Matt

Writer of words, rider of bikes. Also fond of a good walk.

A waterfall called Sgwd-yr-Eira, The Falling of the Snow, makes a white curtain as it plunges into a pool below

We tread carefully along the rock-cut path, our faces misted with spray and our voices raised against the white noise of the plunging water. This is what we’ve come to see, this is Sgwd-yr-Eira – the Falling of the Snow.

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A child cycles along a rough track in high country, grassy slopes on either side.

Not every family rough-stuff expedition we attempt goes smoothly but an October ride in the Elan Valley proved to be a hit, despite the conditions.

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When a drive back from Cornwall took us past the start of the Granite Way in Okehampton, it was the perfect chance for a ride that offers a unique perspective on Dartmoor.

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A young boy in a blue t-shirt sits on a sandy beach, his yellow bike propped up in the sand behind him.

Our largely car-free week in Cornwall showed what’s possible when people have access to good cycling infrastructure.

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Three bikes lean against a wooden gate and fence in a forest.

Following a year in which the pandemic had kept us close to home, the prospect of a few days pedalling along tracks by the River Wye felt like a distant adventure.

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A young boy in a blue t-shirt cycles away from the camera on a forest track.

It had been six months since we’d been to Mortimer Forest and it felt good to be back. For family rides, forest tracks offer us the sort of traffic-free exploration that’s hard to come by where we live. Whenever we roll out of a car park and into the trees, we feel free.

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A child in a blue t-shirt rides a bike away down a farm track.

When the fruit farm’s website announced the ripening of the strawberries, we knew exactly where our family ride that Sunday would take us.

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It was an adventure I’d dreamed about since a childhood bedtime story – an adventure that spanned 14 years, starting in Minehead when I was a teenager and finishing in Poole as I was about to become a parent.

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Two distant figures walk up a snow covered hill through sparse woodland.

Another snowfall. Peering through the window into the early-morning gloom we could see a deep covering in the street outside. The hill beyond was obscured by cloud but we knew straight away that we wanted to go up there.

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Around 92% of land in England is off-limits to the general public and where rights of way do exist, cyclists can only ride around 20% of them. We deserve better access to our own country.

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