With miles of scenic country lanes, designated National Cycle Network routes and opportunities to hit off-road trails, exploring Dorset on two wheels makes the perfect getaway for budding amateurs or cycling enthusiasts alike. Happily peddle your way around the county’s most picturesque sights, sampling some delicious local food and unearthing the area’s history as they go.
Combining the best of both worlds, Dorset Pedals is a scheme set up by Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that showcases the best local food and landscapes. These detailed maps provide thoughtful route suggestions and, most importantly, knowledgeable recommendations for gourmet pit stops. There’s a variety of routes to choose from, including the Dorchester & Hardy Country trail, which guides riders to points of interest from Hardy’s own life, as well as those he took inspiration from for his literary works, like our very own The Acorn Inn. This is then combined with sampling some local delicacies along the way, like the divine patisserie and cakes at Yalbury & Yvon’s Café in Dorchester (you’ve earned it) or the traditional Dorset Knob, a savoury biscuit.
Off Road Trail
For thrill seekers, the Bike Trail & Skills Park at Symondsbury Estate is great. Their exhilarating route has fantastic views across the surrounding hills and valleys to the sea, this coupled with the variety of terrain, from steep climbs to whizzing through water, means there’s never a dull moment. If you want to take it up a notch, those in search of fast downhill trails and jumps that are guaranteed to shake the bones should head to Okeford Hill.
For Scenic Rides
If you prefer to focus on the journey, not the destination, Cyclexperience comes highly recommended for its bike hire and planned routes in the Purbeck area, one of Dorset’s prettiest localities. Excellent for families and the more genteel cyclists, it’s a great chance to see the countryside which inspired Enid Blyton’s iconic Famous Five series and visit the historic Corfe Castle.
For Hill Climbs
For passionate road riders and fans of rewarding hill climbs, the Whiteways Climb route is a must try. Begin in East Lulworth and scale the challenging heights of Purbeck Ridge as you snake your way to the summit. Take time to catch your breath and take in the fantastic views of the surrounding unspoilt countryside, a nature reserve belonging to the Dorset Wildlife Trust.
For those who prefer a leisurely pace, but still want to see the best of what Dorset has to offer, Jurassic Electric Bike Tours comes highly recommended. The scheme aims to make some of the most spectacular views in West Dorset easily accessible by offering scheduled full and half day tours on electric bikes. This means that you don’t have to the strenuous uphill bit as your new best friend takes the strain. Tours start from a variety of locations, including Dorchester and Weymouth, and showcase the region’s beautiful landscape and history.
With special thanks to Visit Dorset
Image Credits: Lead image © iStock/Solovyova. Group of cyclists in Dorset © Signpost Cycling. Teenager cycling in forest © iStock/scottyh. Bicycle on road © iStock/Maryviolet. Family bike ride © iStock/SolStock. Cyclist cycling uphill © iStock/mikkelwilliam. Electric bike © Jurassic Electric Cycle Tour.