Perfect for winter bluebird days
Rare but beautiful – bright, crisp winter days are worth getting up early for. Here are five trails that’ll roll in most conditions.
1. Northern Dartmoor Classic
Ride time? 6-8 hours
Why ride it? Challenging riding, great scenery, mild climate
Where to eat? Ring o’ Bells, North Bovey
GPS download: po.st/LustleighGrimspound
We just love this route – enthralling riding in equally as amazing settings. The South West also tends to have milder winters than most of the UK. North Bovey (Landranger 191/ SX740838) is an easy to get to starting place. Head E then SE over Hunter’s Tor and drop before cutting back S then W then S then E into Lustleigh. A BW leads SW from SX783806 to a bridge. Then climb W to Water. Take tarmac S then SW onto Black Hill, where a track leads W to Leigho, looping S around Greator Rocks to Hound Tor. NW To Jay’s Grave, then W and continue to Grimspound and down to the road. Head N briefly, then loop W around Headland Warren to Bennett’s Cross and climb back E to the road on Hookney Tor. Drop NE to Shapely and continue back to North Bovey.
2. A big lap of Ladybower, Peak District
Ride time? 5-6 Hours
Why ride it? A big day out and awesome all-conditions riding
Where to eat? Cafe Adventure in Hope
GPS download: po.st/Ladybower
From Hope (Landranger 110/SK171835), the the A6187 to Castleton and keep R to follow the broken Mam Tor Rd then tarmac up into the col next to Mam Tor. Traverse NE on BW to Hollins Cross (busy) then drop to Nether Booth. Take the BW NE from Clough Farm to Crookstone Barn and continue NW then NE to the road. Climb NE then SE to Hagg Farm and descend N before hooking back S to Fairholmes. Cross behind the dam and track SE along the shore of the reservoir. A brutal climb E gains Derwent Edge and continue S to Whinstone Lee Tor. Descend E again to Cutthroat Bridge, then SW to the road. Continue S for 1km, cross the dam, then head S on cycle track and lanes to Thornhill and on to Hope.
3. The Duddon Valley
Ride time? 5-6 hours
Why ride it? Fun techie riding on surfaces that work in most conditions.
Where to eat? The Blacksmith’s Arm in Broughton in Furness
GPS download: po.st/Duddon
OK, 34km doesn’t sound long, but this is a technical day with a lot of climbing – it’s not quick. Take tarmac N from Duddon Bridge (Landranger 96/SD199883) taking the first track NE then BW NW then N on tarmac to Whistling Green and E on BWs to SD217932. A climb and drop leads N to Seathwaite and tarmac continues N to the picnic spot at Hinning Ho. Take forest roads S to Grassguards then on a BW S to Wallabarrow. More lanes continue S to Millbrow, where a track takes over to cross Ulpha Park. Tarmac then continues SE then SW before a final BW leads SE across the fell to descend sweetly to the finish.
4. Black Mountains Classic
Ride time? 7-8 hours
Why ride it? One of the best mountain routes in Wales
Where to eat? The Bear at Crickhowell
GPS download: po.st/BlackMountains
This is a huge loop – start early – but it’s awesome even in winter. A true classic. Start in Crickhowell (Landranger 161/SO219184) and take tarmac N for 10km to Hermitage. Climb NW to Bwlch Trumau, and descend sweetly NW to the road. Take tarmac N then then a track W to Castell Dinas, then N on dirt then tarmac, past Ffosrhys. A brutal BW climb heads E up Y Das, where a long descent drops to Blaen-y-cwm. Head S for 2km then follow fire roads W then S to emerge on Disgwlfa. Sandy singletrack drops SW to Henbant, and a permissive BW drops to the road. Lanes and tracks lead W to Llanbedr and back to Crickhowell.
5. The Devil’s Staircase and the Ciaran Path
Ride time? 5 hours
Why ride it? Some of the best natural singletrack anywhere
Where to eat? The Clachaig, Glencoe
GPS download: po.st/KinlochWHW
This is an awesome mountain route that incorporates one of our favourite ever descents and a one-time Trail of the Year winner. From Altnafeadh (Landranger 41/NN220563), take the West Highland Way up the brutally steep Devil’s Staircase N. Cross the summit and descend (recently resurfaced) to NN202604. Head E on a well-surfaced track to the dam, cross below it and follow singletrack to the N end of the dam. Take the Ciaran Path W all the way back to Kinlochleven and follow the WHW back over the first summit and down to the road.