Top 10 places to Mountain Bike in the UK

by Bert Maxwell / Sep 26, 2012 /
Bert Maxwell's picture

Love mountain biking? Well, you're in for a treat if you're headed to the UK to bike. The terrain is lovely, the people are friendly, and there's plenty of variety to experience. Pack your bikes, helmets, gear, and a sense of adventure. The trails await!

Here are our top 10 places to mountain bike in the UK

Scotland

1. Fort William

You'll recognize this scenery from the Harry Potter films - now get out and ride it! The annual Mountain Bike World Cup takes place here every year, on Ben Nevis (the highest peak in the UK). Take a ride on the Witch's Trail, a 15km tough and technical route.

2. Glentress

One of the 7 stanes ("stone" - one of 7 top biking centers in the Scottish lowlands between Edinburgh and Glasgow), Glentress is perfect for both beginners and advanced riders. You can take the family here - it's beautiful, fun, and offers challenges to all levels of riders.

3. Innerleithen

Fancy yourself a downhill expert? Head to Innerleithen, where you can get a ride to the top of the mountain, and powerwash your bike at the Tontine Hotel, when you're done.

4. Kirroughtree

Of particular note (and part of the 7stanes, as well) is Kirroughtree. You'll ride through open and forested land, and on trails that are easy to very challgening. If the latter is more to your taste, try the 31km Black Craigs trail. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Double diamond black, 7stanes flickr creative commons: flickr.com/photos/richardchild/2531041914/

Double diamond black, 7stanes

England

5. Grizedale

Located in beautiful Cumbria, take the North Face Trail in Grizedale Forest. You'll be challenged on this 16km trail, but never fear - you can always stop and check out the forest sculptures when you need a breather.

6. Pennine Bridleway

This trail covers a great distance, and crosses the Pennines - twice! Never fear - there's a great trail that covers 176km, and goes from the start of the Trail from Summit (at the bottom of the Mary Towneley Loop) to Ravenstonedale, in Cumbria. There's even a guide (Cycling the Pennine Bridleway) available from the National Trails to help you judge which is best - and includes 11 other trail loops to mountain bike.

7. Hopton Wood

With a new 18km trail built by the Forestry Commission and Pearce Cycles, expect good things here in the Forest of Dean. Closest town is Hopton Castle. Noted for its challenging trails, look for exhilarating descents, work-it climbs, and rooty downhills. Bring your own refreshments - you'll need it! 

8. Swinley Forest

This 2600 acre forest is spiderwebbed with trails for riders of all skill levels. It's part of Windsor Forest, managed by the Crown Estate. And, it's close to London, in case you're there and just need to get away for a day. Named Trail of the Year by Mountain Biking UK Magazine. Please note: this trail can be ridden year-round. We love mud.

Wales

9. Coed Y Brenin

Located in a forest, with both single and dual tracks, this is one of the most popular mountain biking areas in the UK. Take the 9km Temtiwr trail for a challenge.

10. Machynlleth

A beautiful 15km route, the Climach-x trail pops a few surprises at the end. There are three MACH trails available, for different skill levels (and time available). These trails are community-built, and very impressive.

 

Have you biked any of these? Which is your favorite?