The best places to cycle without worrying about traffic

June 06, 2023 18 min read

The best places to cycle without worrying about traffic

Looking for fun, safe riding options away from traffic? Discover local, quiet trails and family friendly routes across the UK with Traffic-Free Cycle Trails. Below we've highlighted one route from each of the book's ten regional sections, which cover each part of Britain. The book features over 400 trails including railway paths, forestry routes, canal towpaths, round-reservoir routes, purpose-built cycle paths and easier ridge rides on byways and bridleways. A few of the trails have sealed surfaces so it is best to use a mountain or hybrid bike. Children’s bikes are normally built to withstand knocks and will cope with all of the easier trails.



Flat Lode Trail Camborne

This well-waymarked circuit is a real celebration of the area’s mining heritage and at every turn it seems there is another atmospheric ruin, characterised by the typical tall chimney. The trail is predominantly on improved gravel tracks with occasional short sections of lane. There are one or two short, steep climbs where you may wish to push, rewarded with fine views out into the surrounding countryside, dotted with clumps of yellow gorse and even the occasional glimpse of the sea.

Distance: 8-mile circuit

Starting point & parking

The main car park for the trail is on the minor road south-west of Carnkie, a hamlet lying 3 miles south-west of Redruth. There are a few much smaller parking spots around the course of the route.

On your bikes!

There are too many junctions to describe in detail but the route is very well waymarked, either as ‘Flat Lode Trail’ or with a black icon of a mining chimney. There are several short climbs, two of them quite steep.

Station: Camborne.

TIC: Redruth, 01209 219048.

Refreshments: Brea Inn, Carn Brea. Lots of choice in Camborne and Redruth.

Other trails:

2 Cornish Mineral Tramways Coast to Coast Trail

3 Camel Trail: Padstow to Wadebridge and Bodmin

4 Pentewan Valley, St Austell

5 Clay Trails, Bugle

6 Cardinham Woods, Bodmin

7 Tarka Trail: Braunton to Barnstaple

8 Tarka Trail: Barnstaple to Bideford

9 Tarka Trail: Bideford to Meeth

10 Granite Way, south of Okehampton

11 Drakes Trail, Plymouth

12 Princetown Tramway, Dartmoor

13 Wray Valley & Stover Trail, Bovey Tracey

14 Exe Estuary Trail: Dawlish – Exeter – Exmouth

15 Haldon Forest, south-west of Exeter

16 Exeter along the River Exe

17 Grand Western Canal, east of Tiverton

18 Exmouth to Budleigh Salterton

19 Bridgwater & Taunton Canal

20 Willow Walk, west of Glastonbury

21 Strawberry Line: Yatton to Cheddar

22 Colliers Way: Radstock to Frome

23 Severn Bridge Cyclepath

24 Bristol to Pill Riverside Path

25 Forest of Dean Family Trail, south-west of Gloucester

26 Coleford to Parkend & Cannop Wharf, Forest of Dean

27 Gloucester & Sharpness Canal, south of Gloucester

28 Stroud Valleys Cycle Trail, south of Gloucester

29 Bristol & Bath Railway Path

30 Kennet & Avon Canal: Bath to Bradford-on-Avon

31 Kennet & Avon Canal:Bradford-on-Avon to Devizes



Newport to Sandown Isle of Wight

This ride forms part of what might be considered the easiest coast-to-coast ride in the country: from Cowes on the north coast of the Isle of Wight to Sandown on the east coast. The middle section is a complicated route on streets through Newport. The final part follows a railway path south and east across the island through rich agricultural land and clumps of broadleaf woodland, to arrive in Sandown and a chance for a paddle on the beach.

Distance: 8 miles each way

Starting points & parking

  1. Newport: the trail starts close to the junction of the A3020 with the B3401 Shide Road at the south-east edge of Newport.
  1. From Sandown railway station, turn right to go under the subway, turn right on Perowne Way, then after 400yds turn left just before the shops on to the start of the traffic-free trail.

Station: Sandown (connects with the ferry from Portsmouth to Ryde).

TIC: Newport, 01983 521555.

Refreshments: Lots of choice in Sandown and Newport.

Other trails:

2 Cowes to Newport Cycleway

3 New Forest, Hampshire

4 Test Way, Stockbridge

5 Queen Elizabeth Country Park

6 Centurion Way, Chichester

7 Alice Holt Forest, Farnham

8 Wey Navigation, Guildford

9 Downs Link (1): Bramley

10 Downs Link (2): Cranleigh

11 Downs Link (3): Southwater

12 Downs Link (4): Bramber

13 Brighton Promenade

14 Friston Forest, Eastbourne

15 Cuckoo Trail, Eastbourne

16 Worth Way, East Grinstead

17 Forest Way, East Grinstead

18 Tudor Trail, Tonbridge to Penshurst Place

19 Bewl Water, Lamberhurst

20 Bedgebury Forest, near Hawkhurst

21 Hythe Seafront

22 Dover to Folkestone

23 Reculver to Margate

24 Crab & Winkle Way, Canterbury

25 Basingstoke Canal (1): Odiham

26 Basingstoke Canal (2): Fleet

27 Basingstoke Canal (3): Weybridge

28 Norbury Park, Leatherhead

29 Horton Park, Epsom

30 Kennet & Avon Canal, Newbury

31 Kennet & Avon Canal, Reading

32 Thames: Reading to Sonning

33 The Look Out, Bracknell/Swinley Forest

34 Windsor Great Park

35 Wey Navigation, Weybridge

36 Thames west from Putney Bridge

37 Tamsin Trail, Richmond Park

38 Slough Arm, Grand Union Canal

39 Grand Union Canal: Denham

40 Thames: Greenwich to Erith

41 Thames through Oxford

42 Phoenix Trail, Thame

43 Wendover Woods, Chilterns

44 Milton Keynes to Winslow

45 Grand Union Canal, Leighton Buzzard

46 Milton Keynes and the Willen Lakes

47 Ouse Valley Trail, Milton Keynes

48 Grand Union Canal, Milton Keynes



Grand Union Canal between Hemel Hempstead & Tring Reservoir

The Grand Union Canal connects London to Birmingham, but it would take a brave person to jump on their bike at one end and imagine a straightforward ride to the other. There is an enormous variety of surfaces you will encounter from very rough and rutted to fine, smooth gravel; parts may be overgrown with vegetation, other parts are very narrow and then there are barriers to keep out motorbikes. So it is best to pick and choose the best bits. Parts of this ride, through Berkhamsted, for example, are as good as it gets. However, even on a ride like this there are short, rougher sections, so be prepared for these. The ride runs alongside Tring Summit, the highpoint of the canal

between London and the Midlands; to the north it drops down to Milton Keynes and to the south towards London. You won’t be stuck for refreshments on this ride as there are cafes at both ends and many pubs along the way, especially through Berkhamsted.

Distance: 12 miles each way

Starting points & parking

  1. Tring Reservoirs – Startops car park, north of Tring, on the B489 in Marsworth just south-west of Bluebell’s Tearoom.
  2. Apsley Marina/Nash Mills, Hemel Hempstead – just off the A4251 to the east of Apsley railway station.

On your bikes!

  1. From the Red Lion pub (by Nash Mills, at the southern edge of Hemel Hempstead) follow the canal towpath north-west towards Berkhamsted. Go past Apsley Marina.
  2. Go past the Fishery Inn then after 1 mile, another marina and the Three Horseshoes pub.
  3. The path improves through Berkhamsted as you pass several pubs and information boards about the history of the canal and the town itself.
  4. The surface is good as far as Cow Roast Lock. After this the path becomes narrower and at times overgrown. This is the summit section of the canal.
  5. The towpath improves again at Bulbourne as the canal starts its descent. It is suggested you go as far as Marsworth where there are two pubs and a cafe. There is also a car park here where you may prefer to start.

Station: Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted and Tring.

TIC: Tring, 01442 823347.

Refreshments: Red Lion pub, Hemel Hempstead. Fishery Inn, Boxmoor. Three Horseshoes pub, Bourne End. Lots of choice in Berkhamsted. Grand Junction Arms pub, Bulbourne. Bluebell Cafe, White Lion pub, Anglers Retreat pub, Marsworth.

Other trails:

2 Ashridge Estate, north-west of Hemel Hempstead

3 Nickey Line from Hemel Hempstead to Harpenden

4 Ebury Way from Rickmansworth to West Watford

5 Ayot Greenway from Wheathampstead, north of St Albans

6 Albanway from Hatfield to St Albans

7 Cole Green Way, west of Hertford

8 Lee Navigation (1): Hertford to Waltham Abbey

9 Lee Navigation (2): Islington to Waltham Abbey

10 Epping Forest, north of London

11 Flitch Way, west of Braintree

12 Valley Walk, Sudbury, north-west of Colchester

13 Colchester to Wivenhoe along the riverside path

14 Alton Water, south of Ipswich

15 Bedford to Sandy

16 Grafham Water, south-west of Huntingdon

17 Cambridge to Waterbeach

18 Rendlesham Forest, north-east of Ipswich

19 Peterborough & Ferry Meadows Country Park

20 Thetford Forest: north-west of Cambridge

21 Marriott’s Way, Norwich



Brixworth Country Park/Pitsford Water north of Northampton 

This cycle trail around Pitsford Water is a model of its kind, keeping you close to the water for the whole circuit, on well-maintained paths and avoiding time spent on roads, which is so often the failing of circuits around reservoirs. The lake is popular with swans, anglers and windsurfers, and if the wind is blowing strongly you may well witness some pretty amazing acrobatics by top-class windsurfers whizzing over the surface of the lake and turning on a sixpence! Anglian Water, in conjunction with Northamptonshire County Council, has been successful in gaining a grant from the Millennium Fund to provide ‘Access for All’ at Pitsford Water. Brixworth Country Park is being developed to include special gardens and ponds, tracks suitable for disabled access and a link to the Brampton Valley Way. It is intended that the project will provide an opportunity for everyone to experience the wonderful countryside around Pitsford Water.

Distance: 7-mile circuit of the reservoir

Starting point & parking

The visitor centre at Pitsford Water in Brixworth Country Park, off the A508, about 6 miles north of Northampton.

On your bikes!

From the visitor centre, head downhill towards the masts of the dinghies. At the main track around the reservoir you can turn right or left, as the circuit is signposted in both directions and there is

no obvious advantage one way or the other. The dam is at the western end of the circuit, close to the visitor centre; at the eastern end, the cycle trail uses the causeway across the water.

Station: Northampton or Kettering.

TIC: Northampton, 01604 367997.

Refreshments: Cafe at the visitor centre.

Other trails:

2 Brampton Valley Way

3 Market Harborough Arm: Grand Union Canal

4 Rutland Water

5 Leicester to Watermead Park

6 Ashby Woulds Moira Heritage Trail

7 Etwall to Derby

8 Cloud Trail, Derby

9 Derby to Elvaston Castle Country Park

10 Nutbrook Trail, Long Eaton

11 Shipley Country Park

12 River Trent through Nottingham

13 Southwell Trail

14 Newark to Cotham

15 Tissington Trail

16 Carsington Water

17 High Peak Trail

18 Monsal Trail

19 Five Pits Trail

20 Silverhill Trail

21 Pleasley Trails

22 Sherwood Pines Forest

23 Clumber Park

24 Worksop to Sherwood

25 Routes through Lincoln

26 Sett Valley Trail

27 Longdendale Trail

28 Upper Derwent Valley

29 Chesterfield Canal



Stratford Greenway south-west of Stratford-upon-Avon

Finding the start of the trail will be your hardest task when you choose to explore this railway path, running south-west from Shakespeare’s Stratford and crossing the River Avon on a fine metal bridge. The trail soon runs past the racecourse and a bike hire centre, operating out of an old railway carriage. It is an easy, wide, flat trail that forms part of National Cycle Network Route 5 from Oxford to Birmingham. Renowned as the birthplace of Shakespeare, the well-preserved market town of Stratford-upon-Avon is a showcase of Tudor architecture, its broad streets lined with half-timbered houses.

Distance: 5 miles each way

Starting points & parking

  1. Stratford-upon-Avon. It is very hard to give detailed instructions to get to the car park at the start, on the southern edge of town. Follow signs for A4390 and Shipston-on-Stour to get to the roundabout where the trail starts.
  1. If coming from outside Stratford, it may be better to start from the Milcote car park about halfway along the trail on the minor road between Welford-on-Avon and Clifford Chambers.

On your bikes!

The trail ends after 5 miles at the industrial estate in Long Marston, but you will need to leave before the end if you wish to go to the pub in Long Marston: on your outward journey from Stratford, cross the road at Milcote car park, then at a house called Railway Cottage, by a line of telegraph poles, turn right signposted ‘Village shop and post office’. At the T-junction at the end of Wyre Lane, turn right for 200yds for the Masons Arms pub.

Station: Stratford.

TIC: Stratford, 01789 264293.

Refreshments: Cafe in railway carriage near the start. Cafe in railway carriage about halfway along (just after road crossing and second car park). Masons Arms pub, Long Marston (just off the route).

Other routes:

2 Routes through Worcester

3 Wyre Forest, west of Kidderminster

4 Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal: Stourport

5 Shropshire Woodlands (3 routes)

6 Worcester & Birmingham Canal: SW of Birmingham

7 Rea Valley Route

8 Birmingham & Fazeley Canal: E of Birmingham

9 Kingswinford Railway Walk

10 Birmingham Canal: Birmingham to Wolverhampton

11 Sutton Park

12 Silkin Way

13 Cannock Chase

14 Stafford to Newport Greenway

15 Salt Way

16 Trent & Mersey Canal: Stoke

17 Caldon Canal: East of Stoke

18 Biddulph Valley Way

19 Rudyard Lake

20 Churnet Valley Trail

21 Manifold Trail



Whitegate Way east of Chester

There aren’t many cycle trails in the country that end at a salt mine, as the Whitegate Trail does just to the north of Winsford. The railway path is predominantly wooded through the cuttings with views across to arable farmland and pasture on the more open sections. As with so many of these railway paths, the Whitegate Way is at its best either in late spring/early summer when the young leaves are a fresh green and the verges and woodland are full of bright wildflowers, or in late autumn when the leaves are changing colour and the path is carpeted with all shades of yellow and red. The Whitegate Line was opened in 1870 to transport salt from the mines along the west bank of the River Weaver. The line closed in 1966. The old railway is now managed for maximum benefit of wildlife as well as providing an attractive environment for people to enjoy. Trees are coppiced in a traditional form of woodland management whereby the trees are cut down to ground level every 6 to 8 years. This encourages tremendous re-growth and provides useful timber for poles and logs.

Distance: 6 miles each way

Starting point & parking

The car park for the Whitegate Way is at Marton Green, to the north of the A54 between Kelsall and Winsford (about 10 miles west of M6, Jct 18). Turn onto Clay Lane, opposite a lane signposted ‘Budworth’. After 1 mile, just before a railway bridge, bear right downhill signposted ‘Whitegate Way’ for the car park.

On your bikes!

The route follows the course of the old railway so it is impossible to get lost. From the car park you can:

  • Head east (turn right) for 3 miles until you reach the T-junction with the road by the salt mines.
  • Head west (turn left) for 3 miles until you come to a huge railway bridge over the trail by Ravensclough Manor House in Cuddington. If you wish to visit the pub in Cuddington you will need to follow the lane for 1/2 mile then at the T-junction at the end of Waste Lane, turn right uphill for another 1/2 mile.

Station: Cuddington.

TIC: Nantwich, 01270 628633.

Refreshments: None on route. White Barn pub in Cuddington at the crossroads with the A49 at the top of a climb.

Other trails:

2 Delamere Forest

3 Chester to Hawarden Bridge

4 Shropshire Canal:

Chester to Ellesmere Port

5 Wirral Way: Hooton to West Kirby

6 North Wirral Coastal Park

7 Cheshire Lines Path

8 Liverpool Loopline

9 Otterspool Promenade alongside the Mersey

10 Saint Helen’s Canal, Widnes

11 Warrington to Altrincham

12 Tatton Park, north-west of Knutsford

13 Middlewood Way

14 Mersey River, South Manchester

15 Fallowfield Loopline

16 Salford Looplines, West Manchester

17 Irwell Sculpture Trail (Bury)

18 Blackpool Promenade

19 River Ribble & Cuerden Valley Park, Preston

20 Leeds & Liverpool Canal: Preston to Wigan

21 Canals & railway paths in Blackburn

22 Leeds & Liverpool Canal: Burnley to Barnoldswick

23 Gisburn Forest, north of Clitheroe

24 Morecambe Promenade

25 River Lune Millennium Park

26 Lancaster Canal: Carnforth to Lancaster

27 Grizedale Forest (6 routes)

28 Whitehaven to Workington

29 Whitehaven to Rowrah, West Cumbria

30 Ennerdale Water

31 Whinlatter Forest Park

32 Keswick Railway Path, Lake District



Rother Valley Country Park south to Staveley

With its craft centre, exhibitions, cafe and plentiful wildfowl, Rother Valley Country Park is an ideal place to spend the day. At the centre of the park stands an historic complex of buildings based around Bedgreave Mill, now the visitor centre. The Green grade 3-mile circuit of the two lakes may be all the cycling that you want to do but if you are interested in other challenges there is a 3-mile Blue grade trail, a 3.4 mile Red grade trail and a dismantled railway on the western side of the lakes that runs 6 miles south from Beighton to Staveley through a mixture of wooded cuttings and open stretches with views out into the surrounding countryside. The ride forms part of the southern link of the Trans Pennine Trail from Barnsley through Sheffield to Chesterfield.

Distance: 3.2-mile Green grade trail

Starting point & parking

The Rother Valley Country Park Visitor Centre, 6 miles south-east of Sheffield. The closest motorway is M1, Jct 31.

On your bikes!

The railway trail to Staveley may be signposted as the Trans Pennine Trail, Route 6 or Route 67.

1. From the Rother Valley Country Park Visitor Centre, make your way to the lakeside and turn right (i.e. keep the water to your left). Pass between the two lakes and continue alongside the water.
2. You can either complete a circuit of the lake for a 3-mile ride OR for a link to the Trans Pennine Trail, when you reach a point opposite the Sailing Club (on the other side of the water), turn right
by a metal ‘National Cycle Network Route 67’ sign (NCN 67) and a Rother Valley Country Park information board to pass under a railway bridge, soon turning left and following ‘NCN 67’ signs towards Killamarsh.
3. After almost 3 miles pass around a barrier, descend beneath power lines then bear left uphill signposted ‘Chesterfield 7.5 miles’, soon passing under the A616 road bridge.
4. At a fork of tracks after 2 miles you can either turn around or, for a 4-mile extension to the route along the Chesterfield Canal, bear right by a low wooden post marked ‘Doorstep Ride’, ‘Trans Pennine Trail’. Go as far as Tapton Lock Visitor Centre then turn around.

    Other routes:

    2 Sheffield to Rotherham via the Five Weirs Walk

    3 Wharncliffe Woods

    4 Upper Don Trail from Penistone

    5 Dove Valley Trail

    6 Trans Pennine Trail from the Old Moor Wetlands Centre to Sprotbrough

    7 Barnsley Canal

    8 Spen Valley Greenway

    9 Calder Valley Cycleway

    10 Leeds & Liverpool Canal: Aire Valley, west of Leeds

    11 Aire & Calder Navigation Towpath

    12 Harland Way, south-east of Harrogate

    13 York to Riccall Cyclepath

    14 York north to Overton

    15 Hudson Way: Beverley to Market Weighton

    16 Hull to Hornsea Trail

    17 Hull to South Holderness

    18 Dalby Forest

    19 The Cinder Track from Scarborough to Whitby



    Guisborough Forest south of Middlesbrough

    This Forestry England holding stretches up the steep escarpment of the North York Moors to the south of the market town of Guisborough, once the ancient capital of Cleveland. This route combines a railway path trail with a tougher challenge in the hills. The railway path is flat with a good surface. The forest trail is steeper and mountain bikes are recommended.

    Distance: Railway path - 3 miles each way

    Starting point & parking

    Pinchinthorpe Forest Visitor Centre, to the west of Guisborough, just south of the junction of the A173 with the A171. Guisborough is south-east of Middlesbrough.

    On your bikes!

    1. From Pinchinthorpe Visitor Centre, go west along the railway for 2 miles (to its junction with the existing railway) or east along the railway path and up into Guisborough Woods.
    2. Blue route (Easy/Moderate, 4.5 miles) – follows forest roads and grass tracks with small climbs and descents.

    Station: Nunthorpe, 1 mile west of the western end of the railway path.

    TIC: Guisborough Forest Visitor Centre, 01287 631132.

    Refreshments: Cafe at the Visitor Centre. Lots of choice in Guisborough.

    Other routes:

    2 Castle Eden Walkway, north-west of Stockton

    3 Hart to Haswell Walkway, north of Hartlepool

    4 Hamsterley Forest, south-west of Durham

    5 Brandon and Bishop Auckland Way, south of Durham

    6 Auckland Way, south of Durham

    7 Deerness Valley Way, west of Durham

    8 Lanchester Valley Way, north-west of Durham

    9 Waskerley Way, south of Consett

    10 Consett & Sunderland Railway Path

    11 Derwent Walk, south-west of Newcastle

    12 Keelman’s Way from Wylam

    to Gateshead and Hebburn

    13 Hadrian’s Cycleway from Prudhoe to Newcastle



    Brunel Trail from Neyland to Haverfordwest

    This ride is a gentle climb from the array of colourful yachts at Neyland Marina (north of Pembroke), up through the attractive broadleaf woodland of Westfield Pill Nature Reserve alongside the Daugleddau estuary, to Johnston. Beyond here, the trail follows an undulating path parallel to the railway to Merlin’s Bridge on the edge of Haverfordwest. The trail starts on the course of the Great Western Railway line, built between 1852 and 1856 under the direction of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the most famous of all Victorian engineers. Neyland developed after the opening of the line as the terminus of the Great Western Railway, initially attracting passenger ships bound for southern Ireland, although this trade ceased at the end of the 19th century. The village remained a busy fishing port until the middle of the 20th century. The Cleddau Bridge, a crucial road link between the south and north banks of the waterway, was opened in 1975, replacing the ferry that used to run between Neyland and Hobb’s Point.

    Distance: 8 miles each way

    Starting points & parking

    1. Car park at the end of Neyland Marina, just off the B4325 to the north of Pembroke Dock.
    2. Merlin’s Bridge (Caradog’s Well Road), off the roundabout at the junction of the A4076 and A487 on the south-west side of Haverfordwest.

    Station: Pembroke Dock, Johnston or Haverfordwest.

    TIC: Pembroke, 01437 776499.

    Refreshments: In Neyland Marina, Johnston and Haverfordwest.

    Other routes:

    2 Canaston Woods, east of Haverfordwest

    3 Llys-y-Frân Reservoir

    4 Pembrey Country Park

    5 Llanelli Millennium Coastal Park

    6 Llanelli to Tumble, the Swiss Valley Trail

    7 Llyn Llech Owain Country Park

    8 Brechfa Forest, north-east of Carmarthen

    9 Swansea Bikepath along the seafront

    10 Swansea and the Clyne Valley

    11 Swansea Canal, north-east of Swansea

    12 Neath Canal, east of Swansea

    13 Port Talbot: Bryn to Goytre

    14 Neath Canal

    15 Tondu to Pyle, north-west of Bridgend

    16 Afan Argoed Countryside Centre

    17 Ogmore Valley, north of Bridgend

    18 Neath to Pontypridd High Level Route

    19 The Taff Trail (1) Cardiff: Tongwynlais

    20 The Taff Trail (2) Castell Coch: Glyntaff

    21 The Taff Trail (3) Abercynon: Merthyr

    22 Hengoed Viaduct to Trelewis

    23 Sirhowy Country Park

    24 Newport Canal (Fourteen Locks) to Crosskeys

    25 Newport Canal (Fourteen Locks) to Pontypool

    26 Pontypool to Blaenavon

    27 Llanfoist to Govilon railway path

    28 Cwm Darran Country Park

    29 The Taff Trail (4) Merthyr Tydfil towards Pontsticill Reservoir

    30 Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal north of Pontypool

    31 The Taff Trail (5) Talybont Reservoir to Taf Fechan

    32 Usk Reservoir

    33 Claerwen Reservoir, west of Rhayader

    34 Elan Valley Trail, west of Rhayader

    35 Nant yr Arian Forest, east of Aberystwyth

    36 Mawddach Trail, Dolgellau to Barmouth

    37 Coed y Brenin Forest, north of Dolgellau

    38 Caernarfon to Bryncir, Lôn Eifion

    39 Caernarfon to Y Felinheli, Lôn Las Menai

    40 Bangor to Tregarth, Lôn Las Ogwen

    41 Lôn Las Cefni, Llangefni, Anglesey

    42 Beddgelert Forest, north of Porthmadog

    43 Colwyn Bay/Rhos-on-Sea to Prestatyn

    44 Llyn Brenig Reservoir

    45 Llandegla Forest, west of Wrexham



    Glentrool Forest Dumfries & Galloway (three routes)

    Glentrool is the westernmost of the 7stanes – seven centres of mountain biking excellence spread out across Southern Scotland. Five of the seven centres are located in Dumfries & Galloway, a sparsely populated and heavily forested region of South-West Scotland. For the most up-to-date information about Glentrool it is worth going to the 7stanes website at then click on ‘Glentrool’.

    Starting point & parking

    Glentrool Visitor Centre, off the A714 about 8 miles north of Newton Stewart. Turn off at Bargrennan and after passing through Glentrool take the right fork.

    The rides

    The Glen

    Distance: 4 miles

    Grade: easy

    Waymarks: green

    Follow the same gentle singletrack as the Blue route around the Pulnagashel Glen before dropping back down on forest tracks that lead back to the visitor centre.

    Green Torr Blue Route

    Distance: 6 miles

    Grade: moderate

    Waymarks: blue

    The purpose-built singletrack is wider than the trails at nearby Kirroughtree and has none of the rocks and roots found there, so it should not prove intimidating to less experienced riders. It is not without its challenges though – it climbs 715ft (218m) to the Green Torr overlooking Loch Trool, before descending quickly back to the visitor centre.

    Big Country Route CTC Ride

    Distance: 36 miles

    Grade: strenuous

    Waymarks: purple

    Unlike the other 7stanes trails, the whole of the route is on minor public and forest roads, without any singletrack. With magnificent views of lochs and hills contrasting with sheltered woodlands, and some testing climbs and big descents, it is a challenging but rewarding day out.

    Station: Dumfries or Girvan.

    TIC: Dumfries, 01387 253862.

    Refreshments: At the Glentrool Visitor Centre (seasonal – call 0300 0676800 for opening times).

    Other routes:

    2 Glentrool to Gatehouse of Fleet, Loch & Glens Cycle Route

    3 Kirroughtree Forest, east of Newton Stewart

    4 Dalbeattie Forest, south-west of Dumfries

    5 Mabie Forest, south of Dumfries

    6 Forest of Ae, north of Dumfries

    7 Drumlanrig Castle, north of Dumfries

    8 Newcastleton Forest, south of Hawick

    9 Glentress Forest, Peebles, Scottish Borders

    10 Dalkieth to Penicuik, south of Edinburgh

    11 Pencaitland Railway Walk, east of Edinburgh

    12 Haddington to Longniddry, east of Edinburgh

    13 Innocent Railway, east of Edinburgh

    14 Water of Leith, south-west of Edinburgh

    15 Newbridge to the Forth Road Bridge

    16 Airdrie to Bathgate, east of Glasgow

    17 Forest trail on the Isle of Arran

    18 Johnstone to Kilbirnie

    19 Johnstone to Greenock

    20 Glasgow to Loch Lomond

    21 Glasgow to Uddingston along the Clyde

    22 Strathblane to Kirkintilloch

    23 Forth & Clyde Canal, between Glasgow and Falkirk

    24 Carron Valley Forest Trails, south-west of Stirling

    25 Union Canal, west of Edinburgh

    26 Dunfermline to Clackmannan, Fife

    27 Aberfoyle to Callander, Trossachs

    28 Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, Trossachs

    29 Loch Katrine, Trossachs

    30 Callander to Strathyre, Trossachs

    31 Killin to Glen Ogle, north of Callander

    32 Argyll Forest Park, Cowal Peninsula

    33 Witch’s Trails near Fort William

    34 Great Glen: Fort William to Gairlochy

    35 Great Glen: Clunes to Kilfinnan

    36 Great Glen: Oich Bridge to Fort Augustus

    37 Great Glen: Fort Augustus to Drumnadrocchit

    38 Laggan Wolftrax Forest Trails

    39 Aviemore Forest Routes

    40 Rothiemurchus Estate, east of Aviemore

    41 Speyside Way, Craigellachie

    42 Deeside Way, west of Aberdeen

    43 Formartine & Buchan Way, north of Aberdeen

    44 Scolty Trail, Banchory

    45 Pitfichie & Kirkhill Trails, west of Aberdeen

    46 Moray Monster Trails, in the Spey Valley

    47 Learnie Red Rock Trails, Black Isle

    48 Kyle of Sutherland Forest Trails, north of Inverness

    49 Highland Wildcat Trails, Golspie, north-east Scotland


    Photographs taken from the book © Nick Cotton, Howard Cotton, Chas Thursfield, Ralph Hughes, Tom Burslem, Mike Hams, John Coefield and Eve Kelly-Jones.