Riding with kids can be child's play if you choose the right trail

Yes, we know, all kids are different. But once they’re strong enough to tackle a few natural trails, we reckon it’s worth getting them out into the hills.

>>> Best kids mountain bikes and how to get your kids riding

Here are five short, sharp loops to get you started.

Corfe, Isle of Purbeck

12km/13 miles
Ride time: 2hrs
Why ride it? Great views and fun trails
Where to eat: Courtyard Cafe

This is the longest loop of the selection but it manages to stay off road pretty much the whole way, and only has one big climb, so should be pretty manageable if you allow plenty of time. Start at Corfe (Landranger 195/SY963821) head E through the gate and fork R to follow the Underhill Path E to the road. Here, turn back on yourself and climb onto Nine Barrow Down. Now follow the ridgetop west W, dropping L just ahead of the mast, to finish.

Challacombe Down, Dartmoor

8km/5 Miles
Ride time? 1-2 hours
Why ride it? Some great trails
Where to eat? The Warren House Inn near the car park.

A short but quite tough that starts high on Dartmoor. From Bennett’s Cross (Landranger 191/SX680817), head S down the valley and then up into the forest to Soussons Farm. Here, head N then loop SE around the down, eventually running parallel to the lane. By a farm, turn L onto singletrack and climb steeply over the down then descend back into the valley. Now head N again to retrace your tracks back to Bennett’s Cross.

Loughrigg Terrace, Lake District

10km/6 Miles
Ride time? 2 hours
Why ride it? Stunning Lakeland scenery and fun trails
Where to eat? Badger Bar, Rydal

Loughrigg Terrace is one of the Lake Districts most popular viewpoints. It’s also a great, relatively kid-friendly trail but best tackled at moderate speeds with caution, and not at busy times. From Rydal Water (Landranger 97/NY364059), ride back to the road and turn R for 2km. Then take a steep drive W. Climb steeply to the top and descend to a x-roads. Now take the well-surfaced track NW around Loughrigg Tarn and turn R onto the road. Then R onto the Loughrigg Terrace bridleway and follow this down past Rydal Water to finish.

Loch an Eileen, Cairngorms

10km/6 Miles
Ride time? 1-2 hours
Why ride it? Some great trails and some wonderful scenery
Where to eat? The Rothiemurcus Centre and Inverdruie

A lovely, easy ride amongst ancient Caledonian pine forests – easy to shorten or extend. From Inverdruie (Landranger 36/SH901109), head S to pass Loch Mor and continue to Loch an Eileen. Keep the water to your L then bear R onto a singletrack to loop clockwise around the best shores of Loch Gamhna. Break SW to climb through a hole in a wall and continue to a junction. Turn L and L again and continue NE back to Loch Gamhna. Keep the water to your L to pass Loch an Eileen again and loop L to finish.

Beddgelert Forest, Snowdonia

11km/6 Miles
Ride time: 2 hrs
Why ride it? Traffic free trails in amazing scenery
Where to eat? Ty Mawr in Rhyd-Ddu or the Cwellyn Arms.

A fun, easy ride in the shadow of Snowdon. From the Rhyd-ddu Car Park (Landranger 115/
SH570525) cross the road and follow the well-signed cycle path SW then SE into the forest. At a t-junction a forest track leads R then a narrower tracks drops SE. Follow more forest tracks SW, NW then S to Llyn Llewelyn – great picnic spot – then take forest road E, a rocky track SE then another forest road NE then E to Cefn Maes. Now follow the main drive N almost to the road and follow the signs to Rhyd-ddu to retrace your earlier tracks back.