There are many fantastic mountain bike trails throughout the UK, from the world-class challenging routes of the 7stanes in Scotland to the varied and windswept terrain of Exmoor National Park. Whether you are seeking the adrenaline rush of hair raising purpose-built tracks; desire the freedom of country off-road trails; or want the challenge of tricky single-track descents, the UK has something to satisfy all abilities and stamina levels.
Maybe you want to take your mountain bike away on holiday to get off the beaten tourist track and explore some of the areas natural treasures or possibly you are planning a dedicated biking break. Whatever your motivation, self-catering can provide a welcoming retreat to return ‘home’ to at the end of the day. Many holiday cottages offer secure bike storage, wash down areas for muddy bikes and facilities for drying wet outdoor gear. With such a vast selection of holiday homes around the UK, you are sure to find one in the chosen area you want to explore.
Let’s take a look at five popular holiday destinations for mountain biking in the UK.
Grizedale Forest in the Lakes in Cumbria
Grizedale Forest, situated in the hugely popular Lake District, offers a number of waymarked cycling trails which vary greatly in terms of ease. Famed for its wildlife and jaw-dropping sculptures, Grizedale Forest provides a choice of trails with some stunning scenery along the way. From the blue moderate two mile Goosey Foot Tarn Trail; to the Adrenaline pumping red North Face Trail with its leg burning climbs and challenging descents, the forest provides a fun and satisfying day out for all. The Lakes also feature the highest mountain in England, Scafell Pike, so there are no end of challenges for all levels of mountain biker in this part of the country!
Machynlleth in Mid Wales – the Cli-Machx trail through Dyfi Forest.
The Cli-Machx trail in Wales may not be for the faint-hearted; it is one of the most testing and therefore alluring destinations for keen mountain bikers in the UK. Opened in the Dyfi Forest in 2005, it is noted for its rocky terrain and the vast challenges that it lays out around its 15 kilometer round trip. Certainly deserving its Red grade status, the Cli-Machx trail is renowned for its never ending tricky single track descents, with a few hair raising rocky jumps along the way and a sequence of large berms at the end that can test the bravest of bikers! Sitting in Powys between Dolgellau and Machynlleth, the rugged peaks of the Dyfi Forest tower over its wooded hillsides where rocky valleys give way to cascading streams and mystic ruins – a perfect backdrop for your outdoor adventure.
Newcastleton in the Scottish Borders – one of the 7stanes
The 7stanes are seven purpose built mountain biking centres spread out across south Scotland. Whether you enjoy gentle woodland rides, want an introduction to mountain biking or seek the challenges and thrills of downhill, there is a trail to suit. Providing access to some of Scotland’s most beautiful forest scenery, 7stanes is great for families with trails that are fun for all abilities and ages. Newcastleton is amongst the most popular of these and can be found near the England/Scotland border. Offering some of the 7stanes shortest routes, it is a good starting point, both for exploring all seven trails and as an introduction to those new to mountain biking with blue and red graded trails to explore. Newcastleton is one of the Borders’ much loved treasures and nestles amongst spectacular scenery within the Liddesdale Valley. The village has a number of pubs, shops and cafes and is just a short ride from the start of the 7stanes trails. Take a look at our self-catering accommodation in Newcastleton or the wider Scottish Borders area for some ideas.
Cannock Chase Forest in Staffordshire
Cannock Chase Forest is situated in Staffordshire and is a premier mountain biking location in the Midlands. Another good place for the whole family with green, blue and red graded trails, Cannock Chase Forest offers picturesque valleys for leisurely rides, along with plenty of opportunities for Cross Country, Leisure and Downhill riders. It is most famous for its Follow the Dog and Monkey Trails. Whilst the former is suited towards competent riders with its technical single track trail, the latter is geared up towards highly-experienced mountain bikers (some may say fearless!) seeking a tougher challenge with boardwalks, drops and jumps to test your balance and skill. Meanwhile the less demanding trails such as the family friendly Fairoak Trail, allow you to take in the stunning valley scenery and wildlife at a leisurely pace.
Dalby Forest in the North York Moors
The impressive dramatic landscape of the North Yorkshire Moors has starred in a number of TV shows over the years and, since 2007, cyclists have been able to experience 35 miles worth of trails within its famed Dalby Forest – a consistently popular destination for mountain bikers. The trails vary from relaxing greens to the incredibly challenging reds and blacks, offering something for all levels. The 21-mile red route is notable for its testing series of terrains, making it the ideal challenge for highly-experienced mountain bikers. Closely located to the world-famous seaside towns of Whitby and Scarborough, you can combine the excitement of the forest trails with some wonderful sea air and relaxing days on the beach to relax your aching limbs.
Mountain biking can provide an exhilarating fun experience and what better way to explore the UK’s incredible landscape than by bike, whilst burning off a few holiday calories along the way! Not restricted to roads, you can discover many hidden gems off the beaten track, so next time you go away in the UK, make sure you take your mountain bike or hire one and tackle one of the many tracks and trails just waiting to be ridden.