As any parents of toddlers will know, the days of settling into the sofa for a film and cuppa on a lazy afternoon are long gone. It was post (toddler) lunchtime nap on Saturday and we’d left things too late to do anything epic. But – nevertheless – the afternoon needed to be filled with AN ACTIVITY.
The National Trust built the cycle trails and opened the Hub last year. There are three mountain bike trails (easy, moderate and difficult) plus a skills area. There’s a cycle hire facility whose knowledgeable staff can loan bikes for all ages and abilities, including baby seats and trailers, balance bikes, tagalongs, disability bikes, electric bikes and adult trikes. Helmets are free when hiring a bike.
If you are bringing your own, you’ll want to use a hybrid or mountain bike. We’ve taken our road bikes (carefully!) around the easy trail but the other trails are too challenging to use these on.
As well as off-road trails, the Hub has an adventure play park which is perfect for young children. Also, there’s a cafe (which overlooks the play park) which does great coffee and cake as well as light lunches, ice cream and healthier snacks.
Our seven year old’s bike was slightly damaged in transit so Tim and Bathsheba went to the hire shop to get it fixed. Saskia (who is two and a bit) and I headed off to the Lodge trail. This is the easy trail, approximately 1.5 miles long. The beginning is plenty steep enough (when you are carrying 4 kg in the child seat!) but the majority of the track undulates peacefully through pine forests. Judging from the noises emanating from the back seat, Saskia enjoyed the movement and the scenery. Suddenly the afternoon felt a lot more fun.
She didn’t want to do the trail again but chose to go to explore the play park. It’s a good size with imaginative play options. There’s a clean, well set out toilet block here too, including a baby changing room.
Meanwhile Bathsheba and Tim opted for the Lodge trail and some practice in the skills area. This is the perfect place to practice and progress your skills. There are many of the features found on the cycle trails, including rollers, rocks and jumps. The skills area also includes a balance bike track, designed to control speed and improve the confidence of young cyclists.
On other occasions Tim and our teenage sons have enjoyed the challenges of the moderate and intermediate trails – there’s plenty to get your teeth into there.
When Tim and Bathsheba got back to the Hub, we sat in the sunshine with ice creams and watched the children play. It’s a fantastic place to potter to, with opportunities (and ice cream) for children of all ages to enjoy.
Lanhydrock Cycle Hub is open all year round. Booking cycle hire in advance is essential during school holidays. Call 01208 265975 for more details or to book.
by Ashlyn, Mrs Farmer Tim