Cycling with kids in Chester
Cycling is great fun and great exercise for the whole family, and a wonderful way to appreciate the beautiful countryside with which we’re surrounded in the Chester area.
Family friendly cycle routes in Chester and around
Delamere Forest is an obvious place to head to for a family cycling trip, with plenty of smooth wide tracks and gentle slopes. There are two easy trails marked from the visitor centre: the Hunger Hill Trail (blue markers) is 4 miles long and the Whitemoor Trail (white markers) is 7 miles; we’ve also recently done a circuit of Blakemere Moss, which is a lake so largely flat going – park at the Whitefields car park then cross over the road. You can download a map here or pick one up from the visitor centre. And if you just want to give family cycling a try or don’t want to store bicycles at home, you can hire bikes too – click here for details.
The Whitegate Way is a six mile route based on a disused railway line which runs from Cuddington to Winsford past woodland, lakes and the River Weaver: click here for details.
The Millenium Greenway is another path that runs along a disused railway line and then alongside the river Dee – click here for more information.
Dukes’ Drive is a 52 acre woodland with well-surfaced flat paths – click here for details.
The Dee Marshes Route is a wide flat path which runs between Deeside Industrial Park, Burton and Neston – click here for details.
The Chester Cycling Campaign has a FREE library of Chester cycle route maps here, plus downloadable maps of routes particularly suitable for families – click here to see all of them. The family routes include:
- The Zoo Circular: This is a short, circular 8 mile long route which is graded (A) Quiet Route. meaning it has long stretches of off-road cycleway. Starting at Northgate Arena, it follows the canal towpath out to Chester Zoo, then follows National Cycle Network Route 56 and NCN Route 5 through Newton back to the start point. Plus if you arrive at the Zoo by bike, you can save 15% on your tickets! Click here for the voucher and click here for details of the route.
- The River Dee Round: Graded (A) Quiet Route, the River Dee round is a completely traffic-free 15 mile long loop which follows the NCN Route 5 to the west of the city as far as Hawarden Bridge and then returns via the riverside cycle path along the River Dee. Click here for details.
- The Backford Beat: Another route graded (A) Quiet Route, the Backford Beat explores the countryside to the north of Chester. The route is 17 miles long and follows the canal towpath north to Caughall and takes in Stanney Woods Country Park before using NCN Route 56 and the canal towpath to return to the city. Click here for details.
- The Capenhurst Caper: The Capenhurst Caper is an 18 mile route which also explores the countryside to the north of Chester, making use of NCN 56 and 5, as well as quiet country lanes and canal towpaths. The route is graded (B) Some Traffic, which means it is on quiet lanes where some light traffic is to be expected. Click here for details.
Over near Northwich, there’s a circular 13 mile route which starts and finishes at Marbury Country Park, passing through Anderton Nature Park and the attractive villages of Antrobus and Great Budworth. Click here for more information and a downloadable map and directions.
And finally, website cycle-route.com has hundreds of routes available throughout Cheshire and the rest of the UK, including this easy circular route which starts and ends in Great Boughton and follows the Cheshire Canal and then the Connah’s Quay Cycle Path; click here for the full list of cycle routes.
Chester cycling groups and organised rides
Chester and Cheshire West maintains a list of local cycling groups – you can find it here.
Chester Go-Riders has recently merged with Chester Road Club, an inclusive cycling club for all ages, experience and fitness. Go-Ride is the youth section of the club, which aims to help children and families to get into cycling through weekly coaching sessions which run from April to November.
We cannot recommend the Go-Ride sessions highly enough: we arrived with a five year old cycling using stabilisers and left with a cyclist; a week later and another session later, he is confidently starting and stopping by himself. The sessions take place every Saturday at New Scene Youth Centre, Limewood Close, off Plas Newton Lane, Chester from 11 am to 12 noon for non or inexperienced riders aged 3 up and 12 to 1 pm for riders with experience. The sessions cost £3.00 per child (£5.00 if you have 2 children) or £1.00 for members. The club also organises regular rides for all abilities – click here (and scroll down) for details.
Finally, Sky Ride organises free group bike rides including traffic free rides for all ages and abilities.
Cycle friendly parks
And finally, for those who aren’t quite up to long cycle rides, the following parks are good for little legs to practice (this is a non-exhaustive list – please let us know if we’ve missed your favourite!):
- the Countess of Chester Country Park has wide paths, free parking, and a pub just over the road
- Ashton Hayes play park has a large field with a flat path around the outside which is perfect for learner cyclists, plus an outside gym, playground, and a community cafe open on selected days which sells drinks, cake and ice creams
- Westminster park in Chester has lots of paths, a large play area, an outside gym, a BMX track for anyone feeling confident, and a cafe which sells snacks and has a weekly toddler group.
Happy cycling, and may the exercise and fresh air make your children sleep.