As a family, we are always on the lookout for new safe cycle paths to explore. With a 5-year-old and a 1-year-old cycling is the perfect activity for the whole family. It’s free, safe and great exercise.
Living in Sandal, Wakefield we try and explore as many places as local to our home as possible. As a former mining area, we are lucky that a number of the former Collieries have been turned into Nature reserves and cycle paths making them perfect for a family afternoon visit.
In the October half-term holidays, we took a trip to Rabbit Ings Country Park in Royston which is 5 miles from our home. With our bikes safely secured on our bike rack, we ventured along to check out the cycle paths.
What is the route like?
Upon arriving you are greeted with a large car park for visitors. This is completely free of charge. The park is directly accessible from the car park. There are a number of routes you can take with varying difficulty levels. Our plans were to do the beginner route but upon reflection, I believe we tackled a slightly harder route as we made it to the top of the path to take in the stunning views.
What level rider is it suitable for?
The route is suitable for riders of all ages and ability levels. Our 5 year old found it tiring in places however she was able to complete the route and back to the car park without any real troubles (Just plenty of drinks breaks). As mentioned above I believe we took a more difficult route and made it to the top to take in the stunning views. It was a relatively chilly autumn day when we went however I imagine it’s a beautiful place to be on a warm, summers day.
How much of it is traffic-free?
From the car park, 100% of the cycle routes are completely traffic-free which is fantastic when cycling with kids. There are varying difficulty levels too so I imagine we will return as our daughter becomes a stronger rider.
Would you recommend?
Absolutely! If you have young children or are new to cycling then this is a perfect place to visit. Woodland and wetland surround the hill and there is an abundance of wildlife to see. My daughter loved stopping and trying to locate birds with her binoculars.
The cycle paths are also completely traffic-free which as a parent is reassuring as it enables you to enjoy your own ride instead of worrying about the safety of your children.
Because it’s five miles from our home we used our bike rack although as the kids get older I’m confident we could cycle the entire route and home.
The only downside for me is the lack of cafe and in turn lack of atmosphere. It was a Tuesday afternoon in the October half term and there were barely any people around. I believe some sort of cafe would attract more visitors. Furthermore, they could implement activities for the children as they cycle/walk around to keep them engaged (For example the gnome roam at Newmillerdam.).
At the moment it seems more of a destination for dog walkers vs families. I am sure in the Summer it’s busier with families but it felt noticeably eerie which we found surprising for a school holiday. This is not to deter you from going however as it’s really a lovely, peaceful place to visit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a cafe?
As mentioned above there is currently no cafe at Rabbit Ings Country Park. We took our own snacks and coffee however a cafe would create a real hub and draw to the country park. Most other options locally (Anglers, Pugneys, Sandal Castle) have cafes and seem to be incredibly popular.
Is it suitable for Dog walkers?
During our visit Rabbit Ings Country park it was predominantly dog walkers so I would say it’s a perfect spot for Dog walking. The routes are clearly defined and not too long so they are perfect for a daily dog walk.
Is there plenty of nature to see?
On our visit, we saw plenty of species of birds, flora and fauna. The official Land Trust website also suggests there are even snakes found in the habitat created. If your kids are interested in wildlife then it’s a place to visit.
How much is it to park?
One of the strong points of Rabbit Ings Country park is that it’s completely free to park your car. There are no time limits, no restrictions, you can park as you please. It’s a real plus point and makes it an inexpensive trip for an afternoon.