Five of the best scenic bike rides in the West Country

These cycle routes, taking in Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, come from a new book, Lost Lanes West, which reveals some of England’s less-well-known, but no-less-exciting, byways

Dorset
Type of ride Cliffs, coast roads, wild swims and a lost village
Start/finish Wareham
Distance 45 miles
Difficulty Challenging. Hilly; lanes with a short section of off-road cycleway
Route map
The “Isle” of Purbeck is not really an island but a peninsula bordered by the sea to the south and west and the River Frome to the north. It’s a geologist’s paradise, featuring sandy heath, ball clay, chalk downland, oil-bearing shale and hard limestones long prized as building materials. Much of London was rebuilt after the Great Fire with stone from Purbeck quarries. The rich geological layer cake provides a variety of wildlife habitats and the Purbeck hills are home to many species of wild flower.

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