Mountain Biking In The Forests




Whinlatter and Grizedale forests have the only purpose built single track mountain biking in Cumbria. They’re very different forests but both have some fantastic biking that will test your skills.

The onsite bike shops - Grizedale Mountain Bikes and Cyclewise Whinlatter -  both offer bike hire, bike sales and a range of clothing and accessories.

Cyclewise Whinlatter offers a wide range of courses and are the Mountain Bike Technical Advisors for British Cycling.They have written and developed new coaching courses for British Cycling and MBLA Leadership for Scottish Cycling. For more information on the courses they run visit

If you're new to mountain biking and want to find out more about bike safety and preparing to ride, have a look at the Forestry Commission's information here

Trails are graded from green to black, much like ski runs. While each trail will have its own individual design and features, the colour system helps you to judge what you can try out.

Trail conditions and any closures, due to special events, or maintenance etc, will be posted on the trail conditions ticker (see top of page)

Biking in the forests Click to watch video
For more information on the trails click below. You can also download trail maps here.

The North Face Trail offers a rush of curves, berms and north shore, uphill and downhill.
The trail starts at the visitor centre and consists of a 16km loop which includes 9 sections of sinuous singletrack trail on the west side of Grizedale Forest. The trail offers adrenaline pumping sections of single track descent along with leg burning ascents contouring through oak woodlands and conifer forest. This challenging trail also gives the mountain biker tricky board walk sections through meadows, with outstanding views along the way.
New trail developments - "The Black"
The team at Grizedale Mountain Bikes, with support from the Forestry Commission ranger, has created a new section of downhill single track, "The Black". The group is now looking at maintenance work and future development optons. For more information, contact Lee at Grizedale Mountain Bikes on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (for trail building use only) or call 01229860335

Explore more of Grizedale by bike....

As well as the North Face Trail, Grizedale has a fantastic network of bridleways and forest roads. If you’d like to explore more, trail maps are available from the visitor centre and the bike shop team can suggest routes to try.

The Altura Trail puts the mountain back into biking and has been built for experienced riders with good off road skills and a higher level of fitness and stamina. The North Loop is approximately 9.5km in length with some superb flowing sections of singletrack; the climbs in the first half of the loop are well rewarded with what we think has to be the best downhill in the UK. Huge sweeping berms, technical forest sections and optional black graded features can all be found.
The South Loop is approximately 10km in length and is slightly less technical than the North Loop. A pleasant singletrack climb to the midway point allows you to choose between a flowing downhill section littered with berms and rollovers or a continuation of the climb to the top of Hospital Ridge. This gives superb views across the peaks of the North Lakes and you are amply rewarded with some great singletrack.

The trail is supported by Zyro, makers of Altura bike clothing and accessories. ( )

This fantastic blue grade route is 7.5km long with a shorter 3.5 km option. It is a gem waiting to be discovered, expect flowing single track with gentle berms, rolling jumps, wide gradual climbs with technical features for the adventurous riders. 
The trail starts down hill with sweeping intricate bends requiring hardly any peddling, then climbs up and bends and twists its way until riders came face to face with the Big Wall, a double banked bend within the forest. After climbing up through oak woodland, the trail crosses a bridge and into the darker conifer forest before finishing via a short boardwalk section. And in case you’re wondering, the name is the Latin name for oak.

 Putting the mountain back into biking Click to watch video

What Next?

If you’ve tried out all the trails in Grizedale and Whinlatter or fancy a new challenge, why not try some of the other Forestry Commission biking trails nearby. Kielder Water and Forest Park has got some great mountain bike trails to try. Have a look at to find our more.The 7Stanes centres in southern Scotland are well known for their variety of single track and other biking  – visit their new website for all the details

Gisburn Forest is just a short drive away from the Lake District trails and is the best place for mountain biking in North Lancashire. It has two fantastic mountain bike trails:

Highlights include the volunteer built trail of Home Baked, gnarly rocks of Whelpstone Crag and the roller coaster ride down Hully Gully - as close as you can get to dancing on a bike. Follow the red arrows on the timber posts. Look out for any warning markers. Along this route are optional Black Grade lines and features, marked with a skull.

A short trail that is suitable for novices & younger riders. Down past St James Chapel and over the causeway leads to a bumpy ride along Eggberry Road. A mellow ride by Bottoms Beck follows an old railway line. Later, you can twist & turn through Park Wood, then finish with a grin on a sweeping descent. Follow the blue arrows on the timber posts.

For information on all the Forestry Commission mountain biking centres across England, visit the FC England biking pages here.

Trail gradings

Green is suitable for beginners with basic bike skills – the trails will be relatively flat and wide
is for riders with intermediate off-road riding skills – the trails will have some single track sections and small obstacles such as tree roots and rocks.
is for proficient mountain bikers with good off-road riding skills and fitness. The trails will have challenging climbs, tricky descents and technical features such as drop offs and large rocks.
trails are designed for expert mountain bikers with high levels of fitness and the trails will have greater challenge and difficulty. Expect to encounter large and unavoidable features.