Cycling … Fineshade Wood

Fineshade Wood is an ancient woodland of mixed broad leaf trees and conifers with way-marked cycle routes of varying length and difficulty.  The wood is gradually being restored to a native broad leaf woodland under the ‘Ancient Woodland Project‘ and includes a dappled glades through which deer run, in which woodpeckers tap out a steady rhythm and dragon flies zoom past your head. In the past the wood was coppiced for many centuries, and the remnant coppice banks can still be seen. The coppice was used in the past for charcoal making, and there is also evidence of medieval and Roman iron smelting.

A visitor centre at Top Lodge, from which maps of the cycle trails etc. can be obtained, is open from 10am to 5pm daily.  A 5 mile family cycle trail on surfaced paths winds through the wood and provides for relatively easy cycling whilst a longer ‘red route’ would challenge even the toughest of off road mountain bikers.

As well as being home to many many different animals, including squirrels, and plants, such as orchids which grow alongside the paths, the wood is teaming with over 90 different species of bird, including soaring red kites, and the RSPB has a centre here with a cafe and shop.

Cycling is permitted throughout Fineshade Wood.  Fineshade Wood is 17 miles from both Little Bytham and Castle Bytham by  minor roads.  The route can be shortened by 1 mile if you are happy to cycle the final 3 miles along the busy A43 from Duddington. There is a pay-and-display car park on site if you prefer to not cycle there as well as cafe, toilets, children’s play area and you can also hire cycles from Outdoor Adventure.

After visiting Fineshade Wood you could call at Wakerley Wood on the way back before stopping at any one of a number of villages for suitable refreshment, view the Harringworth Viaduct along the Welland valley or, if you have the energy, divert further to the South Shore of Rutland Water.

The Route to Fineshade Wood

View Little Bytham to Fineshade Wood in a larger map


Added : 22/04/11 : MG

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