There are so many awesome mountain bike trails and tracks throughout the UK that it can be difficult to know where to start. However, we’ve put together our list of the Top Twelve Trails in the UK suitable for both families and fanatics, so you can make it your aim of riding them all!
Ashton Court, Bristol
- The feel: Ashton Court is a great option for those of you in the South West, being just outside the transport hubs of Bristol, and with trails to suit all the family.
- The rides: There’s a blue trail and a red trail available, making this centre a great place for intermediate riders or those just starting out. You don’t need to be an expert to enjoy the lumps and bumps of the blue trail, but someone with more technical skills will have an awesome time blasting through the jumps and technical descents in the red trail
The Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire
- The feel: This is a great destination for families, with trails to keep the kids and the big kid parents excited all at once! Having been recently revamped and rejuvenated, the trails and extra facilities are tip-top.
- The rides: There are green, blue and red routes. If you’re on a family day out, there’s a mostly flat family friendly option, regular children’s rides, and a super-varied 90-minute red trail with a mixture of terrain that will test the most technically accomplished. And if that’s not enough, there are seven downhill tracks!
Dalby Forest, Yorkshire
- The feel: Dalby Forest is a beautiful trail centre, and one of the biggest in England – it’s definitely one for the bucket list! The great thing about this centre is that it really does offer something for everyone, with green, blue, red and black routes available.
- The rides: The green area is nice and easy and a great place to learn skills or ride with the kids. For the intermediate rider, the blue and red trails have some great technical bits but nothing too tough, and you can ride them for anything between 2-4 hours.
- The Extras: The black track is pro level cross country fayre, so bring all your skills, and all your adrenaline!
Cannock Chase, West Midlands
- The feel: Cannock Chase is a very popular centre that is a must-visit for those in the midlands.
- The rides: The courses on offer are tough but achievable, with two red routes of 11km and 23km, both comprised mostly of single-track. The fantastically named ‘The Monkey’ Trail, at 23km in length and featuring a lot of Black options, is a great workout that will keep you on the ball!
- The extras: For those of you with more experience and a lot of bravery, there’s also a downhill area with lots of short but technical runs.
Swinley Forest, Bracknell
- The feel: Swinley Forest is THE place to go if you’re looking for trails and family fun close to London. There’s not just stuff here for those into MTB, as the centre also has an assault course and hiking routes.
- The rides: There are trails from green to red, and 20-90minutes, again making this a great day out for all. The beauty of the centre is that you can combine a number of the different trails into one big loop to keep you entertained and keep the legs guessing
- The feel: This is definitely one for the thrill-seekers! There are blue and red routes available, both packed with twists, turns and toe-curling descents.
- The rides: The blue route contains some pretty tricky bits if you take them full blast, but if you go a bit easier, the trail is a winner for newbies too. The Altura Trail red route is a true adrenaline shot though! With a load of black sections, berms, jumps, and a big climb, this is a real test of your skills and fitness!
Rhyd Ddu, Wales
- The feel: This isn’t a trail centre, but an informal circuit. It’s definitely one for the experienced, as you’ll be out there unsupported.
- The ride: Well, it takes you over Wales’ highest peak so it’s certainly not easy, but is an experience you’ll never forget! There’s steep climbing and smooth-rolling single-track, so you’ll be challenged but also be able to look up and enjoy the stunning views.
Sherwood Pines, Notts
- The feel: This centre is a wooded beauty, with acres of lovely single-track, loads of unmarked trails, and plenty to keep all abilities busy.
- The rides: The green trail is a great family-friendly route of 5km, whilst the blue route is equally easy but twice the distance. The red route is a challenging test of your skills, and is fast and flowing – great for getting the speed up. There’s also hours and hours of unmarked trails, so if you fancy an adventure, go explore!
- The extras: If that wasn’t enough, there’s a zone fill of dirt jumps and downhill runs, meaning you can test your skill and your nerve in equal measure.
- The feel: One for the experienced! A mostly technical centre made up of short but fiendishly tough trails, with red being the easiest option available.
- The rides: The centre offers two red trails, a short, technical purple CX route, and the black Warren Boulder trail – which the centre claim to be the most technical man-made trail in England! Full of slick rock and steep pitches, you need to know your stuff for this one.
Bike Park Wales
- The feel: The UKs first mountain bike park offers 40 different trails, with options for families and pros alike. You’ll be like a kid in a sweetshop!
- The rides: There are routes of all difficulties available, from the family friendly and fun to the fiendish ‘Dai Hard’ black trail which is scattered with roots and rocks to keep you on your toes.
- The extras: The benefit of being such a large and modern centre is the ‘uplift service’, a minibus which transports riders and bikes back to the top of the trails in between rides, giving you more time for the fun stuff!
Drumlanrig Castle, Scotland
- The feel: This is a world class centre in some of the UK’s most stunning scenery. There are trails available of blue, red and black difficulties, so everyone can enjoy the centre.
- The rides: All the available routes are rolling, with even the blue trail offering plenty of uphill, and of course the benefit of this is the awesome views! The forest-based courses means that there are plenty of tight, twisty routes packed with natural features such as roots and sharp climbs to test your fitness and skills to the max.
- The feel: Hamsterley Forest is an MTB playground, with three XC routes offering both single-track and downhill options, and then there’s Descend Bike park’s DH tracks if that didn’t satiate your appetite for adventure.
- The rides: There really is something for everyone here, with a short warmup area, and blue, red and black tracks that mix smooth single-track with gnarly, rooty and rocky descents to give you a great mix of speed, exhilaration, and a test of your skills.
- The extras: There are five DH tracks available at the Descend Bike Park, with a number of awesome berms, jumps and chutes. A lot of fun!
The beauty of Mountain Bike Trails, particularly those at purpose-built centres, is that they can be ridden by all the family, as fast or as slowly as you like. So, get your bike out, get the kids’ bikes out, and go tackle some of these awesome trails!