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N.Ireland: A Mountain Biker’s Paradise

Posted on February 13, 2015 @ 11:32 AM in Mountainbiking

With over 110km of purpose-built trails opened across five trail centres in the last two years, Northern Ireland is fast becoming the UK's most talked about mountain bike destination. 

Northern Ireland: A Mountain Biker's Paradise

With stacks of MTB-friendly accommodation options near each trail centre and a great selection of cafes and restaurants where you can load up on your carbs before your ride and replenish all that spent energy in the evenings, this corner of the UK is a true mountain biker’s paradise! 

MTB-Friendly Cafe

Never biked in Northern Ireland before? We thought we’d put together some local recommendations of MTB-friendly places to stay, eat and drink near each of Northern Ireland’s stunning new mountain bike trail centres.  

Davagh Forest Trails 

The Davagh Forest Trails are tucked away in the untouched rural landscape of the Sperrin Mountains and offer exhilarating cross-country trails that’ll tick everyone’s boxes. The family-friendly green trail is perfect for those giving mountain biking a go for the very first time whereas the easy going blue trail boasts some sections of more technical singletrack for those with a bit more experience. There is also a pump track and short skills course located at the trailhead however if you’re after a fast trail that’ll keep you on your toes then Davagh’s Red Trail is for you.

What the experts say…

Possibly the best bit of purpose-built trail we’ve ridden. Anywhere.” Singletrack Magazine

Davagh Forest Trails

Other things to do nearby…

Ulster American Folk Park
This unique museum allows you to immerse yourself in the fascinating story of the Irish migration to America in the 17th, 18th & 19th Centuries. Walking through the park, you can follow their journey from the thatched cottages of Ulster to full scale emigrant sailing ships and the log cabins of the American Frontier. Definitely well worth a visit if you are planning a day off the bikes.

MTB-Friendly Places to Eat, Drink and Stay…

Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails 

On the shores of Carlingford Lough, the Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails offer some of the most challenging mountain biking in all of Ireland where efforts are rewarded with incredible coastal views and lightning quick singletrack descents. When you add not just one but two purpose-built downhill trails to the mix, there’s no denying it… Rostrevor is a mountain biker’s haven.

What the experts say…

“A superb array of riding perfectly sculpted to its scenic surroundings.” Mountain Biking UK

Rostrevor Trails

Other things to do nearby…

Whitewater Brewery Tour
All fans of real ale and locally brewed lagers should not miss a trip to Whitewater, one of Northern Ireland’s most loved microbreweries. Also located in Kilkeel, Whitewater produce handcrafted beers from the finest ingredients with no additives and a tour of the brewery will teach you the various processes each bottle goes through before ending up in pubs and bars across Northern Ireland.

MTB-Friendly Places to Eat, Drink and Stay…

Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails 

The Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails consist of a range of fast, flowy cross-country trails just minutes from the lively village of Castlewellan. As well as delivering their fair share of adrenaline, these trails allow visitors to soak up unparalleled ‘mountainscape’ views of the Mournes. With green, blue and red grade trails (including black options) Castlewellan is a must-visit trail centre for mountain bikers of all ages and abilities.

What the experts say…
Twisty, technical trails that just feel like they are happy to have you there.” Singletrack Magazine 

Castlewellan Trails

Other things to do nearby…

Soak Seaweed Baths
This multi award winning alternative seaweed bath house and spa is the perfect place to relax and unwind after a tough day on the trails. Located on the seafront in Newcastle, Soak offers a place to be spoiled in silky hot seaweed baths or enjoy rejuvenating spa treatments. Open all year round, there is a small café and even some self-catering apartments if you fancy basing yourself here.

MTB-Friendly Places to Eat, Drink and Stay…

Blessingbourne Trails

With a gentle winding blue trail, a purpose-built pump track and an exhilarating red trail offering a mix of technical black options, the welcoming Blessingbourne Trails are geared up for everyone from families to experienced mountain bikers looking for a relaxed trail centre set in a beautiful rural estate.

What the experts say…

“A roller coaster of a trail. Sure there are no crazy climbs but it’s packed full of technical features.” Outsider

Blessingbourne Trails

Other things to do nearby…

Blessingbourne Coach and Carriage Museum
Take an imaginary ride into the past with this enchanting collection of coaches, carriages, cabs and buggies as well as horse-drawn farm machinery. Among the numerous coaches on display is an 1825 London – Oxford stagecoach. Aeronautical enthusiasts will love the museum’s former UN helicopter!

MTB-Friendly Places to Eat, Drink and Stay…

Barnett Demesne Trails & Jumps Park 

On the outskirts of Belfast, the Barnett Demesne Trails & Jumps Park offer a compact network of cross-country trails and the only official dirt jumps park in Northern Ireland. The trails alone are a great addition to your Belfast City Break however if it’s ‘air’ you are after then the jumps park should be your first port of call.

What the experts say…

Every single feature flows together as you weave through the tightly spaced trees.” Mountain Bike Rider 

Barnett Demesne Trails

Other things to do nearby…

Ulster Museum
Located only 30 minutes cycle (along the River Lagan Towpath) from the Barnett Demesne Trails & Jumps Park, the Ulster Museum is a treasure house of the past and the present and home to a rich collection of art, history and natural sciences. The revitalised museum tells the story of the people of the north of Ireland from earliest times to the present day. Impressive galleries and interactive discovery zones bring history, science and art collections to life for visitors of all ages.

MTB-Friendly Places to Eat, Drink and Stay…

Check out for more information on each of these new mountain bike trail centres as well as a full list of MTB-friendly accommodation providers, cafes, pubs and restaurants in Northern Ireland.  

Chris Armstrong
Chris Armstrong  Mountain Bike Officer

Chris looks after all things mountain biking in Northern Ireland's a tough job but someone's gotta do it!

1 comment has been posted in reply to this article

Posted by Gareth Stirling on April 17, 2015 @ 11:18 AM

Hi Chris,

Over Easter I was at Castlewellan on the bike trails. I am just a beginner and found them difficult enough but good craic.

I was hoping you can help. I am currently recruiting for a Copywriter. I require someone who has around 3+ years writing experience in a cycling related field. They must have excellent cycling brand and industry knowledge.

Would you know anyone who could match this criteria?

Kind Regards,


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