family cycle routes in Lancashire for you to explore

Family cycle routes in Lancashire are plentiful, and there is no doubt that this is a beautiful and varied county. From the flat coastal plains of the Fylde through to the rolling Bowland Fell, Lancashire offers wonderful cycling opportunities for all the family.

Here we have a selection of some of the best family cycle routes in Lancashire – just click on the route name to get full details.

Family cycle routes in Lancashire

Accrington – Woodnook Greenway family cycle route

2.5 miles along a traffic free old railway line as part of the Hyndburn Greenway (the above link downloads a PDF of the route)

Blackburn – Witton Country Park family cycle ride

Witton Park nestling under Billinge Hill, on the west side of Blackburn offers 480 acres of beautiful mixed woodland and farmland.

You can ride through the park on National Cycle Route 6 to the village of Pleasington. There is a visitor centre in the park with an exhibition area. The Old Stables tearoom provides light refreshments. With a playground and pets corner, Witton Park is a good place to go for a cycle ride with children.  A programme of led rides with bike hire is run from the Visitor Centre.

Blackpool to Fleetwood along the National Cycle Route

National Cycle Route 62 covers over 12 miles along the promenade at Blackpool, making it the UK’s longest seafront cycle route.  For a great day out cycle along the promenade visiting sea front attractions on route.  It is a great route for all the family, and passes by all the sea front attractions.  Parts can get busy in high season.

Burnley Heritage Cycle Trails

Three great family friendly Sustrans routes through Burnley and the surrounding area.  Find out all about Burnley’s rich and varied history from the role of local families in the civil war, through to the cutting edge of weaving technology in the  Industrial Revolution. This route links together local attractions using a combination of traffic free route, converted former railway lines, canal towpaths and woodland trails, and short sections of quiet or traffic calmed roads.

Because some of the sections of route are quite long they have been split into separate routes coming together at The Weavers’ Triangle Visitor Centre but can be combined.

Dunsop Bridge – Dunsop Valley family cycle ride

As family cycle routes in Lancashire go, this is a great one. Starting in the village of Dunsop Village in the Ribble Valley, it takes you out into the heart of the Forest of Bowland. Travel alongside the upper stretch of the river Dunsop with the fells on all sides of you.  Flat tarmac bridleway – 8km

Foulridge to Victoria Park family bike ride

This route follows the canal towpath from Foulridge and is part of the Pennine Cycleway.  10km, mainly towpath, but short on-road stretch.

Foulridge to East Marton canal bike ride suitable for children

Another route from Foulridge, this route follows the canal north towards the Yorkshire Dales. Lots to see en-route, it’s flat and traffic free for the entire 6km

Gisburn Forest cycling for older kids

Gisburn Forest is the largest in Lancashire, climbing above the Ribble Valley with fantastic views of the Forest of Bowland. This family cycle ride takes in plenty of wildlife and fauna. Mountain Bikes are recommended for this 9km route along forest tracks.

Lancaster, Morecambe and the Lune Valley family cycling

The link above will take you to a great booklet with 6 family friendly, mainly traffic free routes in Lancaster, Carnforth, Morecambe and the surrounding areas.

Lancaster, Morecambe and Hest Bank cycle route

This 18k triangular ride offers plenty of variety, ranging from the historic heart of Lancaster, the car-free bustle of the Greenway, the wide open space of Morecambe’s breezy Prom to the peaceful canal towpath.

This route is almost all on traffic-free cycle-tracks, apart from one stretch of about 250m on an on-road cycle-lane; this can be avoided by walking the short distance. It’s also almost entirely flat, with just one gentle climb approaching Hest Bank.

Lytham Promenade 

Family cycle routes in Lancashire - Lytham PromenadeLytham Promenade is a great place to cycle with children. For a sedate ride, pedal past Lytham Green with its windmill and lifeboat station to Fairhaven Lake and Granny’s Bay. The RSPB have a visitor centre at Fairhaven Lake. There is a children’s playground and a lakeside café where you can stop for a drink and a bite.

There are views across the Ribble Estuary from promenade. The Ribble Estuary is one of the country’s top bird watching sites with over 250,000 birds wintering here to escape the cold of the Arctic, where they spend the summers.

Nelson and Burnley bike ride

There is a 20km route there and back along the Pennine Cycleway from Victoria Park to Townley Park via Nelson and Burnley that is ideal for those on single bikes. It isn’t recommended for trailers, taglongs, trailgators or tandems, due to barriers along the route.

Padiham to Burnley family bike rides

The Padiham to Burnley cycle route via Ightenhill passes along the scenic Calder Valley, but does involve quite a lot of quiet roads, so is more suited for families with older children, who are confident cycling on road, or those still in seats, trailers, tagalongs etc.

Pendle and Colne  kid friendly cycle route

Family cycle routes in Lancashire - Pendal family cyclingFollow the Pennine Cycleway along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, following signs from Colne Train Station to Foulridge Whalf.

As this is mainly along a towpath it’s relatively flat and the surface is good whatever the weather so it’s a good route for all abilities to tackle. There is also plenty to see along the way

 Reader recommendations for family cycle rides near Preston:

Cycle Sprog followers on Facebook have recommended the following cycle routes close to Preston for a family with a 4 year old and a 6 year old :

Zaynan Lythgoe recommends the GuildWheel (click here for the Facebook Page) and here for the Guildwheel Maps

Steven Carson agrees that Guild Wheel is pretty good  but warns that at 22 miles it “may be too far for the little ones, plus it is hilly in places and is not totally car free as there are a number of shared stretches, albeit that they are pretty quiet. It can be done in stages though – the bit down by the River Ribble from Brockholes to Avenham would be a good place to start with cafes/tilets at either end”. 

Steven also advises that “a bit further afield there are off road paths at Cuerden Valley, nr Leyland/Chorley though again there is the odd hill but you can just do the flat bit… can be busy with dog walkers as well.”

So there you have it. A Cycle Sprog selection of family cycle rides in Lancashire, ready and waiting for you to saddle up, fun.

If you’ve got a favourite family cycle route in Lancashire that we’ve missed, and you’d like us to include, please do let us know.

Where to Stay in Lancashire

Both Hoseasons and Cottages On-line have a selection of family friendly properties available for weekend and longer breaks in Lancashire.

Ribby Hall Village, situated at Wrea Green, between Preston and Blackpool, has a wealth of on-site amenities for those staying in their lodges, including cycle hire.

Lancashire family cycling Books and Maps

There isn’t much in the way of specific family orientated cycling books for this area, but we have come across this family walking guide for the Bowland Forest, if you fancy leaving the bikes at home, plus a cycling map for the Forest of Bowland if you’re planning your own routes in this area.

Thanks to the Visit Lancashire website for much of the information

This article was originally published in February 2013, and later updated in April 2015

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