Over a third of bikes sold in the United Kingdom are mountain bikes. However, what was once seen as a very male-dominated hobby, is becoming increasingly popular with all members of the family, providing a way for parents to reconnect with their children, improve mental health and discover the natural wildlife and landscape that’s often on their doorstep.
Evans Cycles recently asked UK cyclists of all abilities to share their secret mountain bike routes, including amazing views, wonderful wildlife and fantastic terrain.
Here are ten of the best, as nominated and photographed by cyclists across the UK:
1.Blue Lagoon, St. David’s Headland – Pembrokeshire
With its historic rugged coastline and 23 miles of historical gems, this picturesque route around the end of the St. David’s headland takes in a view of Ramsey Island, three National Trust commons, The Blue Lagoon at Abereiddy, disused cliff-edge stone quarries, a one-armed church, Solvia harbour and an old airfield. It’s perfect for cyclists who love to explore and are partial to stopping off for a photograph or two. Nominated by Candice Rau.
2. Poppleton – North Yorkshire
One for cyclists who prefer to take it easy while going off-road. This route from Nether Poppleton in North Yorkshire, which goes out towards Moor Monkton, offers a very easy and peaceful cycle with a variety of wildlife along the River Ouse, including herons, swallows and kingfishers. Nominated by Nigel Peacock.
3. Moel Famau – North Wales
The ride up to Moel Famau in Wales might be challenging, but the top promises views of the Clwydian Range, Cader Idris, Snowdon and even Liverpool on a clear day. It’s made even better when the sun is setting, but be careful on your way back down! Nominated by Hannah Jones.
4. Malvern Hills, Worcestershire
Starting from the Beacon Road car park and working up the ridgeline of the Malvern Hills, this ride’s summit provides you with impressive views of Worcestershire and Herefordshire. The 7-mile route also includes benches to stop and enjoy the surroundings. Nominated by Edyta Rice.
5. Meldon Hills – Scottish Borders
Nestled in the Meldon Hills in the Scottish Borders, this ride stretches between Romanobridge and Eddleston. Not for the faint hearted, it provides plenty of challenging hills and rewarding, exhilarating downs. Nominated by Elizabeth Barker.
6. Havannah Nature Reserve – Newcastle upon Tyne
From Newcastle Great Park, the route ventures into Havannah Nature Reserve, taking in the wetland and woodland sites while never straying too far from the hustle and bustle of the city. This ride is even more impressive during the Autumn months. Nominated by Goran Erfani.
7. Wast Water – Lake District
Beginning and finishing in the Wasdale Head Inn, the rough 15-mile route, which is largely untouched and undiscovered, heads down towards Wast Water and Wasdale Head from Over Beck. The water is pure and drinkable, ideal if you run out during your ride. Nominated by Matt Fowler.
8. Tetney Lock – Lincolnshire
Meandering from Cleethorpes towards the boating lake, this ride combines coastal views with country trails, including amazing views of the Humber Estuary and impressive photo opportunities of the farmers fields in the area. The Crown and Anchor pub in Tetney also provides a great place for cyclists to stop off and refuel if you can’t wait for fish & chips when you return to Cleethorpes. Nominated by Josephine Pett.
9. Haughmond Hill Quarry – Shropshire
Commencing at Haughmond Hill Quarry, this route trails around 11 miles to Uffington Road, providing amazing views of Shrewsbury and the surrounding area. The cycle is predominantly across woodland and includes lots of winding downhill descents. Nominated by Sophie Cartwright and her son, Corey.
10. Arne Nature Reserve – Dorset
As its name suggests, this route is great for nature lovers with plenty of wildlife on display throughout. Starting just outside Wareham, the six-mile ride works it’s way around the Arne nature reserve and also includes a pub along the way, great for a drink and a bite to eat. Nominated by Michael Emmett.
David Greenwood, Senior Marketing Manager at Evans Cycles, said:
“The UK is packed with great, well-known mountain biking routes, but sometimes it’s the little-known paths, trails and passages that are on our own doorsteps that provide the real magic.
“We’ve received an overwhelming response from cyclists of all levels when we asked the public to submit their favourite, secret MTB destinations, so we hope our guide to the lesser-known mountain biking routes up-and-down the country inspire more people to get on their bikes and try somewhere new.”
To see more of the nation’s favourite mountain bike routes, visit the Evans Cycles website.