Buy the OS Route Map and instructions for this route

Dartmoor is regularly referred to as the most southerly wilderness in Britain, and while it sounds a little clichéd, you don’t have to go very far into this ride before you start to realise just how accurate this tag is. Within minutes of leaving the bleak granite buildings of Princetown, you find yourself surrounded by gently rolling moorland that feels big, open and almost sinister — not the place to get lost. But there’s no need to worry. The moor is criss-crossed with a huge network of tracks and trails, most of which offer superb mtb’ing, and this outing sticks to some very obvious ones, so navigation isn’t a problem.
At 20km long, with just 370m of ascent, this is one of the easiest routes we’ve ever run on these pages, but that shouldn’t put anyone off. It’s an excellent ride: the kind of loop than can be belted impatiently by experts or ridden slowly and savoured by those less confident in their technical ability.
It starts with an easy climb out of Princetown, with the only difficulty being the regular drainage channels that need hopping; and it then follows excellent, rubbly tracks to head out across the moor towards the Burrator Reservoir. Here it drops steeply on a firm track that’s littered with tricky granite boulders. Narrow lanes loop around the reservoir, eventually hopping back up onto the moor again. And the return track is even more atmospheric; especially as it slips past the disused buildings and open shafts of the very remote Eylesbarrow tin mine. It eventually climbs easily to rejoin the outward trail, providing the opportunity to run the drainage gullies the other way round — enjoy, but make sure you’ve got a spare tube with you just in case you get one wrong!