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ericmark

Camp sites and easy cycle routes.

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I wished I had taken my bike when we went to Forest of Dean, I walked some routes and realised they could be cycled, however from the camp site they were steep, and my wife does not do much cycling so to start with looking at flat, there is a good route from home Shotton to the Wirral, and there is a good route Dolgellau to Barmouth both flat for most of the way, and both off motor car roads most of the way.   Crowden also had an old railway line slight hill, but within what my wife can handle, however not from camp site, we would have to drive to car park with bikes.  

 

We considered an A frame bike rack, but fortunately expensive or we may have bought one, so we got one which fits behind tow ball, so can carry bike both light car and with caravan. So could do likes of Crowden again, but would prefer Forest of Dean as then I can do woodland routes, if there are also some flat routes I can do with my wife preferable off road but for a road bike and flat. My tyres on a mountain bike have puncture resistance tyres, but that is not true with road bike.

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I have walked from Chester along the Greenway, through Deeside Industrial estate and across Burton marshes to Parkgate. After Burton Marshes the path can be very narrow and muddy making it sometimes impassable by standard cycles. The Wirral Way can be accessed near Parkgate for onward travel to Wirral circular trail and beyond.

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Stay at CC Beechwood Grange on the NE edge of York and you can cycle into the city on almost flat roads. There are also cycle tracks south of York towards Selby along old railway track beds - and that is near enough flat albeit 11 miles.

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I have re-visited forest of dean, Bracelands Campsite this time with the bikes, I did the route around camp site, bit of a push but OK.   Next day went to Monmouth however my wife picked me up so did not cycle back, the route to start with was steep down hill, too steep for my liking and I walked with bike.   Very quickly reached the main down hill track, I am sure at one time this was some sort of railway, maybe horse drawn, as the gradient was the same all the way down to river, I would say a better route to the main road, at the river it was only yards away from the foot bridge over the Wye and the route from then on was clearly an old railway track, very easy ride into Monmouth.

Next was Synomds Yat this was no where near as hard as expected, it did have some ups and downs, and one down had a warning about how steep, however not as steep as the first section going to Monmouth, but think in reverse direction I would be walking, once I had visited the rock, went down the road to the old railway line, this was really too steep, I found I could not stop although could retard the speed enough so I reached bottom in one piece, a bit late, but then stopped to adjust brakes, I had clearly reached the limit of the cam on the disk brakes, had they been adjusted before descent they would have stopped me. I am 22 stone that does not help.

From then on again flat run mainly on old railway track joining where I had ridden before, and again picked up in Monmouth so did not go back up the hill.

Final run took bikes to Monmouth and we both rode to Synomds Yat (not up to viewing point) and back, at the foot bridge we crossed and bought a cup of coffee at farm cafe, then continued that side of the river, the route was a tad too steep, my wife walked quite a bit of it, also her tyres too narrow not really a safe place to ride, no problem walking with bike. At the rope pull ferry we walked down steps and crossed river, the ferryman carried my wife's bike onto ferry, he was very good, then returned to Monmouth on the old railway track. Photos show 1) cafe to ferry pushing hard. 2) the ferry crossing. 3) Me on the old railway track section.

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Edited by ericmark

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On 16/09/2018 at 13:10, DeeTee said:

I have walked from Chester along the Greenway, through Deeside Industrial estate and across Burton marshes to Parkgate. After Burton Marshes the path can be very narrow and muddy making it sometimes impassable by standard cycles. The Wirral Way can be accessed near Parkgate for onward travel to Wirral circular trail and beyond.

I have ridden from Shotton to the Pub on that route, past the farm cafe, reasonably flat, couple of steep bits either side of railway bridge not helped by motorcycle stopping bars at start of slope up bridge so can't get a run at it, part is bus and cycle only, and part is on road through industrial estate OK Chester - Parkgate direction, but forced to ride wrong way on one way street on return, all cycle signs actually show riding against traffic.

 

I have also done the Chester loop, From Shotton over railway bridge again, straight ahead over Welcome to Wales bridge following old railway line until in outskirts of Chester then after crossing canal sharp right onto tow path through the basin then right onto main road until you reach Park, then off road again and it leads to the river side path under Queensferry bypass, special cycle crossing at Blue Bridge, then back to railway bridge past steel works offices. Nice round trip, very little road work.

 

Unfortunately the cycle track stops at Connah's Quay and does not really start again until Flint, at Flint Castle it starts again not sure how far it goes, I know at Greenfield only walk-able to Fun ship, there are stiles and gates which are not really any good for bikes, by Talacre by light house again the coastal path is OK for bikes, crosses golf course and caravan sites into Prestatyn.

 

I find all to often just one small bit spoils it, from my house in Shotton I can cycle into Wepre woods and right through the woods to nearly Ewloe, then there is a kissing gate to stop you getting onto the lane and into Ewloe, I can with no rear mud guard just about get the bike through on back wheel, but wife's bike needs lifting over gate, what a pity.   Same with loggerheads and leate kissing gate at kennels just before you cross road, again spoiling it as through route.

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The Wirral Country CC park site is ideally situated for access to the Wirral Way, from which Hoylake, Chester and North Wales are accessible.

As ericmark has observed above, the greeenway/cycle way becomes the Sustrans National cycle route at Connah's Quay,  known in local parlance as "The Quay"

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I know that it is further away, but the Derbyshire Peak District has some lovely former railway tracks, such as the Tissington Trail, now made into a network of cycle tracks. Being railway tracks they are very easy gradients, but through beautiful countryside. Loads of nearby caravan parks and CLs.

For easy carriage have you considered changing to folding bikes? Mine is a full size 26" wheel ATB that fits easily into even a small car boot.

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From Well-i-Hole campsite near Marsden, Mrs H and I explored the Huddersfield Narrow Canal by bike this summer. Easy going and reasonably well-maintained towpath. We gave up at ASDA Ashton because a) we had come to the end of the Narrow Canal, b) it was lunchtime and c) ASDA Ashton seems to have fenced off the towpath.

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On 23/10/2018 at 06:13, DeeTee said:

The Wirral Country CC park site is ideally situated for access to the Wirral Way, from which Hoylake, Chester and North Wales are accessible.

As ericmark has observed above, the greeenway/cycle way becomes the Sustrans National cycle route at Connah's Quay,  known in local parlance as "The Quay"

I tried it yesterday via National Route 568 and The Wirral Way/Wirral Circular Trail to it seems on the map a caravan site although we stopped because of the Flissy Coffee Shop, Bank Side Station Road, Thurstaston Wirral which is one of three watering holes along the way, not counting Shotton. First time out with electric bike which my wife bought on Saturday, and I was on a normal bike.  

 

Although following a railway track most of the way, it was not without hills, Neston you follow some streets and go through the park, plus a few others, in the main there are signs, but in one or two places did not see signs and followed other cyclists for road bits.

 

The angled bars are clearly designed for drop handle bars, our handle bars were too wide so had to thread them through and they all seems to be at the bottom of a rise, so loads of hill starts. Where one can see these in advance not too much of a problem with 24 gears if I had already changed down, easy enough to restart, and electric bike has 9 gears, again in first gear not a problem, but so easy to ride when she is paced at my rate, there was a tendency to pull too high of a gear, and even the electric bike in a high gear is hard to restart on hills, the 26 mile round trip took 4 hours, Google maps says we should do it in 2 hours 10 minutes, but to average 12 MPH for pleasure cycling not really going to happen, our normal speed is around 8 MPH, I overtake wife on down hill bits, her gears not as high as mine, and she overtakes me on up hill bits, I don't have an electric motor.

 

Today weighed myself put on 4 pounds, clearly cycling does does not help weight loss, likely connected to stopping at the Harp inn!

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39 minutes ago, ericmark said:

Today weighed myself put on 4 pounds, clearly cycling does does not help weight loss, likely connected to stopping at the Harp inn!

 

Ah the Harp, a brilliant waterhole with exceptional views.   Alas they stopped doing food a good while ago, is it still the case?

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Since getting my ebike we try to look for sites near traffic-free routes. I invested in the Sustrans book “Traffic-free cycle rides”  and we are working our way around the country! So far we have done the Peak District (3 trails), Padstow (Camel Trail), Pembrey (Millenium Coastal Path), Bath (Two Tunnels Greenway & Bath to Bristol Railway Path), Wirral (Coastal route), a route from Scarborough to Redcar (bit rough), canals around the country etc. and many more.   Most of the trails we take the bikes on/in the car and ride out from there. However, there is a perfectly adequate caravan park at Bath Marina, from which you can just ride out to hit the trails. Have fun planning your routes - most are online as well.

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We like doing this as well.   Just had a few days near Market Harborough.   The Brampton Valley way  is an old railway running between Market Harborough and Northampton with two unlit tunnels! We stayed at Waterloo Farm which is a site right on the trail.

Another favorite is the Mawddach  Estuary running from Barmouth to Dolgellau. Another old railway trail that runs over the estuary with some spectacular scenary, There is a lovely CL just outside Barmouth called the Orchards which actualy has two sites one for CMC members and one for CCC members.

Lets hope others join in with more suggestions.

 

Martin

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13 hours ago, MalH said:

 

Ah the Harp, a brilliant waterhole with exceptional views.   Alas they stopped doing food a good while ago, is it still the case?

We went around a year ago and it was closed for a refurbishment which was to include kitchen so I assume food again, however good pub guide says not Sunday evening and it was Sunday we went, also on door said open 12 noon and it was not, but may be got time wrong with clocks moving.

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18 hours ago, alecsmart said:

We like doing this as well.   Just had a few days near Market Harborough.   The Brampton Valley way  is an old railway running between Market Harborough and Northampton with two unlit tunnels! We stayed at Waterloo Farm which is a site right on the trail.

Another favorite is the Mawddach  Estuary running from Barmouth to Dolgellau. Another old railway trail that runs over the estuary with some spectacular scenary, There is a lovely CL just outside Barmouth called the Orchards which actualy has two sites one for CMC members and one for CCC members.

Lets hope others join in with more suggestions.

 

Martin

Both of these are on the list Martin - we almost did the Brampton Valley Line a few months ago, but the weather changed to wet & windy, so we went shopping instead! Thanks for the CL recommendation nr. Barmouth.

Glen.

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Come to Cornwall and ride the Camel Trail.  Lots of caravan sites to choose from and bike hire available if you don't bring your own.  

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I  don't like road cycling either so I always look for traffic-free routes whenever possible. The Carsington Trail around Carsington Water in Derbyshire is nice, about 8 miles, café at start/finish, - only small ups/downs & lots of flat woodland trail. You can ride straight from Carsington Water CAMC, or on a short bit of road from Carsington Fields Caravan Park.

 

Also in Derbyshire, the Monsal Trail from Bakewell to Buxton is lovely & almost completely flat as its the old railway line. Cafes at each end plus one in the middle, but check the opening hours of that one out of season). There are 6 tunnels on the route with fairly dim lighting so a light is recommended, but the views are wonderful. Easily accessible from Chatsworth CAMC or various CLs & there are various car parks on the way so you don't have to do the whole 16 mile return if you park somewhere on the way.

 

Link to 8 traffic free cycle routes in the Peak District: https://www. wanderlust. co. uk/content/best-off-road-cycling-routes-peak-district/

 

Stratford upon Avon Racecourse site has access to the Stratford Greenway, a 5 mile route to Long Marston & is flat & easy as again its an old railway line. There are a couple of narrow parts where it crosses a road with a tiny chicane but no problem if you can lift your bike just off the ground. The last 3/4 mile is on roads but they're quiet, wide country lanes & end with a nice visit to the Mason's Arms :)  You can also cycle into the middle of Stratford traffic free, then access the towpath up the SuA canal & cycle back (on wide country roads) past Mary Arden's Farm & Anne Hathaway's cottage.  

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Sustrans have produced a book "Traffic-free cycle rides, 150 great days out". Each route has a map so shouldn't be too difficult to link each to nearby caravan sites.

 

John.

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Smytham Manor in Great Torrington North Devon has fantastic flat cycle rides, from the campsite straight onto the Tarka Trail in either direction, it's well worth checking it out.  

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On 30/10/2018 at 15:38, moorgate said:

Come to Cornwall and ride the Camel Trail.

I agree it's a nice flat ride but the bike took some cleaning afterwards because of all of the white dust that kicked up from the track. A small price to pay though for a very pleasant day out.

Gordon.

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Another good day out is the Granite Way in Devon - another former railway line - easily accessible from the Lydford Caravan site, and you can cycle over the amazing Meldon  viaduct to Okehampton station.

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