Discover miles of breathtaking Dorset scenery by bike with our pick of the best cycling routes in and around Bournemouth
The best cycling routes around Bournemouth will enable you to discover the incredible scenery that this part of the Dorset coast is famous for. Between Bournemouth and the neighbouring towns of Christchurch and Poole, there are over 150 miles to explore on your bike, taking in everything from breathtaking clifftop paths to wildlife-rich nature reserves.
As well as giving you almost-unrestricted access to your natural surroundings, cycling offers a variety of health benefits, ranging from improved lung and joint function to better balance and coordination. It also helps the environment, of course, saving on emissions and reducing your carbon footprint.
To help you get started, we’ve listed five of the best cycling routes in the Bournemouth area, including the start and end points where applicable, the distances you’ll travel and what you can expect to see along the way. Please note that these are aimed at beginner and/or intermediate cyclists. To see a map of recommended cycle routes around Bournemouth, visit the BCP Council website.
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Up to 10 miles (16km) one way. Difficulty: Easy to intermediate
The Dorset coastline is renowned for its vast stretches of golden sand, and there’s no better way to witness this glorious spectacle than by cycling along the seafront. Starting at Hengistbury Head in the east, this route follows the promenade past the beaches at Southbourne, Boscombe, Bournemouth and the Chines (Durley and Alum). Though the path is relatively flat, riding the whole way might prove challenging for some – handily, there are plenty of cafés along the way to stop for some refreshments before turning back. Please note that during July and August, cycling is not permitted on the seafront between 10am and 6pm.
7.5 miles (12km). Difficulty: Easy
A circular ride between Upton Country Park and Poole town centre, the Heritage Cycle Route takes in some of the area’s most attractive and historic locations. From the stark beauty of Holes Bay, with its views towards the uninhabited Pergins Island, to the magnificent mansions of old Poole, there’s plenty to admire and photograph along the way. Once you’ve completed your journey, why not reward yourself with something tasty in Upton’s gorgeous walled garden – the cakes are simply divine.
Up to 10 miles (16km). Difficulty: Intermediate
Spread across 800 acres, Moors Valley Country Park & Forest is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, making it a real treat for nature lovers. If you’re looking to explore it on two wheels, you have a number of options. Our favourite is the Through the Forest Ride, a single-track route aimed at people with some off-road cycling experience. If you’re able to navigate the bumpy paths and occasional tight turns, you’ll be rewarded with sumptuous views of verdant pines and untroubled pastures. For an easier ride, try the two-mile (3.2km) Forest Road circuit.
3.1 miles (5km). Difficulty: Easy
Christchurch has long been a popular destination for tourists, who flock here to enjoy its award-winning beaches, coastal nature reserves and historic buildings – notably the ruins of an 11th-century castle. Starting in the neighbouring village of Wick, this gentle route gives you the chance to explore the resort by bicycle, taking in such picture-perfect sights as the River Stour, Tuckton Tea Gardens and Christchurch Quay. If you can resist stopping to admire the views with a scoop of ice cream, you have more willpower than us!
Up to 16.5 miles (26.5km). Difficulty: Easy to intermediate
Idyllic would be an apt word to describe The Castleman Trailway cycle route. Following a disused train track from inland Sturminster Newton, through the Stour Valley to the coastal town of Poole, this largely level path passes through some of the region’s most captivating and undisturbed scenery – think rolling hills, shimmering meadows and tranquil woodlands. Of course, there’s no obligation to complete the route from start to finish, and – as with the train that used to wind its way through these parts – there are numerous opportunities to get on and off.
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