There's nothing quite like the feeling of flow, flying or cruising down tracks that make you feel like a mountain biking goddess or god. If you want to find that feeling, check out this selection of the best flow trails the MBR team has found.
The wind rushing past your ears, the ground zooming below your tyres, you pump and turn and rail and generally feel like a hero. The best flow trails can provide that magical feeling, and if you’re looking for that magic, let us help you.
We’ve tracked down what are, in our humble opinion, some the best flow trails the UK has to offer. So grab your bike, your helmet, your imaginary super-hero cape, and go fly.
You can also view and download these (and all!) tour MBR mountain bike routes on AllTrails.
Long Mynd, Shropshire
Distance: 33.3km (20.7 miles)
Nowhere in England has as many flowing trails as Shropshire. The woods and hills are full of them and not all of them were designed with mountain bikes in mind.
The Long Mynd is the perfect example of this and feels like it’s provided the inspiration for much of the newer trails in the county. The humpback hill that is the Mynd has the perfect gradient, steep enough to build speed easily without being a plummet that’s over in a minute or two. It’s the way it metres out that height and the way the trail winds its way down the hollows that create that feeling of flow.
Want more? Head on over to the purpose built trails in nearby Eastridge Woods.
Blanchland, North Pennines
Distance: 27.6km (17.2 miles)
The North Pennines are full of surprises. Often overlooked, sometimes misunderstood, these hulking hills have some incredible riding just waiting to be explored for those who are willing to look for them.
On the heather covered moors outside Blanchland is some of our favourite northern flow. This route is relatively tech free so makes a great introduction to the joys of flow and, as it’s effectively split into two loops, it can be cut short. Or doubled up and repeated, giving you flow for days. Or even just a few hours.
Distance: 28.9km (17.9 miles)
Scotland isn’t all big mountain rides and trail centres, it’s got its fair share of natural flow, too. A particular highlight is the descent from the Rothiemurchus Lodge in the Cairngorms. This route takes a rather circuitous way up to the tail end – and arguably the best bit – of the infamous Lairig Ghru descent. It may seem slightly drawn out, but it’s a beautiful way to gain height. From the point where wheels turn downhill all the way back to Inverdruie it’s a rollercoaster ride through the trees. Whoops, hollering and face-wide grins guaranteed.
High Brown Knoll, West Yorkshire
Distance: 17.5km (10.9 miles)
Sometimes the old ways are the best ways. The Limers Gate on the moors above Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire is an old trade route, along which men and horses would plod with their cargo.
Nowadays, with new fangled turnpikes taking the traffic, it’s a fast and flowing bridleway across the South Pennines. Although once a packhorse route, this is one of the few bridleways in the area that isn’t made up of stone slabs so it’s best enjoyed when dry or frozen. The final descent back down to Hardcastle Crags may not strictly be flowing but it is a whole lot of fun.
Doethie Valley, Mid Wales
Distance: 23.8km (14.8 miles)
The term classic is often misused but the trail that runs the length of the Doethie Valley easily earns its classic status. How can a trail that’s so remote achieve such a lofty title? Ride it and you’ll find out.
The singletrack trail that follows the Afon Doethie is pure flowing joy. It’s not a brakes-off-and-go kind of descent, requiring some pedalling input along the way, but it never feels arduous and rewards whatever effort you put in.
From top to bottom it’s a piece of singletrack perfection that easily earns it that classic crown.
Lairig Ghru, Cairngorms
Distance: 29km (18 miles)
From Inverdruie (Landranger36/SH901109), take tracks S to skip around the N of Loch Mor and on to Loch an Eileen. Loop clockwise around this and Loch Gamhnan and continue due E to cross Cairngorm Club footbridge.
Ignore the first R — you’re coming back that way — but take the second to climb to Rothiemurchus Lodge. Continue to the Lairig Ghru path and take a sharp R to lap up some of the best flowing singletrack anywhere. Go back for another lap, or head back to the bridge and track N to Coylumbridge.
Crug Mawr, Black Mountains
Distance: 30km (19 miles)
From Crickhowell (Landranger 161/SO219183), head SE towards Llangenny then S to Cwrt y Gollen. Climb NE above Llangenny and when the road ends, keep SA to Dyffryn. Now follow the lane E then N through Partrishow and fork L onto the BW.
Follow this, eventually zig-zagging upwards on tracks that end up pointing you S towards the SW corner of the forest. Exit and pick up the super-flowy, sandy singletrack descent that runs S then SW along Blaen yr Henbant. Flick R then L at the gate at the bottom, to take permissive singletrack down to the road.
Bolt’s Law, Northumberland
Distance: 26km (16 miles)
From Blanchland (Landranger 87/NY964504), head N into Slaley Forest, then NW and NE, with plenty of flow, back to Baybridge. Head SW on the road to Hunstanworth and Townfield and then clamber up Cuthbert’s Hill to the top. A BW to the L here takes you to Bolt’s Law and the climbing is over. Enjoy the superb, flowy singletrack down to the road, the N and NE again to continue.
If you’ve the energy, continue E to Edmundbyers and return via the road. Or for a shorter version, head N to finish.
Rosedale Abbey, North York Moors
Distance: 30km (19 miles)
An awesome and unlikely loop with two good flow sections, plus plenty of other goodness.
From the village (Landranger 100/SE725959), take the lane that heads NW to Hill Cottages then take the old railway line for some super-flowy fun around the head of the dale before heading S to the road at Bank Top. Head SA to Ana Cross, S to Lastingham then E and N to High Askew. Now climb onboard for some more fast and flowing action as you head N back to Rosedale Abbey.
Cut Gate, Peak District
Distance: 31km (20 miles)
Cut Gate needs little introduction — it’s a renowned classic. Start at Fairholmes (Landranger 110/SK172893) and head N — tarmac on the W and dirt on the E.
At Slippery Stones bridge, take Cut Gate NE over the summit (scoping the trail so you can nail it on the return) and down Mickleden Edge. Break R towards Langsett Reservoir, then L and L to return to Mickleden. Now straddle the summit again and savour the descent — especially the drop into Cranberry Clouds.