Northumberland biking - the far north of England
Northumberland has some amazing, isolated wilderness riding. It's got expansive moorland views, deserted forests, unpopulated trails and tracks. It's very far from the chattering crowds you can get further west, in the Lake District, or in some of the tourist honeypots of Scotland. Riding here is huge; epic. Lord of the Rings epic. Ancient history, stone circles, old trading routes. Massive skies. Long, hideously wonderful climbs and equally long, gloriously wonderful descents. And yet, there's hardly anyone here.
Well, let's not beat about the bush, Northumberland is a long, long way from most places. From a geographical point of view, it's as far north as Carlisle, or Dumfries, or even (at the very northernmost end) Peebles and Galashiels. It's not well served by motorways (the A1(M) stops at Newcastle Upon Tyne, and it has the lowest population density of anywhere in England. All that solitude? All those hills? It's a little shaving of mountain biking heaven right here.
We've put together a selection of trails from up and down the county; each of them has a different feel; some of them are easy bimbles (hello, Rothbury) and some of them, such as the trail that starts out at Wooler are – somewhat less so. But they all have common features. Huge, huge skies. Rolling, tussocky hills, acres of history and amazing views. Mountain biking in Northumberland is a vastly enriching experience.
If you're heading up for a few days, places to aim for vary. If you're keen on the routes in the North Pennines or the southern half of the Northumberland National Park, Hexham or Haydon Bridge would be good places to consider. Further north Wooler or Rothbury would allow relatively easy access to the northern Tours here. The best way to get there is to get in your car and head north. There are a few train stations (Haydon Bridge for example) but the area as a whole is unfortunately very poorly served by trains.
But Northumberland’s relative inaccessibility is part of the reason it’s such a special place to ride; it might take a while to get there, but it’s absolutely worth the trip.
This is a fine, remote ride, with some truly excellent moor-top singletrack along some very, very old paths. The majority of the ride is across open moor – so either …
If you look at a map of Northumberland, you'll no doubt notice that the border with Scotland is but inches away. They're pretty hilly inches, though, and so are stuffed …
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
This is something of a classic loop. Sure, there's a fair amount of road work involved at the beginning, but it's all worth it for the delicious trails you'll find …
This is quite a long ride, but it’s not a particularly technically challenging one. Having said that, there are plenty of hills to get your teeth into, and a few …
A reasonably straightforward – if long – Tour, this one, but what it lacks in full-on technical riding it makes up for in scenery. Hayden Bridge itself is very picturesque, …
This is a fine, easy spin around the trails and trails north of Rothbury, with some magnificent scenery. There is a little climbing, but not a great deal, but it's a great way to give you a taste of the county and it's many charms.
From Rothbury, there's a short tread along the river to Thrum Mill, before climbing up the road for a short spell (it gets a little steep in parts, but it's not for long), in between Debdon and Tumbleton Lakes.
At the top, the trail splits off the road and heads down to Primrose Cottage, before heading around the hill (and some magnificent views) and working its way towards Addycombe. The old carriage drive here is a gorgeous way to descend back through the woods to the town.
Rothbury has everything you'd need – there's parking, food, drink, accommodation, and it's a very pretty little town built along River Coquet.
This is one of those rides which wends its way around an enormous forest, with lots to see on the way. You’ll pass loads of Bastles, which are essentially farmhouses …