Family Friendly Cycling Feasibility Study

trail cycling

Family Friendly Cycling Feasibility Study - Public Consultation

We are exploring opportunities to provide more family friendly cycling routes in Exmoor National Park. We want to create more places where people and families can enjoy safe and largely traffic-free bike rides. And we want these to be suitable for those who prefer gentle exercise or are less mobile.

We have recently completed a feasibility study identifying where we may be able to provide more accessible multi-use paths for everyone. This has identified two potential family-friendly routes on Exmoor – one near the coast between Bossington and Porlock/Porlock Weir and another around Wimbleball Lake.

To help decide if these options are right for Exmoor and ask for other ideas, we are holding a consultation to gather views from local communities, schools, visitors, special interest groups, and anyone who might want to make use of such trails. To share your views, please watch the films below showcasing the new routes and take a look at the feasibility report, before completing the survey (closing date Friday 25th March 2022).

We are also running some public public-drop in events where staff will be on hand to answer questions and provide  information about these proposals.

How to share your views

  1. Watch the film
  2. Read the Feasibility Study
  3. Complete the online survey before Friday 25th March 2022.
  4. And/or attend a public drop in event:

- Dulverton Town Hall on Thursday 3rd March, between 2pm and 7pm

- Porlock Village Hall on xxxday xxxth March - between 2pm and 7pm

Why do we need more family-friendly routes on Exmoor?

While Exmoor is renowned for its tough mountain biking and challenging road cycling, we know there are limited opportunities for more accessible family-friendly cycling. Multi-purpose routes (cycling, horse riding, walking, all ability) have proven to be very popular with people of all ages and in particular families, as seen with the recent opening of the first stretch of the Steam Coast Trail in West Somerset.

National figures however show a steady decrease in young people spending time in nature, with visitor surveys on Exmoor reflecting the gap in this demographic. Well-designed accessible cycle trails in the right place would create more opportunities for people of all abilities to enjoy Exmoor at their own pace.

The Government’s 2019 independent review of national landscapes called on National Parks to ‘work together to be healthier, happier, greener, more beautiful and open to everyone’. It points to statistics showing how certain groups are especially disconnected from these places: ‘Most visits are made by the same (better off, less diverse) people repeatedly, and those who miss out are the older, the young – especially adolescents – and those from lower socio-economic groups and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.’

Research shows how encouraging outdoor experiences from a young age can have multiple benefits - promoting health and wellbeing, as well as a collective sense of responsibility towards the environment. Creating fresh opportunities for quiet enjoyment of the outdoors among all citizens is therefore highly consistent with National Park statutory purposes to conserve Exmoor’s special qualities and promote opportunities to understand and enjoy them.

Other potential benefits on Exmoor include:

  • Promoting healthy lifestyles through active travel and recreation.
  • Supporting the local economy through cycle tourism.
  • Supporting safe, accessible low-carbon travel.
  • Better connectivity between communities and access to the countryside.

If you have any questions about this piece of work or would like to see the information in a more accessible format please contact us using the details below:

This study is being managed by Dan Barnett, Access and Recreation Manager at Exmoor National Park.

Please send emails to

or call 01398 323665

or write to us at Exmoor National Park Authority, Exmoor House, Dulverton, TA22 9HL