The United Kingdom is home to some of the world's greatest mountain biking spots. Here's some places in Scotland, England and Wales that every mountain biker needs to experience at least once
When you think about good places to mountain bike, your mind might pedal to the Alps, British Columbia or the South Island of New Zealand. With such a huge range of trails already available though, plus new trail centres popping up all over the UK, there’s no doubt that these shores are home to some of the best riding in the world. Here’s our top 10 spots to go mountain biking in the UK. We’re lucky to have these destinations on our doorstep. Ride them all, and then ride them all over again.
Tweed Valley, Scotland
Scotland is known for its raw landscapes and stunning scenery. Add a bike into that mix and, well, you’re in MTB heaven. Regularly cited as one of the world’s best destinations for mountain biking, Scotland really has got plenty of riding to choose from. With the new 7Stanes project pushing new trail centres forward and expanding their network, we think the Scottish Borders could be the best place to mountain bike in the UK full stop. The Tweed Valley is home to Glentress trail centre—which hosts a huge variety of trails for beginners to experts, and Innerleithen, where downhill riders can get their adrenaline fix with the help of uplift accessible tracks.
Dyfi Bike Park, Wales
Dan Atherton’s Dyfi Bike Park is a thing of beauty. Set in the heart of Dyfi Forest, the 650 acres bike park sits on a truly stunning backdrop and makes for an unforgettable riding experience. With long descents, numerous trails and varied terrain, the big summits and steep valleys provide the ideal playground for riders of all abilities. If you’re looking for big mountain trails handcrafted by the pros, this is the spot for you.
Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, England
Sitting just outside of London, you might not expect to find such fine riding so close to the big smoke. But in the Surrey Hills, a huge network of trails winds through the North Downs, Leith Hill, Pitch Hill, Holmbury Hill and Winderfold Hill. If singletrack is your thing, Leith Hill will provide with its technical “North Shore” style trails and tasty features to get your teeth into. If nail-biting isn’t for you, you’ll find plenty of flowy singletrack around the other areas. Holmbury Hill is our favourite.
Gisburn Forest, England
Another designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Gisburn lies in the Forest of Bowland and guarantees you some amazing scenery. With some of the UK’s oldest purpose-built mountain bike tracks, Gisburn offers riders a flowy beginner-intermediate trail, a long 11-mile red ride and two bike park lines—Hope Line and Leap of Faith—with huge jumps and challenging features. Turns out Gisburn isn’t just a pretty face, after all.
A name that’s become ubiquitous with UK riding, BikePark Wales offers some of the most diverse and well-built trails to shred, all-year round. The bike park was the first of it’s kind to have a full time crew looking after the trails, ensuring the riding is second to none!
If you don’t fancy the 10-15 minute pedal to the top, the park also offers an easy uplift service that gives everyone the chance to make the most of the downhill tracks. With over 40 trails ranging from easy greens ideal for kids and beginners, through to technical reds and expert level blacks with big jumps, there’s something for everyone here. For the advanced riders among you, look out for Bonneyville, Rock ‘n’ Roll and Dai Hard.
Fort William and Nevis Range, Scotland
Known for its rowdy downhill and World Cup track, we couldn’t not feature Fort William on this list. Hosting the UCI event since 2002, Aonach Mor—the longest track in the event series—is as burly as they come. Already a mountain bike mecca for the UK, Fort William is continuously developing new gondola-accessed tracks and improving existing ones to keep things interesting. If cross-country is more your scene, the Nevis Range and nearby Lochaber MTB centre also has a range of trails for all abilities. If you’re excited by the idea of riding in the Scottish Highlands, Fort William and the Nevis Range aren’t to be missed.
Forest of Dean, England
Hanging out near the Welsh border, Gloucestershire’s Forest of Dean has long been a favourite for UK mountain bikers. Known for its steep, slippery, rooty descents, the Forest of Dean has a huge range of riding to choose from. With two trail centres, Pedalabikeaway and Dean Forest Cycles, and riding for all the family and abilities with wide forest tracks, big DH trails and longer XC routes, there’s plenty to go at here. If you’re into gravity riding, there’s also an uplift service to access the downhill trails to punch out laps until your heart’s content. There’s also a skills area and pump track at the trail hub, plus—if you know where to look—a forest that’s full of unmarked singletrack to explore.
Grizedale, Lake District, England
Traditionally, The Lakes conjures up images of walking holidays with your folks. But between the hiking boots, you’ll find some truly exceptional mountain biking. From scenic 5 mile loops to gruelling 30-mile epics with insane views, ‘The Lakes’ has great riding for everyone. Sat bewteen Coniston Water and Lake Windermere, trail center Grizedale boasts some of the country’s best natural mountain bike trails. If you’re looking for a challenge, check out the intermediate-friendly 10 mile North Face trail that takes you up and over Hawkshead Moor for some leg-burner climbs, fun singletrack, boardwalk and rock features.
Coed Y Brenin, Wales
As Britain’s first forest developed for mountain biking, Coed y Brenin opened in 1997 and still retains it’s reputation as one of the best UK trail centres. An all-weather trail network for all abilities, plus an epic visitor center that has been awarded the Visit Wales Gold Award, Coed y Brenin gives riders the complete experience. You’ll find a couple of beginner-friendly greens and blues for the family and lots of big job reds and blacks like The Beast – many with stunning views of Snowdonia. There’s also a Y Ffowndri Skills Area and pike park if you’re looking for a spot to sharpen your bike skills.
Dalby Forest, England
Situated in the North York Moors National Park, Dalby Forest is an absolute gem for northern UK riders. As one of the larger trail centres in England, it offers a number of different trail loops for varying abilities. There’s green and blue options for beginners and families, as well as the 21-mile Red Cycle Trail that includes plenty of singletrack and technical features like drop-offs and rock gardens to keep things interesting. Need more send? Hit the 4 mile long World Cup XC Trail, which includes a bunch of mandatory highly technical features like Worry Gill and Medusa’s Drop. There’s also a 600m long blue graded skills area and pump track, and a café for those mid-ride refreshments.
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