Buy the OS Route Map and instructions for this route

We’ve said it before but we’ll say it again: the Quantock Hills might be lowly and a little compact in comparison to many upland regions of the UK, but they still conceal some of the best mtb’ing in the land.
This month’s Hard route is an elongated tour of the region, breaking out from the main cluster of bracken-covered ridges and deep wooded combes for an optional, but worthwhile excursion south to Triscombe Stone and Great Wood. The out-and-back track offers plenty of thrills and spills as well as some excellent views west over Exmoor.
But it’s the main ridge, or rather the deep wooded valleys that slice into it, that provide most of the fun, and this outing explores four of them; each different; each brilliant. The first real descent is the drop from Halsway into Somerton Combe on singletrack as sweet as you’ll ever ride. It steepens and broadens as it plunges into the woods, but there’s still a few challenges, as well as a couple of icy cold streams to cross. The climb out is totally doable, and the drop down Weacombe Combe — yes, more sumptuous singletrack — is ample reward.
Fire road and a good stony track carry you out of this one. Then it’s Smith’s Combe, which requires little in the way of an introduction but, if you’ve never ridden it before, plenty of concentration — especially over the root and rock cocktail at half-height.
This is a tougher one to dig yourself out of, and most mere mortals will walk a bit now. But fear not; this lines you up for a grand finale that’ll definitely put that smile back, especially the rooty drop-offs near the top. Hodder’s Combe marks the end of the real action, but you still need to ride past the cafe to get to the finish.