I live way down south (around Reading) and I'd like to do some cycling on non-automotive roads. I've been to the Peak District once (climbing) and it looked great for cycling. However, it's almost 180 miles away .
Anyway, a quick check on google maps shows that South Downs national park is nearby and so is Brecon Beacons. I am strictly looking for riding on paths and non-automotive roads. Around my place, there are some amazing roads for cycling/motorcycling but they are 50/60 mile/h roads, single carriageway and very twisty. There are cyclists who use them but I think cycling on them is extremely dangerous, non-enjoyable (terrifying) and anti-social.
Can you recommend which one to go to. The drive to PD will be 6+ hours. I'd rather go to South Downs or Brecon Beacons but I've never been there. Do they have nice cycling routes?
I'm also a bit concerned because I've never actually driven myself to a national park. I've always gone with people. When a bunch of buddies an me went to Peak District, we stopped in what appeared to be a free car park - well it wasn't a car park - just an empty area, aranged for people to park there (probably by the council or local authority). I'm a bit concerned that once I go there I won't know where to stop and where the cycle tracks begin . Any help? Has anyone done this recently? Any guides online? All google results that I find are from the local authority and they are not very helpful. I'm looking for some post/guide from a fellow cyclist, not a local authority or council.