Last weekend, a few friends and I cycled a 72 mile circular route in the New Forest. It was a glorious sunny Autumn day and here’s my description of the trip.
- Start and Finish: Lyndhurst
- On-road route (with a short section of bridleway)
- Distance: 72 miles
- We cycled the route on mountain bikes and a cyclocross bike but road bikes, of course, would have been quicker.
Where We Stayed
We chose to drive down (very) early on Saturday morning and stay at the Lyndhurst Park Hotel on the Saturday evening. The hotel let us park in their car park during the day when we were out cycling. You need to be a guest and a permit is required from the hotel reception to do this.
The hotel was fine although the outside looks a bit shabby. Breakfast was buffet-style which was adequate but not exceptional. Rooms were fine.
We cycled the route anti-clockwise which meant that most of the hills were climbed in the morning. However, to be honest, it’s not a particularly hilly route and much of the afternoon was spent cycling along flat country roads and covering distances quite quickly.
More About the Day
We started cycling at 8.30am and finished the route at 5pm. Our day included several stops for map reading, a puncture repair, and approx 45 mins for lunch in Burley (38 miles into the route). Overall, my average cycling speed was 11.8 mph (that’s on a mountain bike).
We were lucky because the day was cold but sunny and this was ideal weather for Autumn cycling. There were some great views over the rolling New Forest landscape in the open areas of the route.
- Note: As with all New Forest rides, be aware of horses, ponies and cattle along the route. They often stand in the middle of the road – or move into the road (and we saw a herd of ponies gallop along the road at one point).
I enjoyed the ride and, although tired, felt pretty much OK at the end of it. This time, I managed to eat snacks early in the ride which I think helped me with energy later on. That’s a lesson I need to remember, don’t wait until you feel knackered before eating!
The Best Bits
The best parts of the day for me were the sections before and after Burley. Before the town, there was a great descent down Bolderwood Arboretum Ornamental Drive; it’s a lovely winding road through the trees (and downhill in the direction we did it!). After Burley, there were some wide open roads with long distance views where we made good progress in the afternoon; these were also great to cycle.
- The not-so-best bit was when I put my foot down whilst crossing a stream in the morning. Yeuch
This is a fantastic ride that covers a reasonable distance through some stunning New Forest scenery. I thought it was great!