Natural singletrack that feels (almost) never-ending

Okay, so not exactly endless, but long, and techy and fun… there’s some awesome natural singletrack out there if you know where to look.

>>>  23 best mountain bike descents in the UK

Here’s a top-notch selection to be going on with.

best mountain bike descents

Minton Batch, Long Mynd

25km/16 miles
Ride Time: 3-4 hours
Why ride it? Wonderful natural singletrack in a spectacular area
Where to eat? Ragleth Inn, Little Stretton
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There’s a fair bit of great singletrack in the Long Mynd, and more is being added all the time as the NT open more permissive BWs. But Minton Batch was the original classic of the area so we’ll focus on that. Start at Carding Mill (Landranger 137/SO446943), and follow the stream NW to the top. Easy tracks lead SW over Pole Bank then follow the road to the gliding club. Drop SE down the singletrack of Minton Batch, take tarmac SW to Hamperley, then climb on lanes and forest tracks to the Shropshire Way (SO403908). Retrace your tracks N to the car park at Pole Cott and take the footpath (permissive BW) SE over Round Hill.

Gleann Bianasdail, Scotland

22km/13 Miles
Ride time: 4 hours +
Why ride it? Amazing scenery and full-on, techy singletrack
Where to eat? Whistle Stop Café, Kinlochewe
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This is a real ‘out there’ kind of ride. Firstly, it’s super-remote, secondly, it’s pretty techy. But if you’re up to it, it’s just awesome. From Incheril (Landranger 19/NH038624) head NE to Heights of Kinlochewe then NW Lochan Fada. Work your way around the S shores of the loch, cross the river (avoid in spate), and push up the hillside opposite. Now lap up nearly 5km of techy singletrack, eventually crossing the bridge near Loch Maree and following more mixed tracks NE to finish.

Llyn Cowlyd, Snowdonia

28km/17 miles
Ride Time: 4-5 hours
Why ride it? A real North Wales classic – great singletrack and awesome final descent.
Where to eat? Caffi Moel Siabod, Capel Curig
GPS download:

Another ‘out there’ techy ride – perhaps Wales’ answer to the Gleann Bainasdale loop? It’s frustrating in places, but brilliant in others Try it and make your own mind up… From Capel Curig (Landranger 115/SH720582) follow a good track N then NW to Gwern Gof Isaf. At Helyg head E then N then E to Llyn Cowlyd. Keep the lake to R and follow awesome singletrack to the end where you climb then descend E on tarmac to Trefiw. More road S to Llyn Crafnant then BW climb to the col, and an awesome descent S to finish.

Dunnerdale Fells, Lake District

14km/9 Miles
Ride Time: 2-3 hours
Why ride it? Awesome short loop in a great area
Where to eat? The Newfield Arms, Seathwaite
GPS download:

This is an unlikely little loop that crosses some little-known no-man’s land in the South West Lakes. The descents are superb though, and the singletrack is surprisingly sinuous. From Seathwaite (Landranger96/SD229961) follow tarmac N, then climb the rocky Walna Scar Road E to SD250962. Turn R to proceed SW through quarry ruins on a mix of rough mining tracks and faint singletrack that improves as it approaches Stevenson Ground. Jink NW then S, and then soak up more top-notch singletrack that loops SW then NW around Stainton Ground to a major junction. Climb N into the col and lap up the final descent.

The QuantockHills, Somerset

19km/11 Miles
Ride time: 3-4 hours
Why ride it? Sweet natural singletrack and steep climbs
Where to eat? Plough Inn, Holford
GPS download:

We love Quantocks singletrack, in fact, it was hard to pick a single singletrack so we chose a short, sharp ride instead. Follow the track SW from Holford (Landranger182/ST154410) into Hodder’s Combe, and eventually climb W to the top. Stick with the main track NW around Beacon Hill, and drop NW into Smith’s Combe, which you take to ST132423. Climb mercilessly SE and contoue around the hill, eventually breaking R to climb S up Pardlestone Hill. Follow broad tracks SW to Bicknoller Post again, and drop NW down Weacombe. At the bottom, head S to Bicknoller Hill, then E up to the ridge again. Head SE for nearly 2km and then follow singletrack NE and this leads back into Hodder’s Combe.