Mountain biking is a popular hobby, sport, and pastime in the UK. Whether you ride for fun, exercise, competition, or just to spend time enjoying the great outdoors, there is an abundance of mountain biking trails in the UK to explore. With Spring and Summer on the horizon, and most people looking for local holidays, it’s the perfect time to plan a mountain biking trip to some of the most exciting and fun trails around.
Green (Easy) MTB Trails
Like hiking and climbing, mountain trails are graded to difficulty/skill levels. These levels take into account rider safety and are a good indicator to use when deciding where to go cycling. Most mountain bike trails UK locations will have various courses ranging from Green (easy) to Black (severe) to account for all needs. However, some sites may only have one or two routes available so when looking at the sites below please make sure you find out all the information you can before planning a road trip.
Green MTB trails are ideal for families or groups with novice cyclists. As a result, green trails are a great way to make the most of a day out with the family or plan a trip where the main focus is on the natural surroundings as opposed to technical and physical challenges.
Suitable for: “Beginner/novice cyclists. Basic Bike Skills required. Most bikes and hybrids. Some green routes can take trailers”
Trail and terrain: “Relatively flat and wide. The trail surface may be loose, uneven or muddy at times. May include short flowing singletrack style sections.”
Sherwood Pines, Edwinstowe Mountain Bike Trails UK
Sherwood Pines Forest Park has four trails to choose from. The Family trail is a green 4.8km track ideal for families. With easy access to the National Cycle Network Route 6 as well as a Center Parcs holiday parks, Sherwood Pines offers everything you need to enjoy a day out on the bikes.
This area is also home to a longer, 9.6km blue trail as well as a technically challenging 12.8km red trail. Sherwood Pines has over 45km of unmarked trails in total and even a skills area complete with dirt jumps for budding cyclists keen to build on their abilities.
Cycling around places like Sherwood Pines is great for excitement but can be a real mess for your car. If you’re concerned about ruining your car’s interior or want a bike rack that is simple to load and unload then we have the solution for you. Pendle’s bike racks and trailers keep the mud on the outside and provide quick access, allowing you to enjoy the rough and tumble of MTB without tracking mud into your car.
Kirroughtree Forest, Dumfries
Scotland is renowned for its rugged and dramatic natural vistas. Kirroughtree Forest is a fantastic example of Scotland’s natural beauty with trails incorporating McMoab, a huge granite outcrop, and views of Bruntis Loch.
This area is well covered with five trails to choose from. The green trail, Bargaly Wood, is 6km long and is the perfect adventure for families and casual riders. For more experienced riders, there are trails ranging from a 10km blue trail (Larg Hill), all the way up to a 17km red trail (The Twister) and even a 31km black trail (Black Craigs). Like most mountain biking sites you’ll also find key amenities such as a bike shop, bike wash, bike hire, visitor centre, toilets, showers, and a cafe.
Blue (Moderate) MTB Trails
Blue trails are for intermediate riders who are comfortable with dealing with small obstacles like roots and rocks as well as uneven terrain. These trails open up your ability to explore the great outdoors and provide plenty of thrills without the spills of more challenging routes.
Suitable for: “Intermediate cyclist/mountain bikers with basic off-road riding skills. Mountain bikes or hybrids.”
Trail and terrain: “As ‘Green’ plus specially constructed single track. Trail surface may include small obstacles of roots and rock.”
Hamsterley Forest, County Durham
Situated in County Durham, on the border of the North Pennines, Hamsterley Forest is a 2,000-hectare woodland cut into the valley. This trail location has it all. A 1.6km skills loop, Danny Hart’s Descend Bike Park, as well as trails ranging from blue to black. The blue trail is 14.5km of purpose-built cycle trail ideal for exploring the woodlands. The combination of roads, tarmac, and trails are also a great way to practice riding on different surfaces.
This site also has toilets, a cafe, a bike shop, bike hire, and parking on site.
Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire
The Forest of Dean (FOD) is a national gem in beautiful Gloucestershire. The FOD Mountain Biking Park makes full use of this incredible forest with four purpose-built trails. These trails range from green to red with an onsite skills training track for riders to get used to the bumps and bends of off-road biking.
The blue trail, called the Verderers Trail is a popular all-weather loop that incorporates fast corners, rollovers, and big berms. The gentle incline and exhilarating descent on the Dragon’s Tail make this the ideal intermediate course. Another benefit is this track is relatively short (11km) and can be completed in 1-2 hours if time is at a premium.
The Forest of Dean and Hamsterley Forest are just a few of the sites available to families looking for a day’s adventure. This is where Pendle’s bike racks and trailers come in handy. Not only do our steel bike racks provide the highest level of safety in transport but by storing bikes on the outside but also allow you to free up space inside for snacks, camping gear, a change of clothes, whatever you need to keep the troops happy.
Red (Difficult) MTB Trails
Red trails require good riding skills, an understanding of natural surroundings, and an off-road bike built to take a few bumps, jumps, and scrapes. These tracks are often quite narrow with several technical sections and steep descents to get the blood pumping.
Suitable for: “Proficient mountain bikers with good off-road riding skills. Suitable for better quality off-road mountain bikes.”
Trail and terrain: “Steeper and tougher, mostly singletrack with technical sections. Expect variable surface types.”
Nan Bield Pass, The Lake District
The Nan Bield Pass is a 35km red trail starting in Staveley. Situated in the Lake District, this trail is challenging and offers stunning views over the Lake District countryside. This red trail features some challenging single track as well as technical rides on boulders which will test even the most experienced cyclist’s mettle.
This route (red) can be tough on the legs but features two downhill sections in the Nan Bield Pass and the Gatesgarth Pass. The views from the top are amazing with the steep descents sure to get the adrenaline pumping. The nearby towns and villages have plenty of pubs, cafes, and restaurants to take a load off after your adventure.
Rhyd Ddu, Snowden
If you’re looking for a mountain bike trail, where better to look than one of the UK’s biggest mountains. This red trail is a 26km long circuit starting in Llanberis. This trail’s name comes from the Rhyd Ddu bridleway on Snowden. Cyclists will find the steepest climb at the start leading up to the Rhyd Ddu summit before taking on a technically challenging 350m drop from boulder to boulder down to the Rhyd Ddu village.
This trail is hugely popular in summer with hikers and cyclists alike. The stunning views of the surrounding area are well worth the trip alone and make for the perfect place to catch a breather before tackling the challenging descent. As a result of this trail’s popularity, cycling is limited to certain times so make sure you take a look at cycling times beforehand.
Black (Severe) MTB Trails
Black trails are the most challenging courses graded. These cycling routes are incredibly physically demanding and are only recommended for expert cyclists. These routes are even more difficult than red routes and can include any surface type or exposed open hill sections.
Suitable for: “Expert mountain bike users, used to physically demanding routes. Quality off-road mountain bikes.”
Trail and terrain: “As ‘Red’ but with an expectation of greater challenge and continuous difficulty. Can include any usable trail surface and may include exposed open hill sections.”
Black Wildcat, Golspie
The Black Wildcat is a challenging black route that starts in the centre of the coastal town of Golspie. From here, the route takes you up through the Highlands to the summit of Ben Bhraggie.
This viewpoint provides riders with incredible views of the North Sea and is the starting point for an exhilarating and challenging 1,200ft descent. The going is tough. Rough, rocky ground, epic landscapes, and a variety of technical challenges make this one an absolute must for thrill-seekers.
Kilbroney Forest Park, Newry
Rostrevor, a mountain biking park in the Kilbroney Forest Park, has a great mix of trails for intermediate to expert riders. These trails are located on the banks of the scenic Carlingford Loch and are ideal for an extended bike trip with Rostrevor, Three Rock, Davagh Forest, and Castlewellan trail centres all within a few hours of each other.
Rostrevor‘s black route is 19km and winds its way to the summit of Slievemartin before descending into a heart-pumping single track filled with technical rock challenges and high-speed descents. This track is a must for MTB cyclists who want to challenge themselves and take on one of the toughest routes in the country.
We hope you find this guide helpful and hopefully it’ll give you some ideas for your next offroad adventure. If you’re interested in investing in a UK-made bike rack that is built to last then take a look at our store today or contact us directly. Our team can help you decide on the perfect bike storage and transport system for your needs.