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After our mini warm up cycle tour at Easter, this summer we gently pushed the kids a little more with a full week of cycling and camping. This time, we extended the excellent Cuckoo Trail and broke the whole trip up with a holiday within a holiday at Wilderness Wood, where we camped with a big group of our friends to celebrate Anita and I both turning 40.

Day 1

As with our last cycle trip, we made life easier for ourselves by cutting out some of the distance and less kids friendly parts at the beginning. A short roll along the seafront from home to St Leonards station, and then we took the train to Polegate.

From there it’s just a few hundred metres to the start of the Cuckoo Trail and the rest of the day was entirely off road on the wonderful former railway line route.

The Cuckoo Trail is soooo nice for cycling with young kids. In the south east of England, there really are not that many good, safe cycling routes. This former railway line is a winds gently through fields and ancient woodland. We saw deer and dozens of varieties of birds. There are plenty of benches and picnic tables for taking breaks and a couple of easily accessible shops and cafes, just off the route.

We had booked campsites at easy distances for every night of the trip. Our first was Fontmills Farm, a picturesque, simple camping field, about 12km north of Polegate. We set up, hired a fire pit and toasted marshmallows. The kids made friends with neighbouring campers. It was a lovely, quiet night.

Day 2

We rejoined the Cuckoo Trail and continued another 10km to the end of the line at Heathfield. Here we had arranged to meet some friends, to help us get the kids the last few miles to Wilderness Wood. The roads are just too fast and dangerous for our 6 year olds, so after a fish and chip lunch, we packed Hatty and Wilf into cars, along with their bikes, while Anita and I cycled the last 7km.

At Wilderness Wood, as we’re members, we had reserved the paddock camping field and invited about 40 of our friends and their kids to join us for two nights. We set up camp and settled into the weekend.

Day 3

For the next two nights and days, the kids went feral, it was gloriously sunny. We shared food and drink. Fired up the beautiful bath house. Explored the woods and the giant swing.

On Saturday night we cooked a huge barbecue at the cookhouse and stayed up late around a big campfire, looking for shooting stars. It was delightful.

Day 4

After a lazy breakfast, we packed down the camp and said goodbye to our friends. Then we reversed the route back to Heathfield, with the kids in cars again and Anita and I on our bikes, to rejoin the top of the Cuckoo Trail.

There’s a gentle downhill north to south on the trail, so we rolled down to the same campsite we stayed at on the first night and pitched up again.

Day 5

Originally we had planned for this to be a return to home day, but a few weeks before the break, we decided to extend the trip a little. So on the Monday we continued to the southern end of the Cuckoo Trail, and then onwards to Norman’s Bay where we’d booked a campsite for two nights.

It was a long day for the kids, about 23km in total, but they were amazing. We took lots of breaks for treats and made it to the campsite in time for tea and a quick splash in the sea.

Day 6 & 7

We took a well deserved rest day at our lovely seaside campsite. The kids loved it as we were pitched right next to a good play area and the beach was just a couple of minutes walk over some dunes.

Finally, it was time to head home. We followed the coast back through Bexhill, where we stopped for well earned ice cream, before the final push home.


The trip was wonderful. It was tough in places, but the weather was kind to us and the kids did amazingly. They cycled with all their own gear a total of about 73km.

Having done our practice trip at Easter really helped, and it’s given us a renewed ambition to go further afield next year and maybe aim for a longer tour abroad. Likely, the Netherlands…

No film this time as we were just focussed on having a good trip and hanging out with our friends. But here’s a small selection of photos below.