The UK has countless mountain bike trails criss-crossing the countryside. From the peaks of Sheffield, to Bike Park Wales and Fort William in Scotland.
While it can be tempting to head to mainland Europe to explore the legendary Alps or Dolomites with your mountain bike, why not consider a “staycation” and enjoy what the UK has to offer instead.
Let's look at five of the UK’s best mountain bike destinations. Don't forget to consider specialist mountain bike insurance if you're looking to take your riding to the next level.
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The Steel City in the south of Yorkshire is fighting for the crown of the UK’s best cycling destination whatever the discipline. The road riding is incredible and the gravel paths are endless. But, the jewel in its crown has got to be the network of mountain bike trails.
The mountain biking is so good that even Red Bull published an article with the area's 10 Best Trails. Also nicknamed “The Outdoor City”, Sheffield is a pedalling playground. Stanage Plantation is one of the favoured trails thanks to its incredible scenery looking over the cliff edge.
The local MTB scene is cared for by Ride Sheffield, a group of people that work together with the National Parks to improve the trails in and around the Peak District area. The beauty of this is that the trails often cater to all levels. For example, the Blue Steel trail at Lady Canning’s Plantation is rideable for complete beginners, but also a tonne of fun for experts too,
Bike Park Wales
There are so many options to ride off-road in Wales, but for a purpose built day of mountain biking, there is nowhere better in the UK than Bike Park Wales. Built into forested hillsides on the edge of Merthyr Tydfil, Bike Park Wales has a diverse network of all weather trails for all levels of cyclist.
The Bike Park has over 40 trails for you to get stuck into and you don’t even need to pedal to the top with a bus service available to make sure you maximise all the time you can having fun going downhill.
If you’re a mountain bike fan living in Britain, you simply have to make the trip over. Their website gives GoPro Point of View videos to whet your appetite before you make the trip there too. There is also an on site cafe and bike shop that has your bike if you or your bike have any problems.
Tweed Valley, Scotland
In The Borders region of Scotland, the Tweed Valley claims to be the spiritual home of Scottish mountain biking. The area is so popular that they put on a mountain bike festival each year called TweedLove.
If you are looking for world-class MTB trails in southern Scotland, the “7stanes” are a group of centres dotted around the region. Glentress, near Peebles is one of the favourites. An hour out of Edinburgh, the centre offers 73km (45miles) of waymarked trails. For experienced riders, the black trail at Glentress is spectacular: 23km long, almost entirely singletrack with switchback descents and rocky climbs. The best thing about heading for Glentress is that it’s just down the road to its sister, and fellow 7stanes centre Innerleithen.
While no way near the Tweed Valley, we cannot mention Scottish MTBing without the legendary Fort William. It is the place to go for Downhill MTB in the UK, and maybe even the world. Each May, the area hosts one of the most technically challenging UCI Mountain Bike World Cup races on the calendar. Check out some of the highlights.
Note, this is Scotland so cannot guarantee good weather. But, then again doesn’t a little rain make mountain biking more fun?
Coed y Brenin
A forest in Snowdonia National Park, Coed y Brenin was the UK’s first, and most extensive MTB trail centre. There are eight purpose built trails ranging from family friendly to expert rider, as well as a purpose built skills area to develop riding techniques.
Coed y Brenin is perhaps best known for “The Beast” black run. Over 38km in length, it’s a mental, physical and technical challenge. The Beast offers incredible views over Snowdonia and you can expect it to take anywhere between three and five hours to complete.
If you’re not one to tackle the epic black trail, there are plenty of other options on the menu too. The park has a great selection of less challenging blue and green runs to help improve skills and confidence.
The Surrey Hills aren’t the first place that comes to mind when it comes to mountain biking, but that’s not to say it’s not worthwhile making the trip. Popular due to their proximity to London, they cross the North Downs area.
Many of the trails in the Surrey Hills aren’t officially marked or sanctioned, meaning most riders head out with a GPS file, or even an old school map, to explore the area. The Surrey Hills offer many cross-country trails which link up bridleways and short road sections instead of traditional trails.
If you’re willing to go exploring, the Surrey Hills are rewarding as you have to find your own way, just expect to make a few trips before you truly realise their potential.
There you have it. Some of the best places to ride your mountain bike in the UK. Looking for extra peace of mind next time you're on the trails? Pedalsure offers dedicated mountain bike insurance to cover your bike against theft, damage and loads more.
Get a quote for specialist mountain bike insurance today.