I’VE always been a road cyclist rather than a mountain biker.

Living on the edge of the Moors and with the likes of Hamsterley Forest and Dalby Forest just a relatively short drive away, you might find it odd that I’ve never really thought about tearing up the trails.

The truth is, I have always regarded myself as something of a wimp, the thought of dragging myself and a heavy off-road bike up hill and down dale has never really appealed.

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However, when you have three boys and the opportunity comes up to head off into the woods there’s little choice but to suppress your fears and prepare to get down and dirty.

Located around 45 minutes from our home, Swinton Bivouac is part of the Swinton Estate.

Already a glamping retreat, with yurts and tree lodges, the Bivouac, near Masham in the Yorkshire Dales, has recently launched a bike hire service for residents and visitors.

Lined up in racks are a row of pristine blue and green bikes, Raleigh and Diamondbacks.

After a quick introduction and the provision of a helmet we are pointed in the direction of the woods and told to go and have some fun.

It was quiet, so we were not given a time limit, but they seemed a pretty relaxed bunch and in any case the two looped trails on offer are probably no more than a couple of miles or so in length.

Just a short ride from where you pick up your bikes is the Druids Temple, a local historical site and impressive folly constructed during the late 1800s. This is worth a visit in its own right, and with no fences or signs telling you to keep off, the kids had great fun clambering around.

But this day was about biking and so we headed off into the woods.

Aimed at novices and the casual rider rather than hardcore downhillers, the trails nevertheless provide more than enough exercise for arms, legs and heart.

Split into blue route and red route, the former more challenging than the latter, they circle the temple and feature plenty of twists and turns.

The way is clearly signposted, so it’s almost impossible to get lost. In fact, I was more than happy for my two to ride ahead a little while I caught my breath.

Although there are plenty of natural obstacles to negotiate those who look after the course have also designed a few ramps here and there for those who like to get a little ‘air’.

Having cleared one jump without coming a cropper, Igot my son to video the next, convinced I was going at a fair rate. Playing it back, however, revealed I was barely travelling fast enough to trouble a speedometer.

It’s worth putting the brakes on and pulling over a couple of times if only to enjoy the views of Leighton Reservoir and surrounding countryside.

An hour or so later we returned to base, having felt like we truly earned something to drink and eat. Thankfully, the Bivouac cafe had plenty to satisfy us, including homemade cakes and a fantastic thirst-quenching fruit cocktail which went down a treat.

Will we be back? Try stopping us.

• Bike hire costs £25 per adult for a full day, £18 half day and £15 per child for a full day, £12 for a half day. For more details on combining the hire with a stay at the centre, visit www.bivouac.swintonestate.com/