Whether you’re learning the ropes, or more of a mountain warrior, you can transform your ride when you know where to go.
From track to trail and puddle to peak, we got Protour World Series qualifier Dave Roberts’ pick of the best Mountain Bike hot spots you can really tear it up on!
Forest of Dean, England
Nestled in the county of Gloucestershire, the Forest of Dean is 110 acres of uninterrupted woodland. As one of the few surviving ancient woodlands in the country, you can expect a trail like no other with each ride. The main routes are found in the Cannop Valley and provide relatively easy cycling despite their valley location, making it a great place to try if you’re new to the game. Even some of the steeper hills are well worth the pedal power, with amazing views waiting for you at the top!
- Pack a puncture kit – you can get caught up in some pretty remote parts of the trails, so help might not always be just around the bend!
- GPS signal is pretty terrible, so roping some friends in for fun might give you that added peace of mind should you run into trouble.
Afan Forest, Wales
Set in the Afan Valley, the Afan Forest Park is 48-square-miles of former railway line, paving the way for a ‘ride before you die’ experience. With six trails to choose from which have been carved out of the hillside, the valley has been transformed from a former coal mining site into a bikers heaven. “Wildly exposed”, this site isn’t for the faint hearted, but if you’re an adrenaline junkie seeking a world class trail then Afan won’t dissapoint.
- Make a mental note of the mile markers/post numbers as you go – this is a notoriously tricky trail, so this will make it easy for help to find you if things go wrong.
The Peak District, England
Well known as one of the ‘must ride’ areas in the UK, The Peak District in the North offers up 555 square miles of National Park to get really stuck into. The ‘Dark Peak‘ as it’s known by many a mountain biker makes for fun and challenging riding thanks to it’s rocky valleys and gritty trails. The trails here are definitely for the more experienced rider, whilst The ‘White Peak‘ offers rolling hills and deep dales making for a more gentle ride. The Peak District is big enough to offer a new experience with every ride, and you can find out more about the many different trails here.
- The High Peak, Tissington and Monsal cycle trails in The ‘White Peak’ are traffic-free trails that make great links between the bridleways.
Glentress is Scotland’s biggest and best-known trail centre, and for good reason. Housing 73km of trails, there’s something for everyone whether you’re just getting behind the handlebars or a confident freerider. Whilst the trails have been tailored to offer a range of experiences, the site has not lost any of it’s natural appeal. From green route to black, the trails start from 3.5km up to 30km and you can choose to amp it up as much as you like. There’s also a Freeride Park for riders looking to practice their skills or learn tricks, without joining a trail.
- Have you got the need for speed? Try the Red Routes ‘Spooky Woods’ descent.
Ballyhoura Green to Brown, Ireland
Found in Limerick, the Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Trails are the largest trail network of it’s kind in the country. The trails range from 6km to 50km, laid out as ‘stacked loops’ meaning each loop leads onto the next and rejoins it on the way back. Whilst some of the more moderate trails are beginner-friendly, the one-way system has been tailored for a challenging and rewarding ride, so make sure you’re good to go when you set off, because there’s no turning back!
- If you’ve exercised many a green route but aren’t quite ready to take on 50km, the Mountrussell ‘Brown’ Loop is advanced enough to challenge you whilst not offering up any tricky surprises.
Know any hidden gems? From forest to quarry, share your favourite trails with us in the comments below!