With our newest instalment in the Locations to Ride series, this month we’re focusing on the cycle trails in the east of England, offering various levels of difficulty whether you’re after something gentle or a long-distance challenge. If you’re a history-lover, you’ll especially like the selection of sights we have for you this October.
The Witchfinder's Way
Perfect for halloween, the Witchfinder’s Way starts from the historic town of Harwich, moving through the rolling countryside to Mistley, the old haunt of Matthew Hopkins also known as ‘The Witchfinder General’. Across twenty-seven miles, this trail is gentle with a couple of moderate climbs, nothing too taxing. With beautiful views and riversides hamlets, Witchfinder’s Way is ideal for history lovers and those interested in a supernatural flair to their day out, offering plenty of intriguing stops and sights along the way.
The View Finder Trail
Starting from Colchester, Britain’s oldest recorded town, the View Finder Trail follows the River Coine to Wivenhoe, allowing you to really soak in the surrounding viewpoints and vistas. For the art connoisseurs it’s of interest to note that the trail is the initiative of artist Michael Goodey, who at ten locations has placed a sign depicting the view (they might look like typical road signs but peer closer and you’ll find they’re meticulously handmade paintings!)
The trail itself is a moderate day cycle ride, preferable in clear weather so you can really appreciate the Colchester skyline.
Viking Coastal Trail
Enjoyable for experienced cyclists and novices alike, the 32 mile route on the Isle of Thanet has an inland loop that utilises quiet lanes, winding around ancient churches such as St. Nicholas at Wade and Minster Abbey, one of England’s oldest inhabited buildings. In Ramsgate, there’s also the Stonelees Golf Centre situated on the supposed landing site of the Anglos-Saxons, home to a 8ft Saxon sword and a bike shelter for cyclists if you wish to make a stop.
This route is very modifiable, with plenty of slopes, steps, cliff tops and beaches to include or remove entirely. If you’re not up for the entire 32 miles, there is an optional 9 mile stretch that follows the sea wall from Margate to Birchington.
A hefty long-distance undertaking at a stretch of 93 miles from Knettishall to Cromer, Peddar’s Way follows the Roman Road constructed along the line of an ancient trackway. The majority of the trail runs through the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and it goes without saying that the varied surrounding scenery is stunning. From greenery to low cliffs and sandy beaches, Peddar’s Way is ideal for combining cycling and camping. It allows you to really make a mini-adventure out of the Norfolk Coast with a number of fantastic spots for food and a bed-and-breakfast if you’re in need!