Just like in many places across the UK, cycling in Suffolk became even more popular after the 2012 Olympics. Luckily the whole county is criss-crossed with wonderful cycling trails, routes and off-road tracks through woodlands and reserves, so it’s easy to get out and about on two wheels.
We’ve listed a few popular cycling routes that we know of, along with a couple of places locally where you can hire bicycles for a few hours and explore.
Cycle through the heart of Suffolk
The Heart of Suffolk cycle route takes in mostly countryside roads and lanes and at 125km long it provides the option to enjoy short sections for an afternoon or a day out with cycling companions, or for a three day tour! You can start your bike tour from anywhere on the route and you’ll be pleased to know it takes you through some of our most special towns and villages, peppered with pretty churches and rural pubs.
The home of ‘Go Ape’, Thetford Forest Park is also a fantastic place to visit for a day of exploration and cycling thanks to its four purpose-built cycle tracks. There is a great map available on Discover Suffolk which details each route, with Green and Blue ‘easy’ routes taking you across the forest roads and tracks, as well as a Red route that is slightly more challenging. The Black Route is labelled as Difficult and is a highly technical route through narrow and often steep trails.
You can hire bikes from a number of places in and around Thetford, including the High Lodge Forest Centre, or bring your own. If you want to tackle the harder trails on a hired bike however, you will have to pre-book a premium bicycle in advance.
Henley – Ipswich Loop
If you have brought your own bikes with you, the Henley to Ipswich Loop is a lovely cycle ride taking you from the farm right into the heart of Ipswich via beautiful countryside roads. Around three miles downhill towards Ipswich you will ride past Fynn Valley Golf Club and the Railway Pub at Westerfield where you can either stop off for a game or golf, or rest before tackling the second half of the loop up towards Claydon.
Some keen cyclists have very handily provided a little map of this route for you on Cycle-Route.com which also include a raft of ‘unofficial’ routes tried and tested by locals and visitors.
Cycling at Alton Water is a great option as there is a choice trails to suit every type of cyclist from beginner to competitive. The Eastern shore of Alton Water – a reservoir situated in 400 acres of beautiful countryside – offers a challenging eight mile route, combining surfaced tracks with un-surfaced ones. If you’re looking for a gentle ride however, you can stick to the four mile trail from the Alton Cycle Hire office where you can rent a bicycle for the day.
Once you’ve finished you ride, head back to the cafe and visitor centre to refresh yourself! Other activities at Alton water include fishing, rowing and walking – with walkers sharing the tracks with cyclists.
There are loads more cycling routes across Suffolk as well as those country lanes right outside our doorstep, so get out there and explore!