With my middle child, Sam, having recently learnt to ride a bike, we wanted to go somewhere to cycle and build his confidence. Delamere Forest is absolutely perfect for this. Set in 2,300 acres, it is the largest area of
woodland in Cheshire, and is simply stunning.
Lots of dry sandstone paths make it easy for both pushchairs and bikes. There are lots of different routes to try, a variety of lengths and all very clearly marked. Being new to the family biking lark, I don’t have a bike rack, so I squeezed the older boys’ bikes into the back of the car and hired one with a baby seat for me and Ted. Tracs, the hire place, is next door to the café. They were extremely helpful in kitting us out with bikes and helmets and recommending a novice-friendly route. You can buy a map for £2 but it isn’t essential. Adult bike hire is £20 for a half day, plus £6 for the child’s seat, a kid’s mountain bike was £15.
The forest is beautiful, and every five minutes or so we’d be stopping to admire or investigate somebody’s den we’d found. After an hour or so of gentle cycling we headed to The Delamere Café for a well-deserved lunch. There’s a kids’ corner with books and toys, plus a huge fish tank. You’ll also find a microwave for warming bottles or baby food. There is plenty on the menu including pittas, hot baguettes and toasties. For children they’ll serve smaller portions of the main meals, which included my boys’ particular favourite, sausage and beans. If you want something a bit more special, perhaps for Sunday lunch, the nearby Travellers Rest can definitely be recommended (see page 106).
Throughout the year the Forestry Commission run lots of events for kids, ranging from barmy boot camp to fairytale fitness trail. Check website for details, booking is essential.
Whether you’re on two wheels or two legs, Delamere Forest has something for all ages and abilities, and is a fabulous place to spend the day. It was perfect for building up Sam’s confidence, and he was extremely pleased that he’d managed to cycle the seven mile White Moor Trail.
Delamere Café: Summer Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat & Sun 9am-5.30pm; In Winter the café closes half an hour earlier.
Tel: 01606 882726 delamerecafe.com
Tracs Bike Hire: Daily 10am-6pm Tel: 07949 088477
Delamere Forest Park Visitor Centre, Forestry Commission, Linmere, Delamere, Northwich, Cheshire CW8 2JD
Tel: 01606 889792 forestry.gov.uk