MTB

The 10 best UK trail centres for beginners

© Andy McCandlish
Written by Ali McCarthy
Ready to tackle some trails? Check out the best trail centres for beginners that the UK has to offer.
Getting started in mountain biking is not as scary as it can seem. A great place to start is at a purpose built mountain biking centre, because here you'll find all the equipment and guidance you'll need to get started.
Each centre that we've picked offers bike hire, so you don't have to worry about buying one before you try it. They all also either have green graded trails, suitable for beginners, and blue graded trails which you'll be quickly looking to move on to, or maybe even begin with!
Check out our top 10 trail centres for beginners.
1. Forest of Dean Mountain Biking Trails, England
Forest of Dean
Forest of Dean
Perfect for: Getting a feel for natural trails.
What to expect: FOD is the mecca of mountain biking in England because it offers something for every rider of all skills and fitness levels. Not only will you find graded trails, but you can also try out the natural, singletrack trails around the area. There is also a skills area to practice before you hit the trails, along with a pump track for some extra fun.
2. Flyup 417 Bike Park, England
Perfect for: Trying every type of mountain biking.
What to expect: Run by the same guys that operate the Flyup Uplift service at FOD, you will find everything you need here. You can try downhill, the pump track, four cross, and dirt jumps. The dirt jumps are progressive which means that they have small tables suitable even for beginners.
3. Clayton Vale MTB Trails, England
Perfect for: Improving your skills without having to stray too far from the city.
What to expect: The Clayton Vale trails are part of the overall facilities on offer from the National Cycling Centre in Manchester. It's unique because you're getting to ride MTB trails in an urban setting; making it fun and accessible. Here you can try XC riding on a range of graded trails, and finish off with a fun ride around the pump track.
4. Swinley Forest Mountain Bike Centre, England
Swinley Bike Hub rider Jack Tate testing new lines
Swinley Bike Hub rider Jack Tate testing new lines
Perfect for: Figuring out your skill and fitness level.
What to expect: Dedicated mountain biking trails in an all natural and glorious setting. The build team have done a spectacular job of creating trails that will test all levels of ability and fitness. This is great for beginners, because you'll quickly figure out what you can handle.
5. BikePark Wales, South Wales
Perfect for: Everything!
What to expect: BikePark Wales is one of the best centres in the UK because you can find everything you need here. From DH tracks to an insane amount of XC trails, as well as a pump track. You can put your skills to the test and one day you'll be ready to drop into one of their famous black graded tracks.
6. Coed y Brenin Mountain Bike Trail Centre, Wales
Perfect for: Progression.
What to expect: Start off nice and easy with the green and blue trails, or even improve your technique in the skills area. Once you get a better feel for mountain biking and decide you love it (which you will) you'll be able to move up to their red trails and beyond. Trust us, this centre isn't one to be overlooked.
7. Comrie Croft Mountain Bike Trails, Scotland.
Perfect for: A first-rate MTB weekend getaway.
What to expect: Whilst Comrie Croft certainly has something for every mountain biker, it's great for an immersive introduction into the MTB world. By day you can explore the blue trails – or book a coaching session; and by night you can relax by a wood-burning stove in a Norwegian Kata (a fancy tent).
8. Dunkeld Mountain Bike Trails, Scotland.
Go enduro style on the Dunkeld trails
Go enduro style on the Dunkeld trails
Perfect for: Trying everything and coaching.
What to expect: At Dunkeld not only can you find trails of every grade for both XC and DH, but you'll also get world class coaching if that's what you're looking for. You can hire a guide, request coaching lessons or even join one of the bike camps they run all through summer.
9. Glentress Mountain Bike Trail Centre, Scotland
Perfect for: Trails that will leave you grinning from ear to ear.
What to expect: At Glentress you can work on your skills in the dedicated skills loop which has timber and rock features split into graded areas, so you can't go far wrong. The trails around this area take in the stunning views of Tweed Valley and are immense fun. You can also head down the road to Innerleithen which is equally great.
10. Kirroughtree Mountain Bike Trail Centre, Scotland
Perfect for: Nervous riders and those who aren't sure about mountain biking.
What to expect: Like a lot these centres, Kirroughtree is a purpose built mountain biking centre with a taster loop and skills area. So if you're uncertain, this is a great centre to help get rid of those nerves. After a run on the taster loop you'll be ready to hit the green or blue trails – whichever you're most comfortable with!