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Ever wanted to... Cycle the Forest of Dean


Even better than the wheel thing

Even better than the wheel thing

Even better than the wheel thing

The Forest of Dean cycle route is an 11-mile, family-oriented trail designed specifically with little legs in mind.

The trail is well signposted and well maintained, while the majority of it is built on former railway lines, with plenty of routes connecting the trail with local villages and an array of picnic sites, perfect for pit-stops and for recharging the batteries.

The route is circular in nature and is of a low level of difficulty, thus catering for all ages and abilities, making it the perfect location for a short family bike excursion over the summer months. The Forest of Dean and Wye Valley provide a variety of terrains and scenery along the route, with a large amount of stone roads and paths, while there are sections interspersed with winding country lanes and hill climbs.

There are purpose-built secluded cycle paths away from traffic in the Cannop Valley, which may be safest for young children, while the downhill forest tracks are perfect for mountain biking with a dedicated off-road area.

There are five grades of cycle path difficulty, ranging from green (easy), to orange (difficult). The route is characterised by gradual rises and descents with one steep ascent. It also features tunnels created by overhanging branches from trees, while there are four road crossings. It is to be noted that the route is shared with pedestrians.


The trails of the Forest of Dean are best experienced during late spring and in summer.


Green – Rated as easy and suitable for beginners. The trail is relatively flat and broad, consisting of well-maintained terrain and paths, and is perfect for those seeking a cycle route for a family with young children.

Blue – Rated as moderate on the difficulty spectrum. It is said to be exciting for both intermediate and experienced cyclists as a combination of surfaces are encountered, with narrow sections and climbs.

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Red – The red grade is acknowledged as being of a difficult level. The trail consists of a challenging single track, which will be difficult in sections for even the most experienced off-road cyclists. There is variety in the route, with difficult switchback climbs, rooty drops and hairpin bends.

Black – The black level is rated as being suitable for expert mountain bikers with high levels of fitness and off-road mountain-biking experience.

Orange – This route is only suitable for extreme level riders with expert skill and technical bike ability as there are numerous steep downhill descents.

How to get there/where to stay

Return flights from Dublin to Bristol can be bought for as little as €92 in July. There are plenty of lodgings and hotels to choose from in the area, with family deals available in certain hotels.



Highs: Enjoying the countryside on a pleasant cycling route with all of the family. Lows: Choosing too difficult a route for your level of ability.

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