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The Best Trail Centres and Bike Parks in the UK for Beginners

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Mountain biking is a fun and healthy sport both physically and for your mental health. If you are new to the sport and looking for some places to ride, to cater for developing your skills, the UK has a lot of options for you. From purpose-built trail centres or bike parks to natural mountain bike trails there is something for everyone.

In this article, we will introduce you to some of the best trail centres and bike parks in the UK for beginners, based on the information and reviews from this site ibikeride.com. These trail centres and bike parks are suitable for riders who want to learn the basics and improve their confidence in a convenient (well-waymarked, graded and with good facilities) way, as well as in a safe and progressive environment.

South East England

Swinley Forest Mountain Bike Centre

Perfect for: Families, beginners and novices, on a day trip living close to Greater London and the Home counties.

Swinley Forest
Swinley Forest is a large forest near Bracknell in Southeast England. It has three waymarked trails green, blue, and red. There is also an intermediate and advanced level jump line and a membership-only bike skills coaching facility offering courses for all levels of riders.
There is a large car park, toilets, cafe, and bike hire.
The trails are continually maintained and are in a nice forest setting. The terrain is mostly smooth and flowing, with some optional features and challenges. Swinley Forest has a 3.8 out of 5 rating on ibikeride.com, with over 40 reviews.

Midlands / Central England

Cannock Chase

Perfect for: Beginners, families, novices, and all abilities of rider getting into or progressing their trail riding from around the Midlands region.

Cannock Chase
Cannock Chase is a natural forest with four main trails: the green Fairoak Trail, the blue Sherbrook Trail, and the red Follow the Dog which leads to the red Monkey Trail (with optional black Sections). The trails are well-waymarked and offer a range of difficulty and features.
The centre has a large car park, bike shop, hire, cafe and toilets.
The trails are suitable for beginners who want to experience some natural riding and challenge themselves. Cannock Chase has a 4.3 out of 5 rating on ibikeride.com, with over 90 reviews

South West England

Forest of Dean

Perfect for: All the family, beginners, novices and intermediate riders be you are local to the area or making a decent trip away of it.

Forest of Dean
The Forest of Dean is a natural forest in Gloucestershire with a network of trails for all levels of riders. You can choose from the green Family Cycle Trail, the blue Verderers’ Trail, or the red Freeminers’ Trail, which has some optional black sections. There is also a kid-friendly skills area, a pump track, a more advanced skills area, and a progressive downhill area with a myriad of runs. In addition, there is an all-ability track designed for four wheels as well as two called Launchpad.
The facilities are also great with a car park, friendly cafe, toilets, shop, and bike hire set up.
The trails are well-maintained and offer a mix of flow, technical features, and stunning views. The Forest of Dean has a 4.6 out of 5 rating on ibikeride.com, with over 80 reviews

Haldon Forest

Perfect for: All the family, beginners, novices and all abilities be you are local to the area or making a trip of it.

Haldon Forest
Haldon Forest Mountain bike trails are near Exeter in Devon. It is set in a woodland forest of 3,500 acres with scenic views. It is home to five mountain bike trails across green, blue, red, and black grades, a bike skills area, and a pump track.
The centre has a car park, cafe, bike hire, toilets, and a visitors' centre.
The trails are suitable for all levels of riders and are especially popular for families. Haldon Forest Park has a 3.4 out of 5 rating on ibikeride.com, with over 10 reviews

North East England

Dalby Forest

Perfect for: Families, beginners, novices and all ability levels of rider from in an around God's own country in Yorkshire.

Dalby Forest
Dalby Forest Mountain Bike Trail Centre in North Yorkshire is a trail centre with green, blue, red and black routes giving something for all abilities. It also has a cycle skills area.
The trails are graded from green to black and are designed to be fun and progressive. One of the trails is specifically designed for accessible bikes and so can also be used by disabled riders.
The trails have a café, toilets, car park, bike shop, bike hire, coaching set up and a visitors centre.
With such a wide selection of well-maintained trails for all abilities including two green routes and a cycle skills area, all across a beautiful forest setting with great facilities this truly is the biking mecca of Yorkshire. Dalby Forest has a 4.0 out of 5 rating on ibikeride.com, with over 20 reviews

North West England

Clayton Vale

Perfect for: Families, novices and beginners, visiting regularly who are local to the urban Manchester region.

Clayton Vale
Clayton Vale is an urban park with four purpose-built mountain bike trails a Bike Park Skills zone and a pump track. The skills area is a great starting point before attempting the trails. Graded with the traditional dot system you can encounter all the same technical trail features here before hitting the trails.
The trails are graded from green to black and are designed to be fun and progressive. One of the trails is specifically designed for accessible bikes and so can also be used by disabled riders.
The trails form part of the cycling facilities on offer at the National Cycling Centre where the trails start. It has a café, toilets, car park, bike hire, bike washing facilities, coaching and club riding.
The trails offer berms, jumps, drops, and rock gardens, and are ideal for beginners who want to learn new skills. Clayton Vale has a 3.9 out of 5 rating on ibikeride.com, with over 30 reviews

South Wales

Afan Forest

Perfect for: Beginners, families, novices, and all abilities of riders taking a trip to get into or to progress their trail and bike park riding.

Afan Forest
The Afan Forest Mountain Bike Centre can be found in South Wales. Afan is made up of three bases. The first is Afan Forest Visitors Centre where the Y Wall, The Penhydd, Blue Scar and the Rookie Green trail start. The second is the Glyncorrwg Ponds mountain bike trail centre a little down the road where The White's Level, Blade and Skyline start from. The third is the Afan Bike Park with its numerous short downhill progressive runs.
The bike park also has bike hire, coaching, a large car park, a visitors centre and a cafe. 
Together these three bases offer mountain bike riders trails and lines for all abilities. In total, there are eight main trails covering one black, four red, another blue with red sections, one green and a bike park. Afan Forest has a 4.6 out of 5 rating on ibikeride.com, with over 60 reviews

BikePark Wales

Perfect for: Beginners, novices and all abilities of riders up to pro level on a weekend away, prepared to spend and focussed on Downhill and Bike Park riding.

BikePark Wales
BikePark Wales is the UK’s first full-scale bike park, with over 40 trails for all abilities. The trails are graded from green to pro-line and cover a variety of styles and terrain. NB you need to book and pay for a day or weekend pass online to visit.
The bike park also has an uplift service, bike hire, coaching, a large car park and a cafe. 
Bike Park gradings are a bit gnarlier than trail centres but if looking to get into Bike Park and Downhill riding there isn't a better place to start. BikePark Wales has a 4.8 out of 5 rating on ibikeride.com, with over 100 reviews

North Wales

Coed y Brenin

Perfect for: Beginners, families, novices and all abilities of riders, be you local or planning a trip away destination in stunning scenery.

Coed y Brenin
Coed y Brenin mountain bike trail centre is in the Snowdonia National Park. The trail network includes 3 red, 3 black, 1 blue, 1 green and a freeride and skills area.
The trail centre has bike hire, a bike shop, coaching, a large car park, a visitors centre and a cafe. 
Coed y Brenin is a combination of natural trails and armoured man-made sections and is one of the largest MTB centres with 7 single-track trails that cover an impressive 140 km. Coed y Brenin has a 4.7 out of 5 rating on ibikeride.com, with over 20 reviews

Coed Llandegla

Perfect for: Beginners, families, novices, and all abilities of riders be you local or planning a trip away.

Coed Llandegla
Coed Llandegla Mountain Biking Centre is near Wrexham in North Wales. It has 4 MTB trails covering green, blue, red, and black gradings. It also has a Skills Area, Bike Park, Dual Slalom run and a Pump Track.
The centre has a cafe, car park, shop and hire set up. 
OnePlanet Adventure runs the facilities and is core to the trails here and it is a great destination. Coed Llandegla has a 4.5 out of 5 rating on ibikeride.com, with over 40 reviews

Scotland - Scottish Borders

Glentress

Perfect for: Beginners, families, novices and all abilities of riders for a day trip and as a much longer trip away destination.

Glentress
Glentress Mountain Bike Trail Centre is part of the 7stanes MTB network in the Scottish Borders. It consists of black, red, blue, and green trails as well as an all-ability skills loop and an orange-graded freeride bike park.
The trail centre also has bike hire, a bike shop, coaching, a large car park, a visitors centre and a cafe. 
One of the original UK trail centres it is often seen as the heart of Scottish mountain biking. Well worth visiting. There are also six other 7stanes trails in the neighbourhood of the highest quality. From a beginner to advanced perspective be it Glentress, or the likes of Kirroughtree or any of the other trails on offer you are spoilt for choice. Glentress has a 4.8 out of 5 rating on ibikeride.com, with over 60 reviews

Scotland - Central Scotland

Comrie Croft

Perfect for: Novices and all abilities of riders.

Comrie Croft
Comrie Croft mountain bike trails are in Perthshire, Scotland. There are 16 km of trails in total plus a lot of natural trails in the Strathearn Valley.
The trail centre has a bike hire, a bike shop, coaching, a car park, a visitors centre and a cafe. 
There is a blue trail, a network of red trails and a black trail. There is also a Bike Skills area with jumps & drops and a pump track NB Please note there is no green trail here. Comrie Croft has a 4.8 out of 5 rating on ibikeride.com, with over 130 reviews

Scotland - Scottish Highlands

Nevis Range

Perfect for: Families, novices, and all abilities of riders for an away trip destination in the most stunning of settings.

Nevis Range
The Nevis Range Mountain Bike Trail Centre is just north of Fort William in the Scottish Highlands. There are three Downhill tracks (accessed by a Gondola) and a multitude of Cross-Country trails in the Lower Forest area
The trail centre has a bike hire, bike shop, coaching, a large car park, a visitors centre and a cafe. 
With a couple of progressive blues plus a gondola accessed downhill blue, it is perfect for novices pushing their game. NB please note there is no green trail here. Nevis Range has a 4.2 out of 5 rating on ibikeride.com, with over 10 reviews

Northern Ireland

Castlewellan

Perfect for: Families, novices, and intermediate riders in the most historically scenic of settings in Northern Ireland.

Castlewellan
Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails are located 50 km from Belfast and 6.5 km from Newcastle in Northern Ireland. Castlewellan has green, blue and red grade trails (the latter includes black options). There is also a pump track.
The trail centre has a bike hire, a car park, and a cafe. 
Castlewellan is a scenic venue seeing as the backdrop is shared with a castle, epic views and a lake. Castlewellan has a 4.2 out of 5 rating on ibikeride.com

We hope you enjoyed this article and found some useful information on the best trail centres and bike parks in the UK for beginners. These sites are ideal for riders who want to get into mountain biking as well as progress to the next level. Of course, there are many more places to explore in the UK and we haven't covered any of the multitude of awesome non-waymarked (need to hook up with locals, guide, or club) natural trails on offer, so feel free to check out ibikeride.com for more inspiration and reviews. Remember to always ride safely, respect the trails, and other trail users, and have a blast on your bike. Happy mountain biking!

Published: 15/02//2023

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