I wish other parts of the country had such great cycle routes as the Monsal Trail, which takes you from Bakewell to Wyedale, with some fantastic views on the way.
Our son has been cycling since he was four, and as I hate riding on roads at the best of times, we are always on the lookout for traffic-free routes both at home and on holiday, but they are pretty few and far between - and often disappointing. We've headed off to forests that promise family-friendly routes only to find ourselves on a brief circular route that we finish in half an hour.
The Monsal Trail fulfils all our wishes - no cars, some decent views, and some nice refreshment stops along the way! After a few moments' trepidation, we also enjoyed cycling through the old tunnels (the whole trail is a disused railway line) - on a hot day you can feel the chill coming out of the tunnel several feet before you enter it!
The only downside of the trail is that you have to retrace your route if you've had to drive to get to your start point. My ideal would be a service that drops you at one end and picks you up at the other, but I guess that would probably be a logistical nightmare and far too pricey!
We stopped at Blackwell Mill at one end where there's a small cafe selling coffee, cakes and ice cream (all the essentials of a bike ride!) and a bike hire shop. The nice man there kindly altered our son's saddle for him as he's grown since he was last on his bike. At the other end we stopped at Hassop Station, which has been transformed into a beautiful cafe, book and gift shop. The food was lovely - but rather pricey - £3.50 for a kids' plain cheese sandwich and nearly a fiver for an admittedly delicious warm cheese scone with accompaniments.
PS: If you're looking for a bike seat for a bigger child, for whatever reason, bobike's ‘Junior Classic’ seat is suitable for children weighing from 20 to 35 kilos, aged from 5-10 years of age. You can adjust the footrests to the length of your child’s legs. It's not cheap at £84.99, but does meet European safety standards.
More on free activities at National Parks