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Premium gravel grinding through Nottinghamshire – Pens & Pits

Premium gravel grinding through Nottinghamshire – Pens & Pits

Bike Touring Collection by komoot

8

Tours

40:21 h

321 mi

12,900 ft

This story of gravel riding begins with familiar shouts of ‘Ey’ up me duck,’ but the noise quickly fades as you escape into the woodland. No more concrete or cars; from here it’s all about the quietest and most hidden tracks, trails and B roads of Nottinghamshire, aka Robin Hood’s county and it is ripe for discovery.

The birds sing and the leaves crackle under your tires. The horizon is littered with headstocks that now lay dormant, monuments to a history of manual labor that died out decades ago. These former pit villages and colliery towns are linked by bridleways, long since forgotten by most of the county but prime terrain for gravel riding. Waterways and railways, once crucial for transporting coal, are thrown into the mix and have now been claimed and repurposed for cyclists and hikers. For those that want to criss-cross the county from Mansfield to Nottingham and everywhere in between, expect surprises around each corner. You’ll come across stretches of pristine white roads, secret swimming spots, sweeping mellow singletrack and tucked-away corners that allowed Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men to hide out.

Calling this a collection of gravel rides along mineral lines would not be too far removed from the essence of these wide-ranging gravel bike tours. At its most basic, these are a collection of B roads and gravel roads (from now on known as ‘Groads’) that carve a virtually traffic-free route across the whole county. Spanning the entire landscape of Notts, the tales of Robin Hood, DH Lawrence and Lord Byron can be retold as you cruise across the county.

From grand estates for the nobility, which have retained pristine gravel throughout their grounds, right through to the desolate pit tips, Notts delivers prime terrain for leisure, lending itself to supreme gravel grinding and mountain biking. The most family-friendly gravel ride heads out from the postcard-perfect town of Southwell and cruises along the Southwell Trail to Sherwood Pines, taking in the most rural side of the county.
If you are looking for more of a challenge, you can break out of the county lines into Derbyshire from Langley Mill train station, where relics from the textile industry stand in stark contrast to the unspoilt nature. The Notts Circular is a stellar option to discover the area surrounding the UNESCO City of Literature from a 360 degree perspective. So while great novels have been penned in this county, now it's time for you to write your own epic on two wheels.

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Mellow Southwell gravel loop for local history and disused railways – Pens & Pits

    Intermediate
    02:58
    21.6 mi
    7.3 mph
    750 ft
    750 ft
    Intermediate gravel ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Fittingly for one of the flattest parts of the county, this tour takes you out the postcard-perfect town of Southwell and straight onto the pristine Southwell Trail. There's a great lollipop-shaped loop that takes in Eakring (for plague-related history and the UK's first ever commercial oil well in Dukes

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  • Difficult
    04:46
    32.8 mi
    6.9 mph
    1,725 ft
    1,725 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    It'd be easy to say that this route is rendered complete by the surprise sight of a little ice cream shack with an honesty box for payments, but really it's a tour that's worth riding due to the sheer number of lesser-known bridleways and gravel farm tracks that link some of the cutest villages around

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  • Difficult
    05:15
    42.8 mi
    8.2 mph
    3,425 ft
    3,400 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    Let's face it, the flat lands of Notts can sometimes feel a little, well, flat. That's when it's time to break out the county lines and head to hilly Derbyshire for a ride that'll continually surprise you with its diversity.

    

    This at times hilly gravel route escorts you along the finest gravel tracks

    by komoot

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  • Intermediate
    03:31
    30.8 mi
    8.8 mph
    1,200 ft
    1,200 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    Old railway lines, a former abbey, Robin Hood's old haunts, and Sherwood Pines - these are the definitive ingredients to elevate this family-friendly tour into one that'll keep you all entertained for its entirety.

    

    Super varied as you head out from Mansfield towards Vicar Water (cafe stop here!), you

    by komoot

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  • Difficult
    09:58
    74.2 mi
    7.4 mph
    2,700 ft
    2,700 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    This is the sort of grand tour that'll see you raving about it for weeks. The amount of gravel and traffic-free, virtually unknown bridleways and b-roads will make every minute worth your while.

    

    It does look like a big day out, but don't be alarmed. A large chunk of the route (from Skegby to Rother Valley

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  • Difficult
    02:02
    15.8 mi
    7.7 mph
    800 ft
    775 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Slightly more unkempt gravel, this shorter Nottinghamshire loop throws back the curtains on a much lesser-known part of the county, where pits and pens once reigned supreme. It's prime literary terrain with both Lord Byron and DH Lawrence having penned some of their greatest works here.

    

    The former colliery

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  • Difficult
    08:37
    72.0 mi
    8.4 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.

    This premium gravel route sets off from Nottingham train station and promptly escorts you out of the urban jungle and onto the riverside. It winds along the river and takes you through the beautiful Attenborough Nature Reserve–the sort of riverside gravel track that you can soar along, but it does get

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  • Intermediate
    03:14
    30.9 mi
    9.5 mph
    525 ft
    525 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    Exploring the southeastern part of the county, this tour couldn't be much flatter or more family-friendly. The tour heads out along the Grantham Canal towpath before a pin-sharp lane (the former A46) whisks you along to the halfway point via the idyllic Car Colston village with its ancient common and

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    8
  • Distance
    321 mi
  • Duration
    40:21 h
  • Elevation
    12,900 ft

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