Have you tried the bike trails at Swinton Bivouac with the kids yet? Local blogger, This Dale Life, went exploring and shares her experiences here with Mumbler…
As a ‘responsible adult’ it’s not often that I make a conscious decision to aim straight for the muddiest path, knowing full well that I would get absolutely splattered.
That all changed this past weekend when I took my nine year old to Swinton Bivouac Bike Trails. We had been to Swinton before to take in the picturesque views and wander through the Druid Temple. But my son has been wanting to give mountain biking a try but hasn’t felt confident enough to go it alone.
The bike rack on my car is used regularly for the kids but it has been years since I went riding. I would definitely consider myself a novice rider. I loaded up his bike but decided to opt for hiring one of the bikes they have available at the Visitor’s Centre for myself. It was absolutely the right choice. They have a wonderful selection of Diamondback and Raleigh bikes, all very well maintained, for hire. The staff helped me select a bike, printed off a map for us and sent us on our way for a half day adventure.
The staff were warm and welcoming and explained the trail options to us. We could opt for the rush of the Druid woodland or even cycle the 6 miles to Swinton Park. She warned us to stick with the blue trail for the beginners path. The trails were very well marked and were as my son says, “challenging, but really fun.” It was great to have the opportunity to ride through with him so that I could make sure that he was safe and understood how to make his way through the trees and mud. It was a confidence boost for him when, on the second lap around, I let him venture off ahead and encouraged him to go it alone. Secretly, I all of a sudden felt like an 8 year old again waking up to a shiny new BMX bike on Christmas morning, and wanted to give the more advanced red trail a go. It was tremendously fun and there are some wonderful view points to pause at which look over the Dales whilst you catch your breath and question your sanity.
We did more laps together and explored the Druid Temples making a full muddy afternoon of it. After our ride we ventured back to the cafe where we enjoyed a well earned Brymor ice cream and delicious coffee (for me). I had to warm myself up a bit after the mud bath. Next time we go we might opt for the winding lanes through the estate but without a doubt we will be back to Swinton Bivouac.
Some handy tips for your adventures:
* They have mountain bikes and helmets on hire for a tall age 6 to adult. The bikes are geared though so be certain that the younger riders are confident with that.
Adult mountain bikes: £25 day hire and £18 half day hire.
Kids bikes (aged 12 and under): £15 day hire and £12 half day hire.
Family package (2 adults 2 kids): £60 day hire and £50 half day hire
* There is a hose for washing off your muddy bikes (and self) next to the bike store.
* If you are going to make a full day of it you can hire rucksack picnics from the cafe.