Former rail lines up and down the country now offer great, family-friendly off-road cycle paths – and some even go up and down a little
Cornwall, Camel Trail
Wenfordbridge / Padstow start / finish (with a brief spur to Bodmin)
18 kilometers away
Getting there / away A brief trip to the path at Boscarne Junction, northwest of Bodmin city, is from Bodmin Parkway station. Pop your bicycle on one of the steam trains from Bodmin Parkway to the intersection of Bodmin and Wenford Railway. Take the path north-east to reach Wenfordbridge or Padstow north-west. Alternatively, take the 11A bus (plymouthcitybus.co.uk) and hire bicycles from Bodmin Parkway to Padstow.
Bike rental at Bodmin Bikes and Trail Munki ; at Snail’s Pace Cafe in Wenfordbridge ; at Camel Trail Cycle Hire in Wadebridge ; and at Trail Bike Hire in Padstow
Potential stops in Bodmin, Padstow and Wadebridge
Top tips Check out either the Camel River Festival in August in Wadebridge or the Cornwall Volksfestival.
The most famous former cycle route of the nation is also one of the most beautiful. It begins on the south-west bank of Bodmin Moor and follows the Camel River down to Wadebridge, before going to the famous coastal food resort of Padstow along the coast for the best of 20 miles around north Cornwall. Most of the trains are off-road and combine the Bodmin and Wadebridge Railways with the North Cornwall Railway.
The Killin Cycle Route Callander, Trossachs
Ride to Stirling from the Wheels Cycle Center, outside Callander Potential Stops, Killin Top tips In Killin, visit Inchbuie, the lesser-known île of Inchbuie, in the middle of the River Aberart. Callander Cycling Center, a few kilometers from the Calander Center, off the beach and from the city centre, a short distance from Killin. Hidden between the conifers, for chieftains of the Macnab Clan is the most uncommon old burial ground. You can obtain keys to the entry door of the island from the local library
This is not often called a former rail bike, but is Scotland, where Victorian civil engineers often had issues in their mountain landscape. The path through the national park of Loch Lomond and Trossachs mainly follows the dead Callander and Oban Railway. It is shared with an ancient military highway on the banks of Loch Lubnaig and the east bank of the Balvaig River by the small valley of the River Garbh Uisge. It winds up over Glen Ogle, over a splendid viaduct (photo) and at last down to Killin, in the southern tip of Loch Tay. Fortunately.
Somerset Railway Path, Bristol and Bath
Distance 16 miles To get there / to Bristol Temple Meads and Bath Spa railway stations are convenient to either end of trail (on the same line) Rental Bike Return to Bristol’s Temple Meads station or to a conventional motorbike near Cycle the City. Bikes rent a Brompton picturesque bikes at the same track (on the same line). In Bath from the Green Park Bike Station, Bristol, Bath Top tip, turn back along the Kennet and Avom Canal road Potential stopovers
Whilst this path is by no means the shortest route, it portrays a kind of curve in shape of a seahorse, it is by far the most enjoyable way to travel between the two. The sweet, broad route is lined with trees, which travels along the former route of the confusingly called Midland Railway, giving it the feel of a secret tunnel, sweeping from one large ancient town to another. Some of the former stations remain intact and Warmley’s waiting room has turned into a café where the ancient platform serves tea and cake.At Bitton station there is another café, the home of the Avon Valley Railway and its three miles restored road. The views over rural Somerset and the Gloucestershire are wonderful if the trees go away and the company of the Avon River to enjoy at the end of the bath.
North Yorkshire’s Cinder Track
The Cinder Track, the Northern Start / Distribution of Whitby / Scarborough Distance 21 miles Getting there / District The start and end of the track are in the immediate vicinity to Whitby and Scarborough railway stats respectively Bike Hire At the former Hawsker station near Whitby (trailways.info) A place to have dinner and pint Black Sheep at Haybur Wyke in the 18th century
80 years ago, from 1885, the railway connecting Whitby to Scarborough operated, transporting passengers and goods up the East bank of the North York Moors along the coast. The Cinder Track is now a lengthy off-road segment of the National Cycle Network Route 1 which has been named after the track material still on the road (somewhat unevenly in sections), High on the river Esk, the 37-meter-high Larpool viaduct fitted out from Whitby. Along the manner, there are two small, cracking coves, Maw Wyke Hole and Cloughton Wyke, if you like picnicing on the seaside.A delightfully fishing village with the maze of the tight streets loved by smugglers, the Robin Hood’s (figured), known as the eastern end of the Coast-to-Coast Wainwright Walking Route. Ravenscar is one of England’s first chemistry works and can be explored (free of charge) in the 16th-century peak alum works. And Scarborough is a spectacular destination with its promontory castle.
Norfolk’s Marriot’s Way
Start / finish Norwich / Aylsham Route from Norwich Station for 26 miles Getting there / after. At the end, it’s a six-mile journey to the closest stations in North Walsham or Worstead. As it finishes at Aylsham station, alternatively, take the Bure Valley Railway for a minimum gage in Wroxham & Hoveton and alter there to a more standard train, or just drive along the restored train nine-mile cycle track.Aylsham Top tips Every August sees the Reepham 19 Music Festival, and the annual Aylsham Air Show. Biking hires In Norwich in the social enterprise Bicycle Links or the Bike and Go Membership system from the station Potential stops Norwich
This route cleverly combines two Late Victorian railways to produce a pleasantly eccentric jaunt in the Norfolk landscape, named after innovative railroad engineer William Marriott. One line, named “Muddle and Go Nowhere,” belonged to the Eastern and Midland Railways, runs north-west across Northern and Midlands from Norwich. The other was constructed by East Norfolk Railway and flew from Aylsham to the Southwest.Together they give a bucolic journey from the outskirts of Norwich along the Wensum River Valley to Whitwell and Reepham Station, where there is a cafe, bicycle rental and camping. It then roams east through Reepham and reaches Aylsham with its medieval wooden buildings. The path and the Foxley Wood Nature Reserve have carvings inspired by railway to breathe.
Angelique Chrisafis is the Guardian’s Paris correspondent. She is responsible for churning out quality articles based on her research while keeping an eye on the tech world. She likes technology, gadgets, and food. Works as an individual contributor to the team.