Pennington to Hurst Castle Loop.
Just under 9.6 miles of easy going bike trail, quiet roads and shingle/pebble beach. A great all year ride, suitable for families however the final spit section maybe a challenge for smaller legs and wheels. The route starts and stops in the pretty little town of Pennington.
Starting from our holiday cottage we quickly moved onto very quiet local roads which led us easily onto a designated cycle tracks. The tracks ended at Keyhaven and you follow the road to the shingle spit on quiet roads.
Where the road meets the spit is a fabulous spot to stop and watch the bird life and other estuary wild life. Part of the New Forest National Park but very different from the woodland area we had explored the previous day.
From this point you access the castle via the shingle spit. Hurst Castle is an English Heritage site and is situated at the seaward end of the shingle spit that extends 1.5 miles from Milford-On-Sea. We found riding on the top challenging for little wheels with large shingle shifting under our wheels however down at the base it was perfectly achievable.
The end of the spit is only three-quarters of a mile from the Isle of Wight and the views from the top of the Tudor castle are spectacular.
The castle was built by Henry VIII as one of a chain of coastal fortresses and was completed in 1544. Charles I was imprisoned here in 1648 before being taken to London to his trial and execution.
Hurst Castle is managed on behalf of English Heritage
HURST CASTLE OPENING TIMES:
29th March to 31st October – every day from 10.30 am to 5.30 pm.
Winter season, weekends only; weather dependent
Entry – Adult £5.00: Child £3.00: Concession £4.50: Family (2 adults & 3 children) £15.00
Season tickets available
Friendly dogs on leads welcome.
The return journey can be achieved in two ways. You can either catch the ferry back to Keyhaven. This runs in Summer months or cycle retracing your previous route. There is a cafe at the castle or a pub in Keyhaven for refreshment stops. Alternative routes can be accessed from Milford on Sea.
Its a great ride, very different from the cycle rides we would normally do and felt like a true adventure arriving at the castle. The fantastic January weather certainly helped the enjoyment of the day.