The Cycleplan Blog

Best off-road cycle routes

Below are some of our favourite off road pursuits, full of climbs and stunning scenery to challenge all riders!

#1 The Hawes

The Hawes in the Yorkshire dales is a tough 51 mile loop. The Tan Hill Road Circuit through the Yorkshire Dales National Park features rugged scenery, silence, peacefulness and the highest pub in Britain. So head on up and enjoy a pint for your efforts!

#2 Grand Tour of Pendle

Plenty of challenging off road climbs exist in the UK
Plenty of challenging off road climbs exist in the UK

If it’s roller-coaster hills you’re after, the Grand Tour of Pendle (Lancashire) is a gloriously daunting cycle from Colne railway station through rugged moorland on towards the rural splendour of the Ribble Valley before returning through the industrial heritage of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Corridor. At 32 miles it’s deceptively hard and designed to be completed over two days, a real challenge even for the fittest bikers. Quiet roads, moorland and fantastic views make this tough ride one that’s worth a go.

#3 Swinley Forest

In contrast the Swinley Forest in Berkshire is ideal for novices and newcomers as it has fewer hills than some areas. It is a 2,600 acre pine wood, featuring a beautifully crafted network of trails. There are easy and moderate routes, but for those who are searching for more of a challenge the severe and extreme routes will satisfy your riding needs!

#4 Forest of Dean

Find Chepstow, then draw a line north to Monmouth, then north-east to Ross-on-Wye and south-east to Westbury-on-Severn, then back along the Severn’s west bank to Chepstow. Inside this diamond shape sits the Forest of Dean. It boasts spectacular mountain views and is very much a cycling-friendly forest.

#5 Coed Llandegla, North Wales

A private wood with a mix of trails and taster-jumps for those who want a bit more adventure from their bike ride! The forest provides a range of routes suitable for all cyclists of a range of abilities and fitness levels. Bike hire is also available here making it a great option for a family day out.

#6 Fort William

The craggy tops surrounding the town of Fort William in Scotland play host to the annual Mountain Bike World Cup. Technically difficult, the 15km Witch’s trail starts from the Nevis Range ski centre and climbs towards fast, rocky descent sections. Breathtaking.

#7 Grizedale

Going off road will lead you to thrills!
Going off road will lead you to thrills!

Grizedale, Cumbria. 16km of fantastic views, testing climbs and technical excitement, there are also forest sculptures so you can enjoy some art on your ride! There are more than enough cycling trails to choose from and bike hire too.

#8 Glentress

Glentress in Scotland has been described as ‘the UK’s number-one mountain bike destination’ by Ian Warby, trail expert at CTC. A mountain biking mecca, Glentress and Innerleithen are situated in the Tweed Valley. With trails for all grades – green, blue, red and black – there is something for everyone. Innerleithen is for the more experienced rider with awesome downhill and freeride trails, plus a red graded XC route. The surrounding area also provides a rich variety of things to see and do other than mountain biking.

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