Want to try something different?
Ridden all of our 20 best mountain bike trails in the UK? Done the classics to death? Want to try something different? Here is the UK’s secret singletrack.
1. Glyndwr’s Way and Foel Fadian, Mid-Wales
22km (13 miles)
GPS download: po.st/glyndwr
Two peachy trails in one: the first drops west from Penycrocbren on a slither of unlikely singletrack that just keeps on giving. Good tracks then lead north past Glaslyn where it breaks west down the flanks of Foel Fadian. It starts a little techy, then plummets to Aberhosan where you’re faced with a monster climb. From grid reference SN883924 take the little lane that climbs north-west from Staylittle and continue west along the ridgetop to join the waymarked Glyndwr’s way. To finish, climb east from Aberhosan to the memorial, then simply head back to Penycrocbren where you can retrace your tracks.
2. Water to Lustleigh Cleave, Dartmoor
20km (12 miles)
GPS download: po.st/dartmoor
This is a popular area, but this little gem is hidden deep in the woods and is often overlooked. Kick off from Houndtor (SX739792) and spin south-west to Greator Rocks then north around Black Hill. A mix of road and great bridleways loop you south of Yarner Wood and lead to the big climb — Houndtor Wood. At the top, break right to Water and right again to a pretty-looking bridleway. Fork right again and savour every minute of the rocky horror show that follows — it’s steep, but grippy. Cross the bridge and climb to join a traversing trail that leads to Foxworthy. Now work your way up to Manaton then over Hayne Down to finish.
3. Wallowbarrow Crag, Lake District
16km (10 miles)
GPS download: po.st/wallow
Start in Seathwaite (SD228961) and warm up on the road as you climb north to the car park at Froth Pot. Take the forest track left then swing south-west and ignore a drive and two tracks on the left before swinging left down to Grassguards. Cross the stream, go straight through the yard and keep ahead, between walls. It eventually steepens for one of Lakeland’s best and least-known descents. Take the road and jink left then right to climb into the fells. Then break left, then left again to continue climbing to the col above. Now enjoy a rocky rollercoaster all the way down to the finish.
4. Grim’s Ditch, Chiltern Hills
16km (10 miles)
GPS download: po.st/grimsditch
Grim’s Ditch is probably no secret to the riders living in this part of the world, but it almost certainly will be to those living further out. It’s quite amazing that such a narrow, undulating slither of dirt can remain so well preserved in such a busy part of the world, but the fact that it follows the line of an ancient earthworks probably helps. The easiest loop is to head south from Wallingford (SU612894) to Littlestoke Manor, then follow the Swan’s Way east then north to join the Ridgeway at Grim’s Ditch. Lap up the singletrack — perhaps even pop back for a second go — then follow the cyclepath north back to town.