We all love our local trails best, they're ours and we know their corners and climbs and where we need to brake before that tricky corner or when we need to not brake as we roll over a slippery root. Riding new trails is more of an exploration, introducing us to new areas and showing us a landscape different to our own. It will also help with skill development, throwing the unexpected at us and surprising us with our own abilities. Have you ever managed a step-up or aced a descent and thought "I wouldn't have ridden that if I'd known it was there". Riding new trails helps you find a new headspace and gain confidences that you can take home and use to conquer that section of your home trail which alluded you before.
So, here are FINDRA's top 5 UK trails, they aren't the most technical but we love them and the fun factor is sky-high.
1/. Gypsy Glen - Tweed Valley - Scottish Borders
We had to start with a local trail to our Innerleithen HQ and it's an absolutely cracking route, popular with locals and visitors alike. With Glentress and Innerleithen 7 stanes trail centres close by, this is a trail up against a lot of competition for the best trail in the Tweed Valley but it offers something a little different from the manicured trail centres.
Taking in incredible views across the Tweed Valley and an incredible grassy descent that seems to just keep going, Gypsy Glen is a crowd pleaser for everyone if you're in a mixed ability group. It's a fair climb to the top but after that you'll enjoy the ride all the way down into Peebles where you'll find refreshments aplenty.
2/. Moray Monster Trails near Elgin
Hidden away in the North of Scotland, the Moray monster trails make up a gem of a trail centre. Unlike the more southerly trails, you're unlikely to see many other riders out there, you'll have these exciting trails all to yourself. Base around 3 sites with linking routes, the centre really does have something for everyone. There is a skills area and pumptrack that adults and kids will love, and everything from easy to 'severe' trails to keep everyone busy.
If you're feeling very confident, go and check out the Gully Monster, the jewel in the Monster trails crown. A swooping trail that takes you into forest glens where you can imagine the fairies and monsters scuttling behind trees as you pass by.
3/. Hodders Combe, Quantocks, Somerset
Somerset's Quantock hills are a fantastic place to ride bikes; short, steep climbs and forested descents can be linked together into whole day rides. From the top of the hill you can see across the Bristol Channel to South Wales, you might even encounter the semi-wild horses that roam the hills, grazing on the bracken and grass of the moor-like hills.
Dropping down into the various 'combes', the steep narrow valleys that cut into the hillside, you become protected from the elements and can enjoy the smooth, often leaf covered trails.
It's worth checking out loops around the area that have been designed to take in the best combes and trails, plan for a big day out and pack a lunch, or plan to stop at one of the gorgeous Somerset pubs along the route for a spot of lunch before heading back up the hill.
4/. Afan Trails - South Wales
If you're after the convenience of a trail centre in the south of the UK, check our Afan trails. Not far from Cardiff, the trails really introduce you to the South of Wales with an array of trails for different abilities. Taking you far out from the trail centre hub, you feel an element of exploration, even though the trails are maintained you're still adventuring into the Welsh hills.
With plenty of other opportunities for mountain biking in South Wales, it's a great place for a holiday. A day spent at Bike Park Wales and another trail centre, Cwncarn not far away, you can adventure and ride as much as you like without the need to get out your OS map.
Check out the brilliant mbwales website for further information
5/. Skiddaw, Lake District
We had to put in one ride from the lake district, it is such a stunning area and we hope that everyone visits there at some point whether for cycling, walking or just enjoying the stunning scenery and welcoming pubs.
The Skiddaw loop is not for everyone, while it is a short route of only 14.5 km, it includes a lot of climbing, a lot of which isn't pedalable. If you don't mind pushing and carrying your bike for a couple of hours you'll be rewarded with lake district views aplenty and an incredible descent back towards Keswick. With words like 'world class' and 'worth the horrendous climb' thrown out there, you know you'll be in for a treat. Not for the faint of heart on the climb or the descent so go prepared.