Bike exploring: The New Forest
Brockenhurst New Forest Loop. Just under 12 miles of easy going forest trails and tarmac. A great all year ride, perfect for families. The route starts and stops in the pretty little town of Brockenhurst.
As beautiful as Wensleydale is and we are lucky to call it home we miss the sea. So to rectify the
longing for the sound of crashing waves and sand in our sandwiches we decided to head for
Saltburn. However to make it a real adventure we took the bikes and a trailer.
This blog follows our journey along Sustrans route 1 or the Cleveland way from Redcar to Saltburn.
Start Point: NZ 602 649
We started the route from Redcar’s central railway station where there is ample parking. The first section involved travelling along the busy West Dyke Road. It is a very short section however I would advise walking young children along the footpath to the traffic lights. At the traffic lights you cross over to a restricted area which only allows cycle and bus traffic.
We saw no other traffic on the two occasions we used that restricted road. At the traffic lights at the end of this section you cross over onto the the shared pavemented area, it is sign posted as a cycle path.
Waypoint: 39 NZ 643 226
Follow this route along the coast passing through the village of Marske. Marske was an RAF training camp during World War 1 and there are amenities at this halfway point.
The signed route takes you left out of Marske at this point you are now on very quiet roads through a housing estate. At the end of this road you join a traffic free path which runs alongside the railway.
This route continues to pass through a village of allotments which fascinated the children. At the end of the allotments we deviated from the Sustrans route and accessed a permissive bridle way which took us directly to the promenade area avoiding the centre of Saltburn.
This is a relatively steep descent.
On our arrival into the resort we rode past a fabulous array of beautifully coloured beach huts. These are available to rent for the day, which maybe a worthwhile investment for a group of families, providing a changing area or somewhere to make a cup of tea.
I love Saltburn it has retained much of its original victorian resort charm. The council has invested extensively in the promenade area. It has everything that you would expect of the seaside but not too tacky. Helpful for families, there are lovely clean free toilets and indoor and outdoor showers.
There is a section of good food outlets, slot machines on the pier, surf shop, a great park and a cliff lift. The beach is great for kids, being a mixture of sand and large pebbles, it gently slopes out to sea making it relatively safe for supervised swimming and paddling. Lifeguards are present in season.
We could park our bikes directly on the beach and secure to the railings.
We returned to Redcar as the sun came out (typical!) following the route in the opposite direction.
This is a quicker return being slightly down hill however please note there is a nasty right hand road turn back onto the main road at Marske - we advise families to use the pedestrian crossing to rejoin the traffic free route at this point.
Distance: 12 miles (return)
We are very fortunate that we have Daisy’s old bike trailer for these trips. It means we can pack wetsuits, pack lunch and even the bucket and spade, and not expect the children to carry wet towels. On this type of flat route a trailer is a worthwhile investment for carrying children or kit including camping gear. It cuts moaning from kids carrying rucksacks, and it also makes the trip cheaper. If you are thinking in investigating in a trailer for family outings, do your homework. Pick one with an internal roll cage and 3 point harness for the kids.
As we took everything with us including the kitchen sink we only spent £3 all day on parking. Brilliant at the end of holidays when all your resources have been exhausted .
For more details of traffic free routes in urban and rural areas take a look at the Sustrans website.