As anyone who tried and failed to purchase a bike last year will know, cycling shot up in popularity during the pandemic. In fact, government data (opens in new tab) shows that between the start of March and May 2020, cycling increased up to 384 per cent.
Foreign travel may still be, at best, a massive pain in the bum, but the good news is that the UK has loads of amazing mountainous ranges and forest trails for the adventurous cyclist. Obviously, these are strictly for mountain bikes (our general best mountain bike or best mountain bikes under £500 guides will help you pick if you haven't got one yet) – don't be taking your new road bike here.
Leisure Lakes Bikes (opens in new tab) conducted a study into the most popular locations for mountain biking enthusiasts, based on data from Tripadvisor reviews. Read on for the top seven. If you're looking to get your wheels muddy this summer, these might be a good starting point.
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Topping the list is St Michael's Mount, a beautiful Cornish tidal island connected to the mainland via a man-made granite causeway. This location, with its coastal views and trails suitable for a range of ability levels, has garnered 5,033 reviews.
Following in second place with over 3k reviews is Snowdon, the tallest mountain in Wales. Steep ascents and rocky trails are a draw for seasoned mountain bikers, as is the option of getting the train up if you don't want to bike it. Note though, if you fancy tackling Snowdon on two wheels, you'll need to respect the Snowdon Voluntary Cycling Agreement, which asks cyclists not to cycle on Snowdon between 10am and 5pm from May to September.
At number 3 Scotland enters the ranking with Cairngorm Mountain, with its ski slopes making for ideal biking trails in the warmer months, closely followed by Ben Nevis at number 4. Standing at 1,345 metres, it's the tallest mountain in the UK, and offers plenty of trails (known as 'the Witch’s Trails') for bikers of all abilities.
At 5 is New Forest National Park, sitting between Bournemouth and Southampton and providing a top destination for cyclists in the South of England. Scottish cliffside Kilt Rock, with its stunning views and waterfall, makes number 6, and the remote Loch Ness rounds out the top 7.