British mountain bikers are spoilt for choice when is comes to places to ride as the UK is home to so many excellent trail centres, with Wales and Scotland having way more than their fair share!
Here’s five fantastic trail centres (well, technically six) that we reckon every mountain biker should have on their bucket list…
Coed y Brenin
The UK’s first recognised trail centre is a must-ride for any serious mountain biker and with eight trails (plus Y Foundri skills area) at 148km in total, you’ll need a fair few days to ride every single kilometre.
Located in the foothills of Snowdonia, there’s plenty of Welsh rock around and chunks of granite have been put to good use in building some seriously rocky trails – we’d definitely recommend riding full-sus bikes on most of them. There’s a cafe and well equipped shop at the trail centre where they also have bikes for hire should you need to.
The Beast and Dragon’s Back are seriously action packed and riding them well is the mark of a real mountain biker.
Near Dolgellau, North Wales
With 28 different descents ranging from fun blues to super technical black runs, there’s masses of riding options whatever your skill and experience level. The trails may be fairly short, but they are, fast, feature packed and ridiculously fun. Some of our favourites are Sixtapod, Wibbly Wobbly and Enter the Dragon.
While there’s several routes that allow you to ride up to the top of the trailhead, to get the most out of a day at BPW, we’d definitely recommend getting a day pass for the uplift. Be warned though, it’s usually booked up well in advance, so plan ahead.
Bikepark Wales is one of the few places in the UK where you have to pay to ride, but on the flipside the car park is free. The facilities are excellent with a café, bike hire and bike shop.
Near Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales
While the Lake District is home to a host of great MTB trails, we reckon that Whinlatter’s red rated Altura trail is the pick of a high quality bunch.
This 19km figure of eight trail comprises two sections, the North and South, and both feature ramped and switchback strewn climbs (don’t forget to admire the stunning views), followed by epic berm and jump filled descents that will have you grinning your face off by the time you reach the bottom.
There’s also the 7.5km blue graded Quercus trail, a bike shop and excellent café with an massive array of cakes.
Near Braithwaite, Lake District
Glentress and Innerleithen
While only a few miles apart, Glentress and Innerleithen are at extreme ends of the spectrum in terms of trail centre facilities. Glentress is state of the art with every facet you can think of, while at Innerleithen the only facility is a car park.
With 73km of brilliant, graded trails at Glentress, including our favourite, Spooky Woods on the red, it would be easy to overlook Innerleithen, but to do so would be to miss out on its awesome red XC Trail.
Yes, there’s a seriously gruelling climb to contend with, but the super long and surprisingly steep and technical trip back down is a complete and utter rush that require very little pedal turning for miles. There’s also a load of DH runs at Innerleithen and an uplift.
Near Peebles, Southern Scotland
Afan Forest Park
The M4 into South Wales is an expressway to some of the best MTB trails in the UK with Afan Forest Park being near the western end of it. Confusingly Afan consists of two trail centres five miles apart, one being the Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre, while the other is Glencorrwg Ponds.
Of the two, Glencorrwg Ponds is better equipped with a decent bike shop and bike hire, but both have cafes, toilets etc. Which one you choose mainly depends on which of the eight trails you want to ride. Afan being the start of Blue Scar, Penhydd and Y Wal and The Rookie, while White’s Level and Skyline both kick off at Glencorrwg.
All the trails (bar The Rookie and Blue Scar) are proper tests of your fitness and bike handling skills with twisting singletrack and rocky, rooty descents. For the ultimate challenge though, try the W2 trail which combines Y Wal and White’s Level into a 44km beast of a ride!
Near Port Talbot, South Wales