I am never in a rush to embrace Autumn when the kids go back to school. September is my oldest’s birthday month, and it always sticks in my mind as a month full of all the sunshine that August forgot. It’s also the time to cram in more adventures, back to school doesn’t have to spell the end of weekend adventure. If anything we need family time more in September.
Now that the summer weather is back, it’s the perfect time to sneak in a last family trip away camping. Halfords sent over a brilliant guide to some of the UK’s best destinations for camping with recommendations by fellow bloggers on places to eat, what to cook and a camping playlist. It’s really inspiring, so do take a look at the guide, I have shared it at the bottom of this post. Now is also a great time, as my savvy friend reminded me, to replace old airbeds and broken camping kit with end of season sale bargains.
What inspired me was the campsites in the guide which are good for cycling, one along the Tissington Trail, a cycle track we have just been to try out locally, and another is a campsite we absolutely loved, and still talk about, in Northumberland.
Last week we finally pulled our bikes out the shed, from where they have lain dusty and a little unloved since we moved, and ventured out to find our nearest cycle track. We’re really spoilt for choice here in the ‘south’, or ‘white peak’ of the Peak District. The area used to be full of industry with railways and rivers serving the many mills and mines here, but nowadays the disused railway lines are perfect cycle tracks through beautiful valleys and stunning countryside. The best bit is because the tracks are old railways lines they are largely flat, or slight inclines, so you can appreciate the peaks without cycling up them – perfect for family cycling!
My bike needed some serious repair and Mr G’s is too small, but L and Mr A were able to take their bikes out while me and Mr G hired them. You are also spoilt for cycle hire places.
I noticed as we were cycling that Ashbourne Heights campsite, in the Derbyshire Peak District has a direct path onto the Tissington Trail, a 13 mile long cycle track which follows the path of an old railway. Depending which end of the track you start, you can head just short of Buxton, or to Ashbourne, with lots of pretty stops either way. You can also connect to other cycle tracks in the area.
We really enjoyed cycling from just past Ashbourne to Tissington. It is a very slight incline in this direction, but the promise of an ice cream is enough to distract everyone from this and it is plain sailing on the way back. There are lots more routes to try.
Cycling the Tissington Trail
You can cycle traffic free to the pretty town of Ashbourne, which is a couple of miles from the campsite. It has lovely cafes, boutiques, pocket money shops, delis to stock up for picnics and, as I am discovering, great pubs, gin bars, restaurants and charity shops. They also have bunting all year round too, I love it.
Or travel the other way to Tissington which is often called one of the prettiest villages in the UK, with it’s avenue of 200 year old lime trees, duck pond and Jacobean Manor. There is a tea room in the village, or snack bar and picnic tables on the cycle track.
If you are ready for a more ambitious cycle, leave the trail at Tissington where you can travel along minor roads to Carsington Water, a stunning reservoir which could loop another 8 miles to your cycle route. Or simply have a play and cafe stop at the visitor’s centre.
Marks the other end of the track, and could add another 17.5 miles as it connects to the High Peak cycle trail which takes you out to Cromford.
Route 54, along minor roads, links the Tissington trail to the Manifold track, another old railway converted into a cycle track, which has a 100m long tunnel and Thor’s cave – guaranteed to add extra excitement to your cycle. Plus we love paddling in the stream at Wetton Mill cafe (pictured above).
If you check out the Halford’s camping guide and fancy Northumberland, read our review of Herding Hill Campsite, which is so close to Hadrian’s Wall and many of the visitor’s centres, as well being just a mile from Hadrian’s cycleway too. We loved the camping pods, the takeaway pizza delivery and the range of glamping options – this really is easy camping, the owners have thought of so many ways to make camping stress free. Plus the kids loved the animals in the petting farm too.
Have you combined cycling and camping? Any tips or recommendations? Do share in the comments.
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Post in collaboration with Halfords, all opinions my own.