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Gravel bike in the UK's wildest landscapes with Wild Cycles

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Gravel bike in the UK's wildest landscapes with Wild Cycles

Bike Touring Collection by Wild Cycles

16

Tours

57:44 h

401 mi

32,300 ft

The wind whistles as you descend on gravel tracks through layered hills, you pause to catch your breath beside a tranquil lake or to admire the view over the valley – gravel biking is one of the best ways to truly experience wild landscapes.

Wild Cycles’ father and son team, John and Jonathan, in collaboration with komoot, put together this Collection of some of the best wild and beautiful rides around the British Isles.

The routes, which also featured in the Times, take you to every corner of the UK, from far-flung corners of the Scottish Highlands to majestic mountains in Wales, the rolling Cotswold countryside, dry stone wall-lined pastures in the Yorkshire Dales and beyond.

From heather-topped hills to winding river dales, you’ll take in some of the best of the UK’s varied landscapes. Secluded nature can be a rarity in Britain, but these routes seek out splendid isolation in spectacular places.

The difficulty of each ride ranges from easy, short gravel loops to challenging MTB trails and remote long-distance rides. Check the route thoroughly to make sure your bike and skills are up to the adventure. You’ll manage each of the rides in one day if your legs are well-trained, but don’t forget to take the elevation gain into consideration. The routes are between 9 and 50 mi (15—81 km) long.

As with all adventures, come well prepared to ensure you enjoy it to the fullest. On some routes, help isn’t always close at hand and phone reception can be limited. Pack a small tool kit to cover most eventualities, as well as food (sugary snacks or energy gels are a good idea), a first aid kit and waterproof clothing.

The routes set off either from a train station or a car park. Most are circulars, but not all, so check the individual route description.

All that’s left is to get out there. Exploring the spectacular British countryside and seeking out remote places on your gravel bike is a wild ride.

View the guide online: thetimes.co.uk/article/wild-cycling-uk-countryside-routes-crzjz0rch
For more on Wild Cycles, visit: wildcycles.co.uk

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    1. Beauly to Ardgay, Highlands

    Difficult
    06:18
    50.8 mi
    8.0 mph
    2,550 ft
    2,625 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Difficult in parts; lake side, gravel and tarmac roads. Some hilly sections

    

    Start: Muir of Ord train station

    Finish: Ardgay

    

    The route: It’s no secret that Scotland has some of the best-kept wilderness in the UK; riding from Muir of Ord to Ardgay leads through remote

    landscapes in the Highlands.

    Spectacular

    by Wild Cycles

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  • Difficult
    03:24
    21.6 mi
    6.4 mph
    1,775 ft
    1,775 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Moderate/difficult; off-road route that

    follows a mix of hilly gravel and tarmac roads

    

    Start and finish: Duke’s Pass, Aberfoyle

    

    The route: Aberfoyle, gateway to the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, is one of the most beautiful areas of Scotland and well known for its endless gravel roads. This

    by Wild Cycles

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  • Difficult
    03:17
    26.0 mi
    7.9 mph
    1,900 ft
    1,900 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Moderate/difficult; gravel paths, cycleways and tarmac roads. Some steep climbs.

    

    Start & finish: Bamford train station

    

    The route: In the heart of the Peak District National Park, this route navigates a series of three spectacular spots - the Howden Reservoir, Derwent

    Reservoir and Ladybower Reservoir

    by Wild Cycles

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  • Intermediate
    01:39
    12.0 mi
    7.2 mph
    500 ft
    500 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Easy; mostly traffic-free cycleways, paved surfaces and woodland tracks

    

    Start and finish: Russell Town Avenue, Bristol

    

    The route: The city may not be the first place you look for off-road rides, but Bristol has some exhilarating trails if you know where to go. This route seeks out riverside dirt paths

    by Wild Cycles

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  • Intermediate
    03:18
    23.0 mi
    7.0 mph
    1,100 ft
    1,100 ft
    Intermediate gravel ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Easy; mostly paved surfaces following a mix of forest trails, traffic-free paths and roads

    

    Start & finish: Kielder Castle

    

    The route: A huge man-made lake set among forests, Kielder Water is a wonderful place to dip your toes into gravel riding. Set off from Kielder Castle, a stone’s throw from the lake

    by Wild Cycles

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  • Difficult
    05:05
    34.4 mi
    6.8 mph
    2,075 ft
    2,075 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Difficult in parts; gravel paths, single track and lanes. Some steep hilly sections

    

    Start & finish: Yearsley Wood car park

    

    The route: With wooded landscapes and an abundance of biodiversity, the Howardian Hills are a well-kept secret in North Yorkshire. This adventure begins in Yearsley, a small village

    by Wild Cycles

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  • Intermediate
    01:39
    16.6 mi
    10.0 mph
    475 ft
    475 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    Easy/moderate; a mix of quiet lanes,

    bridleways, gravel and forest paths. A few short climbs

    

    Start & finish: High Street, Sherston

    

    The route: Taking in ancient byways and farm tracks in the beautiful Cotswolds, set out from Sherston village to follow a quiet lane through a patchwork of fields. Pick up a

    by Wild Cycles

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  • Difficult
    04:06
    23.5 mi
    5.8 mph
    3,175 ft
    3,150 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Moderate; off-road route that follows a mix of bridleways, gravel and tarmac roads. Some steep hilly parts

    

    Start & finish Hwylfa Llwyn road, Gellifor village

    

    The route: The heather-topped hills and rolling pastures of the Clwydian Range in north Wales are made for gravel biking. Formed millions of years

    by Wild Cycles

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  • Difficult
    03:38
    21.2 mi
    5.8 mph
    2,750 ft
    2,750 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Moderate; mainly gravel and tarmac roads.

    Some hilly sections

    

    Start & finish: Dales Bike Centre, Grinton

    

    The route: From Grinton village, a paved but challenging road climb soon gives way to gravel as you enter Grinton Moor. The countryside here is magnificent: windswept, wide moorlands and oceans of heather

    by Wild Cycles

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  • Difficult
    04:39
    29.4 mi
    6.3 mph
    4,400 ft
    4,400 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    Difficult; gravel tracks, with some steep hills

    

    Start & finish: Barmouth Bridge

    

    The route: Taking you from the sea to rugged mountains on the west coast of North Wales with 1,340 m (4,396 ft) of elevation gain, this route will test your muscles as you ride through some of the most impressive landscapes

    by Wild Cycles

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  • Difficult
    05:23
    33.1 mi
    6.2 mph
    3,625 ft
    3,625 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Difficult in parts; off-road route along tracks, bridleways, slate paths and gravel roads. Some steep climbs

    

    Start & finish: Maengwyn Street, Machynlleth

    

    The route: With challenging slate single track and

    rocky paths through some of the most spectacular scenery in mid-Wales, this route is not for the

    by Wild Cycles

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  • Difficult
    05:23
    40.1 mi
    7.5 mph
    3,025 ft
    3,025 ft
    Ferry
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    Difficult in parts; a hilly off-road route that follows a mix of bridleways, gravel and tarmac roads. Some very steep climbs

    

    Start & finish: Windermere station

    

    The route: The natural beauty of the Lake District has inspired visitors for generations. From the station, turn left on Victoria Street, joining

    by Wild Cycles

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  • Difficult
    04:07
    27.8 mi
    6.7 mph
    1,800 ft
    1,800 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Difficult in parts; forest tracks, roads and cycleways. Some steep climbs

    

    Start & finish: Blackweir Bridge, Cardiff

    

    The route: Setting off from the outskirts of Cardiff, cycling from Blackweir Bridge with the River Taff on your right and Pontcanna Fields to your left, this ride explores the green and tranquil

    by Wild Cycles

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  • Difficult
    02:12
    13.1 mi
    6.0 mph
    850 ft
    850 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Easy/moderate; a mix of forest trails, gravel and tar roads. Some short climbs

    

    Start and finish: Tring station

    

    The route: This beautiful ride winds its way through the picturesque Tudor village of Aldbury, ramps up to the Ridgeway and through the National Trust’s 5,000-acre (2,023 ha) Ashridge Estate

    by Wild Cycles

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  • Intermediate
    01:12
    9.55 mi
    7.9 mph
    500 ft
    500 ft
    Intermediate gravel ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Easy; forest trails and flat cycle paths

    

    Start & finish: Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre

    

    The route: Spectacular paths lead through the valley’s forested slopes, making for wonderful gravel riding. This gentle route sets off from the Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre and takes you along the banks of the River

    by Wild Cycles

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  • Difficult
    02:24
    19.2 mi
    8.0 mph
    1,875 ft
    1,875 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Difficult in parts; some steep sections

    

    Start & finish: Sheffield train station

    

    The route: With endless countryside on its doorstep, Sheffield is a great base for gravel riding. From the city centre, you ride into wild moorlands on the edge of the Peak District National Park. Cycle through the peaceful

    by Wild Cycles

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    16
  • Distance
    401 mi
  • Duration
    57:44 h
  • Elevation
    32,300 ft

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