Mountain bike routes that take you to the most beautiful spots the UK can boast.
As mountain bikers we’re bombarded by amazing vistas at every turn — there is no better way to experience the British countryside than by bike. So we’ve pulled together the most awe-inspiring rides from around Britain to inspire you this autumn. And if that’s not enough for you, check out the 20 best mountain bike trails in the UK (in our opinion anyway, please hit us up if you’ve got a favourite).
Around Coniston, Lake District
32km (20 miles)
Close to Grizedale, but very different, with much better views.
From Coniston (Landranger 89/SD304976), climb SW onto the Walna Scar Road and continue for 1.5km. Break L onto a grassy BW and drop to Torver. Take the A593 SW and take the lane L at 1km to continue SW, off-road, to Woodland. Flick E, S, E to continue E to Blawith.
Now turn L, first R and L again to High Nibthwaite. Turn R and you gain a great BW that now leads NE into Grizedale Forest. Descend NW to How Head and it’s all road to finish.
Macclesfield Forest, Peaks
22km (13 miles)
A short but cracking ride.
Head up Wildboarclough (Landranger 118/SJ978714) and turn L to climb W to forest. Loop W around the S edge of the wood on the cycle path and when you hit the road, bear R, then L, then R again, then L onto a BW. Climb N to the road then R and R (SE), to Chapel House farm. Continue to Bottom-of-the-Oven, and take the road E to the Cat and Fiddle.
Head S opposite pub, and head S on the A54, then S on a BW to Holt. Loop around Cut-thorn Hill, head NE to Sparbent and descend to the finish.
Ben Damph, Scotland
24km (15 miles)
Anywhere else in Scotland and this would be the ‘must do’ ride, but in Glen Torridon, alongside the classic descents into Achnashellach and Annat, the loop of Ben Damph is easily overlooked.
Head W on the road towards Sheildag (Landranger 24/NG893544) then take the track SE alongside Loch Damph. At Kinloch Damph, take a L — the only navigation-related decision you have to
make — then climb NE to Drochaid Coire Roill. The descent is long and awesome.
Hexhamshire Common, Northumb.
20km (12 miles)
If you’re a fan of sinuous, heathery singletrack, then Hexhamshire Common is probably the best place you’ve never heard of.
There are loads of options but this figure-of-eight is a good one to help you get your bearings. From Allendale Town (Landranger 87/NY837558), climb SE onto the southern flanks of Green Hill, then NE to Stobb Cross. Turn R (SE) to Hangman Hill, then L (NE) to King’s Law. Take an L on the road to cross Rowley Burn and then L again to return to Stobb Cross. Turn R to finish.
Berwyn Hills, North Wales
51km (30 miles)
A belter of a loop, that’s easily overlooked.
From Llangynog (Landranger 125/SJ053261), head NW up the B4391 and break R (N) to cross the moor and drop into Cwm Pennant. Turn R onto the B4491 in Llandrillo and hang an R (SE) to span the hill, pass the Wayfarer memorial, and drop to Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog.
Head SW on lanes, S on a track then SW into Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant. Head W then NW to Cefn-coch and cross the hills to the W on good bridleways that will drop you to the finish.
Sligachan, Isle of Skye
16km (10 miles)
One of the most scenic trails on one of the country’s most ruggedly scenic islands is fortunately a killer ride too. With rocky singletrack meandering into the Cuillin Mountains from the famous Sligachan Hotel, popping over wide drainage ditches and passing below some of the most jaggy peaks in the UK.
You’ll struggle to find a trail more spectacular
Park in the car park on the easternmost side of the village and climb south up the bridleway just before the bridge, then take the fork to the right in the trail. Finishing at the sea at Camasunary Bothy either climb the hill east to Kirkibost and return via Srath Mor and Luib, or just head back the way you came. Srath Mor is pretty boggy and indistinct in places so unless you are keen to make a loop, the out-and-back is the most rewarding.
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Ambleside, Lake District
26km (16.2 miles)
Starting in Ambleside at Biketreks, the local cycle centre, climb steeply up Ivy Crag. Pause at the top for your first amazing view over Lake Windermere before a terrific descent to Skelwith Bridge. Continue onwards on singletrack roads to the Drunken Duck pub at Barngates, then up and over Iron Keld where a small detour on to the small knoll at the start of the descent will reveal another peachy vista to the Langdales and Helvellyn. Passing by Hodge Close, Elterwater and a finish over the classic Loughrigg Terrace makes this a top contender.
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Brighton, South Downs
58.5km (36.4 miles)
A real old-school favourite, with stunning views over the South Coast to be soaked up while cranking through a mix of trails, from flowing chalk singletrack to full blown routes over the rolling hills. Starting in the car park on Scare Hill, head west over the A23, following the Monarch’s Way over to Oak Farm before turning north and the scenic highlight of the ride, Devil’s Dyke. After Pycombe you climb one of the finest viewpoints in the area, Ditchling Beacon, before returning to your start point via Stanmer Woods (follow your nose for extra singletrack options) and the Sussex Border Path.
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The Gap and Brynore
38.9km (24.2 miles)
A Welsh classic that ranks up there with Snowdon for pure mountain exposure and views. Starting in Brecon, the trail winds up at an easy pace on the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal before starting to gain altitude gradually on the Brynore Tramway. At this point the views over the Talybont Reservoir, then later the Pontsticill Reservoir, are top-notch and you haven’t even gained all your height yet. The most panoramic views are reserved for the top of The Gap, a track that tops out at 600m before descending down the amphitheatre of Cwm Cynwyn back to Brecon.
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