Big skies and landscapes to explore on two wheels

Reporter Kate Scotter getting on her bike trying out the Norwich area Sky Rides. Photo: Steve Adams

Reporter Kate Scotter getting on her bike trying out the Norwich area Sky Rides. Photo: Steve Adams

In the second of our two-part feature on Norwich's Sky Rides Local, KATE SCOTTER discovers the parks, countryside, wildlife and city centre gems you could explore by bicycle.

The Eaton Elephant Ride

Click here to view the routeDistance: 10 miles

Start: Eaton Park pavilion

Dates: August 3 at 2pm, August 31 at 10am, October 5 at 10am

Setting off from Eaton Park, riders will go past Eaton's historic Red Lion pub, its elephant village sign and the thatched roofed St Andrew's Church. They will also discover the leafy Marston Lane which skirts Eaton Golf Course and Marston Lane and links Eaton to Ipswich Road. After climbing the short hill at the end of the cycle-way, they will then weave their way onto the quiet, traffic-free Lakenham Way before heading back towards the Eaton Park.

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Catton Park Trundle

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Distance: 3 miles

Start: Haymon Lodge

Dates: September 7 at 2pm, October 5 at 2pm

Home to another Norwich parkrun, this route gives people the chance to discover the wide open space of Catton Park. It has a mixture of track and woodland trails and it is a flat course which gives riders the chance to appreciate the surrounding scenery.

Wheeling along from Whitlingham to Bramerton

Click here to view the routeDistance: 7 miles

Start: Whitlingham visitor centre

Dates: August 31 at 2pm, October 12 at 2pm

Cycling along from Whitlingham, riders will be able to enjoy spotting rowers on the river, fisherman trying to make a good catch at the water's edge and people walking their dogs. They will go past the sewer works but it won't be long until they are back onto more picturesque ground as they turn towards Bramerton. Down by the river outside the Water's Edge, they will be able to see the boats and can buy an ice cream at the Mariners Store before tackling Mill Hill. The effort will be rewarded as a long down hill will take them back to the off-road track. Heading back past the sewer works, they will be able to spot the Archant print works in the distance before returning to Whitlingham where they can stop for a well earned cake or ice cream at the visitor centre cafe.

Whitlingham to Loddon Loop

Distance: 26 miles

Start: Whitlingham visitor centre

Dates: November 2 at 10am, November 16 at 10am

This is a lovely route to get away from busy roads yet stretch your legs on a long ride. It starts uphill as you climb out of Trowse but then gently rolls towards Kirby Bedon. A left turn will give riders the chance to go along the country lanes around to Surlingham and a gentle drag to Chedgrave will be rewarded with views of the River Chet as you go into Loddon. A stop at Rosy Lee's tea rooms is highly recommended, with its range of cakes and baguettes and steaming pots of tea, it is a favourite among cyclists. The route brings you back on quiet country lanes, through Ashby St Mary, before re-joining the main road through Kirby Bedon and taking riders back close to Whitlingham and back down into Trowse and Whitlingham where more tea and cake can be enjoyed.

Birds, Bees and Blooms Challenging Ride

Click here to view the routeDistance: 28 miles

Start: Sale Road, off Salhouse Road

Dates: August 10 at 2pm, September 14 at 10am

Once you get out off the main Salhouse Road, this route takes you along pretty country lanes as you wind your way through the Plumsteads and Blofield to Strumpshaw Fen. You tackle the second half of the lung-busting Hasingham hill before rolling roads take you into Acle. Going past Scooter's Cafe, you then head back toward Norwich via South Walsham where you can stop for tea and cake at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden and enjoy rolling past golden fields and the big Norfolk blue sky.

Bicycle Links to the Parks

Click here to view the routeDistance: 10 miles

Start: The Forum

Dates: August 17 at 10am, September 14 at 2pm

While most people in Norwich know the city's parks, few would think of linking them on one day. This route enables two-wheeled access to Waterloo, Catton, Sloughbottom and Wensum parks by mixing cycle paths and roads on the Norwich Cycle Network. The ride takes in quiet paths by the Wensum, passes Norwich Cathedral, Cow Tower, St Andrew's Hall and England's last remaining swan pit and finishes with a visit to Bicycle Links, a social enterprise encouraging more cycling and reconditioning unused bikes. On a cautionary note, take care crossing the busy Mile Cross Lane to Catton Park, and Aylsham Road and Drayton Road on the way to Sloughbottom Park.

For more details of the routes and rides, go to

Are you heading out on one of the Sky Ride Local rides? Send photos from your day to

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