Mountain Biking

Mountain biking can be a exciting, intense and exhilarating sport that is tough on the body however it can also provide you with fantastic opportunities to view amazing parts of the world with spectacular views as well as areas that are often unseen or not usually visited. From the mountains of Scotland to the challenging terrain of Yorkshire and the fine landscapes in Wales, the UK is home to some truly amazing mountain biking routes.

Starting in England we find Swinley Forest in Berkshire, a great place to visit for novices or beginners, this region has a wonderful network of trails throughout the 2,600 acre pine wood which are beautifully crafted to provide you with the best experience possible. There is also some rides in this area that will test more experienced riders as well.

Another fantastic mountain biking hot spot is Coed Llandegla in North Wales, this is a stunning private wood home to many great trails as well as 12km teasing beginners' ride. There are gentle uphill sections that then transform into exciting down hill tracks with taster-jumps to add in a bit of excitement. This is another great area to visit if you are only just starting out and looking to improve your skills and ability.

Glentress in Scotland is another story, described as 'the UK's number one mountain bike destination'. Glentress is one of Scotland's famed 7stanes top-level biking centres and is home to some fantastic trails from beginner trails that are labelled green up to the more intense and advanced black courses for the experienced biker. The forestry commission in the Glentress forest have invested a lot of money into providing a fantastic mountain biking opportunity for all abilities. The mountain biking mecca is found in the heart of the beautiful Tweed Valley so make sure to take in the stunning sights and amazing wildlife as you pass by.

Grizedale in Cumbria is our next top location for mountain biking. It is also a fantastic location for many other sports so in the unlikely event that you get bored or your family needs entertaining, Cumbria is an ideal location for a luxury cottage break with fantastic mountain biking thrown in. The North face Trail in the Grizedale forest may sound worrying but it is actually a great trail with many of the fantastic elements that mountain biking is all about. The 16 kilometre trail is packed with fabulous views, challenging climbs and fantastic technical excitement. Also you can always stop and admire the beautiful forest sculptures if you need a break.

Travelling to mid Wales in Machynlleth you can experience a great 15km round trip. The Cli-Machx trail through the Dyfi Forest provides 8 tricksy berms or banks and the professional bike tester Guy Kesteven predicts that" you will probably be screaming" when riding this trail. Moving North when find our next top place to mountain bike, Coed y Brenin. This cycling oasis boasts great facilities as well as 6 trails from the easy for a beginner or novice to the beastly advanced course. There is also the 9km high speed downhill course, Temtiwr trail which only takes up to an hour.

Moving very north now back up to Scotland there is Fort William, situated in the Scottish highlands, the craggy tops surrounding this town play annual host to the Mountain bike world cup. Making it an obvious mecca for the mountain biking enthusiast. There is a 15km Witch's Trail starting from the infamous Ben Nevis ski centre and climbing towards fast rocky descent sections. Described as a 'tough, technical and terrific' course to experience.

In Southern Scotland we find another of the 7stanes, one of the lesser known but still as impressive, Kirroughtree. Here you can experience a exciting buzz through forest as well as open country from easy patches to tough and technical areas. The latter includes the 31km Black craigs trail which is abundant with areas that have scary sounding names!

Further south and moving back into England we find some excellent mountain biking routes in Calderdale, Yorkshire. The Mary Towneley loop is an exciting challenge because of both the distance, around about 47 miles and the terrain as your cross the pennines twice. Karl Bartlett described it as the 'more serious kind of mountain biking'.

Finally why not try the new craze open to bikers, Heli-biking. Pack your bike into a helicopter and enjoy the rise into the peaks and then take the exhiliarating route down with the help of gravity.

Across the sea you can also enjoy some fantastic mountain biking whilst your family enjoy relaxing on a country cottage holiday in Ireland. There are amazing mountain biking trails throughout the country but some of the best trails are found around Burren National Park, three rock willie Wicklow djouce, Doonbeg in county Kilkee, Knockmealtdown mountains and Aran island.


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