Free wheeling: The UK's most beautiful bike routes

·3-min read

The UK is set to get an amazing new bike route this autumn in the form of the West Kernow Way, an off-road 150 mile loop in ruggedly beautiful West Cornwall. Cycling is one of the healthiest, most fun and eco-friendly ways to explore the UK - so which other exciting cycle routes should be on your travel bucket list? 

The Loch Leven Heritage Trail, Kinross-shire

Amazingly still reflections of the island in Loch Leven, Scotland, with the Pap of Glencoe in the middle distance.
Amazingly still reflections of the island in Loch Leven, Scotland, with the Pap of Glencoe in the middle distance.

This 19.5km, largely traffic-free route takes your around the banks of Loch Leven - a spectacular body of water between Edinburgh and Perth, in the east of Scotland’s Central Lowlands. 

If you're lucky you might spot osprey, kingfishers and otters as you enjoy the views out to the picturesque Lochleven Castle, which stands on its own island in the middle of the loch. 

The Tarka Trail

The Tarka Trail is a brilliant way to explore North Devon (Getty Images)
The Tarka Trail is a brilliant way to explore North Devon (Getty Images)

Inspired by the journey travelled by Tarka the Otter in Henry Williamson's classic novel, this 180-mile route (much of it off-road) will lead you through a spectacular variety of Devon countryside. 

Fuel up on coffee in the pretty market town of Okehampton, on the edge of wild and wonderful Dartmoor, and stop off for a picnic on the wide, white beach at Crow Point. 

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Box Hill, Surrey

A cyclist making his way up Box Hill (Getty Images)
A cyclist making his way up Box Hill (Getty Images)

This much-loved scenic road route, made even more famous by the London 2012 Olympic Games cycling races, is short but not for the faint hearted (or faint legged). The hill itself is only 2.5km, but goes up by 129m in elevation. 

Nevertheless, once at the top, you'll be rewarded with gorgeous views over the Surrey Hills AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). 

The Elan Trail, Powys

The unspoilt landscape of the Elan Valley (Getty Images)
The unspoilt landscape of the Elan Valley (Getty Images)

Following the line of the old Birmingham Corporation Railway for most of the way, the Elan Valley Trail winds through incredible mid-Wales scenery past steep valleys and glittering reservoirs. 

Kick off your ride from the small, pretty village of Cwmdeuddwr, and make your way to the spectacular Craig Goch Dam.

The Lakeland Loop, Cumbria

The beautiful but challenging Wynrose Pass (Getty Images)
The beautiful but challenging Wynrose Pass (Getty Images)

Sometimes called Britain's best bike route, this challenging 65km ride takes in some of the loveliest - and steepest - parts of the Lake District. 

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The circular route starts off in Lowick, before wending around the shoreline of Lake Coniston for the first ten miles. Watch out for the notorious Wrynrose Pass, with gradients reaching 30 per cent - you will more than deserve the magnificent views from the top. 

The Settle Circular, Yorkshire

Explore the Yorkshire Dales National Park on the Settle Circular trail (Getty Images)
Explore the Yorkshire Dales National Park on the Settle Circular trail (Getty Images)

This gently rolling route will lead you through some of the prettiest and best-known villages in the southern Yorkshire Dales. Take a slow climb onto Swarth Moor, with fantastic views of Pen-y-ghent peak, before descending to the attractive villages of Austwick and Clapham. 

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