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The Quantocks and Exmoor — MTB paradise in the South West

Barney Marsh

The Quantocks and Exmoor — MTB paradise in the South West

Mountain Biking Collection by Barney

7

Tours

18:22 h

114 mi

15,000 ft

Here are the glories of the Quantocks and Exmoor, small pockets of the country absolutely festooned with wonderful biking options of every stripe, for every type of rider.

The Quantock Hills boast one of the most densely packed bridleway networks in the country, despite its relatively minuscule size. There are steep slopes aplenty; very stiff climbs, screaming tree-lined descents, technical trails and wide open blasts alike. Truly, there is something for everyone here, unless you don’t like hills. For all its size, this is a place that punches way, way above its weight.

And then there’s Exmoor National Park, so close that it’s actually part of the same geological system as the Quantock Hills. Actually they’re only separated by a mile or so, if that. Not quite as abundantly be-pathed, it’s still blessed with more than its hair of combes, dells, hills, moorland and unbelievably good riding.

Here are seven representative routes which will give the curious rider a taste of the delights on offer; three in the Quantocks and four in Exmoor. It’s to the Quantock’s credit - and testament to its bridleway network - that the rides hardly intersect despite its diminutive size. The truly masochistic could ride all three Tours and only see their own tyre marks for a few hundred metres. And there’s still room further south to explore.

The Exmoor Tours are a little more spread out, but there’s some astonishingly good riding peppered all over the place. There are relatively easy rides all the way through to lung-busters which seem to cover deceptively few miles, until you look at the altitude gains. There are also plenty of little towns and villages which serve as somewhere to grab refreshments en route - and if there’s not, there’s usually a decent pub a mere stone’s throw away. So take a trip to the West Country and point your bike along some of the best trails the country has to offer!

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    03:53
    22.2 mi
    5.7 mph
    3,725 ft
    3,725 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    This is a toughie. Only 36 kilometres (22 miles) long, but it packs a wallop as far as climbing is concerned. You're either grinding up something steep, or hurtling down the other side of something steep.

    

    The rewards are immense though - fast, flow sections, wide open very fast sections (which then turn

    by Barney

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  • Intermediate
    03:18
    19.9 mi
    6.0 mph
    2,600 ft
    2,625 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    This is a grand ride, taking in some choice trails both in the North Quantocks and in the Great Wood to the south.

    

    It starts off at the car park at the top of Crowcombe Combe, before striking out north along the top of the Quantocks. It's not long, though, before the route drops down one of the many

    by Barney

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  • Intermediate
    04:14
    29.2 mi
    6.9 mph
    2,875 ft
    2,850 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    This Tour is an excellent day out which encompasses some of the best riding that Exmoor is famous for.

    

    From Malmsmead, the route heads coast-ward before joining the Coleridge Way. The poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, working nearby, was interrupted from finishing his poem Kubla Khan by a 'person from Porlock

    by Barney

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  • Intermediate
    01:28
    8.91 mi
    6.0 mph
    1,450 ft
    1,425 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Most of the mountain biking reputation of the Quantocks is built on the trails of the Great Wood and further north, but that's not to say that there aren't nuggets of awesome elsewhere in this compact lump of the British countryside. All you need to do is look a little harder.

    

    This Tour has the same feel

    by Barney

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  • Intermediate
    02:01
    12.5 mi
    6.2 mph
    1,675 ft
    1,650 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    Explores the hills and valleys to the north of Dulverton, taking in quiet lanes, doubletrack, open moorland, singletrack and everything in between on this Tour.

    

    Although there's a fair amount of climbing on offer for the length, it's not a particularly technical ride, unless you're riding it when it's

    by Barney

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  • Intermediate
    02:28
    15.1 mi
    6.1 mph
    1,875 ft
    1,875 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    There has been much written about the Quantocks, and its tiny, but bridleway festooned opulence. This ride takes in some of the best stuff that the north of the hills have to offer.

    

    Starting in Holford, the route climbs up Holford Combe (also a popular descent, so be wary of bikes zinging down), up and

    by Barney

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  • Intermediate
    01:00
    6.05 mi
    6.0 mph
    800 ft
    800 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    This is a relatively low-level, non technical ride which starts and finishes at the renowned Tarr Steps, which legend has it the devil built so he could sunbathe. Why he didn't get a towel and go to the beach like the rest of us is a mystery.

    

    It's also a ride which provides many, many opportunities to

    by Barney

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    7
  • Distance
    114 mi
  • Duration
    18:22 h
  • Elevation
    15,000 ft

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The Quantocks and Exmoor — MTB paradise in the South West

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