From the ancient bridleways of Dartmoor to the woodland trails running through the Forest of Dean, all you need is a bicycle and as much energy as you can muster. There's terrain to suit every ability with rugged and craggy downhills for the experts, riverside tracks, and cycle routes for those still to cut their off-road teeth. And whatever your ability, a cosy countryside inn is always within easy reach for lunch or an evening drink after a tough few hours in the saddle.
There's no better place to start than the National Parks of Dartmoor and Exmoor. Biking is one of the best ways to explore the wild moorland of Dartmoor following the ancient bridleways for some dramatic views of the landscape. Dunkery Beacon is the highest point on Exmoor and the centre of a spiderÔs web of tracks and trails that span out in all directions. Its cairn-crowned summit is linked to the South West Coast Path that runs between Minehead and Porlock.
The Camel Trail in Cornwall is 11 miles of disused railway converted into a virtually level trail. Culminating at the picturesque fishing village of Padstow it provides spectacular scenery for all the family. Northern Somerset is dominated by the West Mendip Hills; a slender sandstone ridge that rises up abruptly from the pastures below.
In Gloucestershire, visit one of the Forestry CommissionÔs first mountain bike centres in the Forest of Dean before heading off on one of the many trails. The Cotswold Hills, meanwhile, offer some excellent riding on a network of bridleways and byways which are particularly good during the drier months. The Isle of Purbeck in Dorset is also perfect mountain biking country - the view across Old Harry is at its best at the end of hard day's riding.
Mountain Biking can cause damage to the environment so please act responsibly and follow the code of conduct for cycling. For more information visit: www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk or www.dartmoor-npa.gov.uk/dnp/moorcare/pdf/cycle.pdf