Watersmeet in Exmoor, Grizedale Forest in the Lakes, the Great Glen Way in Invergarry, Glyn Ceiriog in the Berwyns and Grovely Wood in Wiltshire.
Almost every survey we see suggests getting close to nature is one of the main reasons we like to ride. And there’s no better time to get close to nature than spring, when the hills and forests start to regenerate. Here’s a few of our favourite springtime outings.
1. Great Glen Way, Invergarry
Ride time: 2-3 hours
Why ride it? Good all-weather outing
Where to eat? Café in the Invergarry Heritage Centre
GPS download: po.st/GreatGlenWay
This is a fun little loop around the central Highlands. Well sheltered and good for any weather but definitely at its best in the spring. From the Invergarry Heritage Centre (Landranger 34/NH296011) take the lane to Faichem and head into the campsite. Double back sharp R then loop L to head N keep Loch Lundie to your L. Stay with this N then E then S to Bridge of Oich. Here, turn R onto the road, then R again onto the Great Glen Way. Climb into the forest and follow it SW, eventually enjoying a great, switchback descent back into Invergarry.
2. Glyn Ceiriog, Berwyn Hills
Ride time: 5-6 hours
Why ride it? Remote tracks in a little-explored area
Where to eat? West Arms Hotel, Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog
GPS download: po.st/GlynCeiriog
There are more tracks than you can shake a track pump at in the Berwyn Hills. And few of them see any real traffic. This loop is great in spring when the verges and woodlands really come to life. From Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog (Landranger 125/SJ357128), follow a good track N to over Bryn Du to Ty’n-y-pistyll then jink R, L, R on the road to then track E over Cefn Canol to Glyn Ceiriog. Leave town SW on B4579, then take tracks S to SJ225325 and then SE to Rhydycroesau. Take the track SW from to Coed Crochion, and then NW across the B4580 to Clyrun. Head W to Fron, then NW then N, around Hen Graig and on to Tregieriog. L to finish.
3. Grizedale Forest, Lake District
Ride time: 1.5-3 hours
Why ride it? Great singletrack climb and awesome natural trail descents
Where to eat? Visitor Centre or Eagles Head, Satterthwaite
GPS download: po.st/GrizedaleSpring
Grizedale really comes into its own in the spring – and this ride combines great trails, great views and a bluebell or 2 if you time it right. For the best opener, start at the Visitor Centre (Landranger 98/SD334943) and follow the signs for the North Face Trail that climbs first on a gravel track and then on some really great singletrack to the top of the forest. Stay with the signs on forest tracks to a large fingerpost at SD318943. Turn L and follow a great, scenic track to Low Parkamoor and steeply up to T into another track. Break L to cross the felltop and at a x-road, take the BW SA. Follow this across 2 forest roads to Satterthwaite and follow the road back to the centre.
4. Grovely Wood, Wiltshire
Ride time: 2-3 hours
Why ride it? Stunning woodland setting and fun tracks
Where to eat? Royal Oak, Great Wishford
GPS download: po.st/GrovelyWood
One of our favourite Wiltshire rides at any time, but even better when carpeted with snowdrops in the spring. Start in a layby SW of Great Wishford (Landranger 184/SU062347), and head up SW to Grovely Lodge. Take the broad track NW to the road, where a L then L will get you onto another broad track (Monarch’s Way). Take this SE, eventually climbing onto Crouch’s Down. Continue E to a major junction at SU083323 and turn sharp L then fork R to climb NW into the wood again. Continue for 2km to a x-roads and bear R across Haddon Hill and down to Great Wishford. Turn L and L again to finish.
5. Watersmeet, Exmoor
Ride time: 4-5 hours
Why ride it? A bit of everything and great views too
Where to eat? Lynmouth has it all
GPS download: po.st/Watersmeet
Exmoor is well-known for its coast and moors, but less so for its woodland. Time to put that right. If you start at Lynmouth (Landranger 181/SS724494) then it’s down to finish and plenty of places for fish & chips on the sea front to wrap it. Climb E on the A39 to Countisbury then follow a BW S to Rockford. Turn R and R again to gain the Watersmeet path. At Hillsford Bridge take the BW to Combe Park and climb away from the track to continue to a road. Turn R taking tarmac to West Lyn, then track NW to the B3234. Turn L to climb then follow lanes that wind up to a BW on Caffyn Heanton Down. Follow this N to the coast and turn R to climb on tarmac through the Valley of the Rocks to Lynton, where you drop back to Lynmouth.