East of Ringwood and just off the A31, Moors Valley Country Park is simply a great place to go with kids and family.
There is so much to do and enjoy that you could make many trips and still find exciting things to do each and every time.
It’s 3 months since my 5 year old boy Harrison learnt to ride his bike without stabilisers. For most of the last few months we’ve spent our time riding along the prom at the beach or round the cricket pitch in Poole Park. Whilst these are two beautiful places, we fancied something a little more challenging so we headed to Moors Valley Country Park to ride their trail named ‘Through the Forest’.
It’s graded as a blue run and is 7km long. We knew that it could go horribly wrong and that the boy could have had the most colossal tantrum half way round, but we like to give things a go, and having a potty training two year old on a bike seat was bound to make things a little more interesting.
Starting right by the car park, the trail heads out into the forest winds it ways through beautiful pine filled woodland. The gravel trail is around a metre wide, reasonably level, with only a few little undulations worth mentioning. It’s perfect for a relaxing cycle.
It was clear that after about 30 minutes of cycling, we were not going to make it round the whole way so we stopped for a snack and a pep talk.
We made the decision to shorten the route, which is easy to do if you carry a map, but even if you don’t have one, there are plenty of signposts at regular intervals dotted around the woods to help get you back.
Even with the shortened route, it was a great outing and the kids can’t wait to go back.
The Forestry Commission have published a cycling map for the park which is really great. We followed ‘Through the Forest' which is the blue one.
Where to stop?
There are no official stops on the route, but we took a packed lunch and found a lovely spot to refuel.
When you get back to the car park, there’s a large cafe which serves excellent cake.
What will it cost me?
If you’ve got your own bikes then the only costs you’ll be paying will be for parking. The prices vary depending on how long you’ll stay but at the weekend it’s likely to cost you around £5-10. Full details are available on their website here.
If you don’t have your bikes with you, but still fancy a cycle through the woods, you can hire bikes and trailers from as little as £5 and you can find more details on their website here.
What to Pack
You certainly don’t need to pack too much, but if you do head out onto the ‘Through The Forest’ trail, I’d recommend a light rucksack with water and some light snacks. There are no water stops or places to pick up a snack when out in the woods, so if you’ve forgotten to bring anything, make sure you pop into the café before heading out.
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