Refreshed trail centres, over-the-water weekenders, indoor MTB and more
Here are what we consider to be the top 11 spots to visit next year. Get ’em written down in your 2017 To Do list right now.
From established trail centres that have been significantly remastered, to far-flung spots requiring a ferry trip adventure, to natural riding spots that are finally getting the trail traffic they deserve… all kinds of riding is on offer in this list.
One of the UK’s hottest new riding venues with a smorgasbord of trails, a round of the Scottish Enduro Series and a remote and wild feel despite its easy access. The next Peebles then?
You can get to Dunoon by a tortuous drive, or a 20minute ferry ride across the water from Glasgow. This makes the town pretty unique, blessed with great hills, easy access and a rugged feel.
This is no trail centre though, the tracks themselves are not designed-by-committee/council, and all are natural or built by hand. A great deal of the riding is the result of four year’s hard work by local trail building wizard Tomasz Chlipala. It’s Tomasz who is behind some of the trail names: T1, The Bad, Tight As You Like and so on.
There’s a mix of riding on offer in Dunoon. Outright manmade stuff, classic trail centre stylee. But this is mixed in with plenty of natural trails.
Dalby, North Yorkshire
There are more than 50km of trails at Dalby Forest, and the best news is that almost all of it will be singletrack soon. The latest new stuff to ride is on the blue trail, which now has two new brilliant flow sections bringing the 13km trail bang up to date.
The final descent has one of the best aspects in the forest and by constantly weaving at speed through berms and rollers, really adds some spice to the blue route, arguably even managing to push the envelope on the colour grading.
Exmoor’s singletrack is something of a hidden gem: underrated and overlooked by most UK riders. But the quality and variety of riding in the National Park is worthy of a closer look: check out our favourite ride from the area.
Next summer will see the return of the UK’s newest enduro race, The Ex — three days of riding around Exmoor, featuring a really varied amount of riding — from tight and techie singletrack through the woods to fast open downhills on top of the moors, and everything in between.
The oldest trail centre in Britain, Coed-y-Brenin turned 25 in October. But there’s a lot of new stuff happening to make it just as relevant in 2017.
Right now there are new trail sections to ride on the mbr trail, and there’s a massive new skills park to ride that you could easily lose an hour in. Then there are new big rock slabs and more natural feeling enduro-style sections.
Dirt Factory, Manchester
Dirt Factory in Manchester will boast a wide range of progressive, flowing, indoor bike trails, skills zones, jumps and foam pits, catering for all abilities, they say. They’ve got the dirt ready to go, the designs are finished and the sub-contractors are in place.
They just need to find the perfect spot. But it looks like a decision is imminent. Watch this (indoor) space.
Northern Ireland’s trail centres
This year has seen a blossoming of trail centres in Northern Ireland. There are half a dozen top quality spots that you can plot into a min-break or weekend trip. Rostrevor, Davagh, Castelwellan, Blessingbourne and others.
Get planning your trip by reading our handy guide.
Gnar Bike Park, Cumbria
News of a new gravity/DH based bike park in Cumbria caused a huge wave of interest when we ran a story on it earlier this year. Gnar Bike Park has since opened and has even hosted a round of the PMBA Enduro series. The best place to find out more is facebook.com/gnarbikepark/
The Scottish Highlands
Not a new area to ride by any means but a newly more accessible area to ride thanks to British Airways opening up some new routes to Inverness. Check out: Our three favourite Highlands rides that have just got that little bit closer.
Bike Park Wales
417 Project, Cheltenham
The UK’s newest bike park is now open, the 417 Project in the Cotswolds.
Built by Forest of Dean uplift owner Flyup Downhill, there are trails, downhill runs, jumps and maybe best of all, indoor riding for when it tips it down.
Gisburn Forest, Lancashire
The venerable old Lancastrian MTBing spot has finally got a proper cafe and bike shop. Operated by Pace Cycles, the Forest Den Cafe is the place to go before and after your rip around the forest trails.
Gisburn Forest has one of the most active trail building volunteer groups around so there’s always new trails, new features and tweaks to existing trails happening all the time.