forest Centre. It’s advisable to book in advance.
• Alton Water has a wide range of bikes and accessories for hire. This is a popular destination for families, you will also find a great range of family-friendly cycles.
• Velo-Hire cycle hire in Saxmundham offers bikes with safety helmets, security locks, pumps, spare inner tubes, and puncture repair kits. Their Explorer Bikes offer the best of both cycling worlds so that road and off-road can be ridden with ease. They can deliver to your holiday location or you can pick up from Saxmundham or Carlton.
There are plenty more cycling routes across Suffolk as well as those country lanes right outside our doorstep, so get out there and start exploring!
Natasha Sones has an outside family adventure travel blog: www.natashasoneseditorial.com/blog. With three children, three dogs, and a husband she enjoys days out, holidays, camping, walking, paddleboarding, kayaking, stargazing and much more! Follow her blog or her Instagram account: @natashastarseeker if you love family lifestyle articles.