VISITORS can now explore the canal and countryside around Slimbridge on two wheels, thanks to a new bike hire business.

Jess and Sally Owen officially opened Adventure Bike Hire on January 5, after falling in love with the area.

“We wanted to inspire people to get out and about and explore their surroundings, to enjoy the countryside and encourage them to exercise,” said Jess.

From its canalside base, the firm rents out bikes for all the family, plus safety helmets, locks, maps and information. Packed lunches are available too.

The couple say their decision was partly informed by an increase in businesses in the area.

“With the re-opening of the Black Shed, and Gloucester Narrowboats and The Cafe on The Cut relocating from Gloucester, plus the introduction of paddle boarding and the position of Tudor Caravan Park, the time and place seemed right to forge ahead with our plans,” said Sally.

“And apart from the opportunity, we had quite simply fallen in love with the area and wanted to share it with others.”

Jess added: “Our hirers have many routes open to them and the distance they cover is only limited by hire times - half day or full day - and their own fitness.

“Some may only wish to ride the towpath at a leisurely pace, taking in the beautiful views over the Severn estuary and Cotswold Hills, taking time to visit the site of the Purton hulks, one of the largest ships’ graveyards in maritime Britain.

“They can stop off along the way for a picnic lunch, or visit one of the local pubs.

“Others may wish to venture into Berkeley, the birthplace of Edward Jenner, the originator of the vaccination, who also discovered the vaccine for smallpox.

“Edward Jenner’s home is now Dr Jenner’s House Museum and Garden.

“The town is also home to Berkeley Castle, the site of the imprisonment and gruesome murder of King Edward II in 1327.

“A few may even wish to travel the towpath into Gloucester Docks, the most inland port in Britain.

“The towpath runs for 16.5 miles from Sharpness to Gloucester, it is picturesque, peaceful and mainly flat, the perfect place to relax, ride and enjoy being in the English countryside.” See: