After asking our social followers and gathering the thoughts of the top minds at Chain Reaction, we’ve managed to put together a selection of the UK’s must-ride trails.
So do yourself a favour – if you’re yet to ride any of the below, then it’s definitely the time to treat yourself to a trip.
If you’ve got a trail you think should have made the list, or disagree with any of our choices then let us know on Instagram.
#1 The Golfie
The off-piste trails at the world-famous Golfie are a dream for riders who relish the challenge of natural terrain. Flat White, Repeat Offender and 3G are just some of the must-do trails that twist their way down the steep slopes of the valley.
- Where: Scotland border region. Approx 1 hour drive south of Edinburgh.
- Best for: Super steep, natural and technical riding.
- What we say about it: “The Golfie is full of really challenging trails with steep, technical riding that’s not for beginners. If you’ve got a bit of experience and like to test your skill, it’s definitely worth the trip.” – Matt, Chain Reaction.
If natural rides aren’t your thing, then head down the road for one of the best trail centres in the UK, Glentress. 71km of purpose-built trails sprinkled with everything you need from swoopy berms, technical rock gardens and sensational singletrack and you’ll have trouble leaving this MTB Mecca.
- Where: Peebles, Scotland. Approx 1 hour drive from Edinburgh.
- Best for: A massive variety of well built, flowy, fast and fun trail centre trails.
- What we say about it: “The first time I rode in Glentress blew my mind. Hours of riding on some of the finest trail centre singletrack in the country, it’s hard to beat. Go flat-out on the blues or head to the reds and the blacks for a tougher challenge – it’s all so good.” – Ross, Chain Reaction.
#3 BikePark Wales
With over 50 well-maintained trails, BikePark Wales is something else. An instant success story, it caters to all levels of riders from novices to downhill warriors and everything in between. A slick uplift service minimises wasted time waiting for your next adrenalin fix down, and there’s a nice singletrack climb if you want to earn your descents too.
- Where: Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales.
- Best for: The ultimate trail centre destination in the UK.
- What we say about it: “BikePark Wales is leading the way in becoming a destination resort in the UK for MTB riders. With so many trails to choose from – from easy greens to hardcore jump lines – there’s something for all types of rider, with a first class uplift service and an epic cafe too!” – Neill, Chain Reaction.
#4 Coed y Brenin
Coed y Brenin was one of the very first official trail centres way back in 1997 and is still highly regarded today. Located in the Eryri National Park, there are a plethora of trails from an 11km green suitable for beginners right up to the intimidatingly named Beast of Brenin, a 38km black graded trail that combines two shorter routes into one extremity challenging trail that will leave you exhausted and elated.
- Where: Dolgellau, North Wales.
- Best for: Epic all-weather trail rides in the wilderness of North Wales.
- What we say about it: “Coed y Brenin has evolved a lot since it began life as the UK’s first official trail centre back in 1997. There’s plenty to get stuck into whether you’re a novice rider taking on the green and blue loops or someone more advanced who wans to tackle the more challenging black and reds. The backdrop of the rugged landscape just adds to the adventure in Coed y Brenin!” – Shannon, Chain Reaction.
On the shores of Carlingford Lough, Rostrevor in Northern Ireland offers a choice of trails to suit all abilities but the jewel in the crown is a 27km red trail that will test your skills and stamina. If that’s not challenging enough, a 19km black trail will push your handling skills to the limit. There’s also an uplift service if you want to ride the two dedicated downhill tracks.
- Where: Newry, Northern Ireland.
- Best for: Endless trail centre singeltrack or blasting out runs on the downhill trails.
- What we say about it: “For Northern Ireland riders, nothing comes close to Rostrevor for epic all-day riding. If the 27km red trail isn’t enough to get your blood pumping, then the black trail certainly will. For gravity lovers, the two downhill runs are a perfect addition and uplift-assisted most weekends! The views over Carlingford lough are worth taking a breather for too.” – Sean, Chain Reaction.
#6 Danny Hart’s Descend Bike Park
If UK Downhill Legend Danny Hart is involved, you know it’s going to be a blast. Descend Bike Park in Hamsterley Forest is littered with top class downhill trails packed with steep rock sections, drop offs, step downs and more. A dedicated 4X track is perfect for racing mates or having a blast on. [Image by @jwdtphotography]
- Where: Hamsterley, County Durham, England.
- Best for: Smashing out downhill runs.
- What we say about it: “This was one of the most requested bike parks when we asked our community which trails they wanted to see featured. We can see why – with a range of downhill tracks which are ever-evolving, it’s so good to see even more choice for gravity riders.” – Becca, Chain Reaction.
#7 Forest of Dean
There’s a bit of everything at the Forest of Dean, located in Gloucester in the south of England. A great mix of trail centre trails, natural off-piste tracks plus skills areas and a pump track should help hone your off-road ability.
- Where: Gloucestershire, England.
- Best for: Miles of trails to suit a range of riders.
- What we say about it: “FOD was hugely popular when we asked our Insta followers to vote on their favourite UK trails – loads of trails of varying difficulty, plus natural tracks and a brilliant post-ride cafe. What’s not to like?!” – James, Chain Reaction.
#8 Farmer Johns
Focussed mainly on the gravity side of mountain biking, Farmer Johns is a cool spot based on the edge of the Peak District. The downhill tracks range from Red (experienced) all the way to Severe Black (pro) and slither through techy woods sections, rock gardens and more. There’s also a well-maintained dirt jump park with superb DJ trails.
- Where: Stockport, England.
- Best for: Downhill and dirt jump riding.
- What we say about it: “Another popular MTB park in the north of England, Farmer Johns has a great mix of downhill tracks and dirt jumps to get your adrenaline fix. It’s a regular There’s an excellent cafe to refuel or relax after a hard day of riding.” – Clare, Chain Reaction.
Packed with a huge variety of runs, these Sheffield-based trails are a must-ride. A proper mix of cross-country style loops, enduro trails plus downhill runs, Wharncliffe is best known for its super techy rock drops and being the training ground of UK MTB legend Steve Peat.
- Where: Sheffield, England.
- Best for: A massive variety of trails from XC to super technical.
- What we say about it: “This is another riding spot that’s helped shape some of the best riders the world has seen – so you know it’s got something special about it. It’s perfect for sessioning on a long travel downhill bike, or head to the miles of singletrack which slither through the trees. Just make sure the tech sections don’t catch you out!” – Jess, Chain Reaction.
#10 Davagh Forest
Surrounded by spectacular countryside and offering a 16km red graded trail peppered by challenging rock slabs, Davagh is a gem in the heart of Northern Ireland. If you want something gentler there’s a 7.5km blue and a 3km green loop ideal for families with children making a good place for the whole family to enjoy a day out.
- Where: 6 miles from Cookstown, Northern Ireland.
- Best for: All-weather trail centre blasts.
- What we say about it: “If you’ve watched any of our YouTube channel, chances are you’ve seen Davagh! One of my favourite places to ride, it’s got a mix of fast descents through tree-lined trails, sketchy rock drops, superb singletrack and the odd rock slab ride too. The Stream Trail is worth a quick shout out – I just wish it kept on going for longer…!” – John, Chain Reaction.
#11 Dyfi Bike Park
One of the UK’s most popular downhill riding spots, Dyfi has it all. The home of the Atherton riding dynasty and sculpted to perfection, this place is an absolute dream for gravity riders. There are over 10 tracks to choose from, supported by an efficient uplift service.
- Where: Machynlleth, Wales.
- Best for: Downhill riding on some of the UK’s best tracks.
- What we say about it: “We joined Gee Atherton for a day at the Dyfi Bike Park quite recently and were blown away by the downhill tracks here. One of the most popular destinations for amateurs and pros alike, Dyfi is a must-visit for its incredibly built trails and jaw-dropping jumps.” – Dave, Chain Reaction.
Whinlatter Forest in the Lake District has three trail centre loops, offering a mix of flowing singletrack, steep climbs, technical black sections and epic views. Stray off the beaten track and there are some prime natural trails too…
- Where: Keswick, England.
- Best for: Fast trail centre blasts.
- What we say about it: “Whinlatter has plenty of hardpack trails, perfect for high-octane blasts, and offers some jaw dropping views over the local landscape. Most famous for its red loops, Whinlatter has plenty to offer including flowy singletrack, berms, jumps and some techy features to hone your skills.” – Hannah, Chain Reaction.