Tim RickerbyGail MartinMark Rudds
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The Best Mountain Bike Trails in Ireland

Posted on November 19, 2015 @ 12:26 PM in Mountainbiking

With over three million pounds invested in mountain biking over the last five years and plans in place for even more trail centre developments in the future, Northern Ireland is widely regarded as one of the most exciting mountain bike destinations in Europe.  

Best Mountain Bike Trails in Ireland

The country currently boasts three National Trail Centres in Rostrevor, Castlewellan and Davagh Forest as well as three Regional Trail Centres in Blessingbourne, Castle Ward and Barnett Demesne.

Northern Ireland already enjoys an unparalleled reputation for world class hospitality and when you consider that these mountain bike trail centres are all within 90 minutes’ drive of each other… well you’ve got yourself a ready-made road trip destination.

To make life even easier, MountainBikeNI.com has put together some more information on six of the best mountain bike trails in Ireland as well as our top picks of great places to eat, drink and stay near the trails.  

 

Davagh Forest Trails

Best Mountain Bike Trails in Ireland

The Davagh Forest Trails are quite often described as Northern Ireland’s surprise package! Located way off the beaten track, in the heart of the Sperrin Mountains, this pocket rocket of a trail centre is packed full of high-octane singletrack not to mention some hair-raising rock features you’ll never forget. Younger and less experienced riders can enjoy Davagh’s green and blue trails however if it’s adrenaline you’re after then Davagh Forest’s red trail will deliver this in abundance! 

Eat: The Apparo | Drink: The Shepherd's Rest | Stay: Pollan Rua Cottage & Barn


Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails

Best Mountain Bike Trails in Ireland

The Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails are located on the shores of Carlingford Lough and offer some of the most exhilarating mountain biking in all of Ireland. There’s no question Rostrevor is a big day out on the bike however whether you make use of Northern Ireland’s only bespoke uplift service or rely on pedal-power alone, you will be rewarded with stunning coastal views and simply mind-blowing sections of singletrack descents. If Downhill is your game then both of Rostrevor's purpose-built DH trails will surely hit the spot! 

Eat: The Old School House | Drink: The Kilbroney Bar | Stay: Rostrevor Holidays


Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails

Best Mountain Bike Trails in Ireland

The Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails are the most popular trails in Northern Ireland (according to electronic visitor counters) and when you consider the variety on offer, under the incredible backdrop of the Mourne Mountains, it’s very easy to see why. Located just minutes from the lively village of Castlewellan, this welcoming trail centre boasts of range of green, blue and red trails (including black options) each offering their own level of adventure. Seasoned mountain bikers will love the flow of Castlewellan's iconic red trail. 

Eat: Mourne Seafood Bar | Drink: Maginns of Castlewellan | Stay: The Kings Inn

 

BEST OF THE REST IN NORTHERN IRELAND

Best Mountain Bike Trails in Ireland

Blessingbourne Trails

Blessingbourne was Northern Ireland's first purpose-built mountain bike trail centre however with an additional phase II developed in late 2014 the estate now offers a 4km blue trail, 8km red trail and pump track. A new coffee cabin also recently opened at the trailhead (seasonal) making this family-friendly trail centre a firm favourite amongst visiting mountain bikers and locals alike. Bike hire available all year round. 

Eat: Pinochos | Drink: The Valley Hotel | Stay: Blessingbourne Courtyard Apartments 


Barnett Demesne Trails & Jumps Park

Located on the banks of the River Lagan in South Belfast, this compact trail centre would be a unique addition to your next 'city break' in Belfast. Starting from the Mary Peters Athletics Track, the main blue trail is approx. 4km in length with a number of red options on offer if you fancy a bit more adrenaline. The Jumps Park has now also been resurfaced making this superb MTB/BMX facility ridable all year round.  

Eat: Lough Keeper's Inn | Drink: Cutters WharfStay: Ramada Plaza, Shaws Bridge


Castle Ward Trails 

If you are looking for an easy going 'family-friendly' trail centre with incredible coastal views then head straight for Castle Ward on the shores of Strangford Lough. This regional trail centre boasts a 13km blue loop, the 'Boundary Trail', which takes in best that this National Trust estate has to offer. Game of Thrones fans should not miss the unique 'Winterfell Cycle Tour' offered by Clearsky Adventure Centre.

Eat: Coach House Cafe | Drink: The Cuan, StrangfordStay: Castle Ward Camping Pods 

 

Visit MountainBikeNI.com for up-to-date trail conditions as well as information on the latest news and events taking place on Northern Ireland's official mountain bike trails this year! 

Chris Armstrong
Chris Armstrong  Mountain Bike Officer

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

2 comments have been posted in reply to this article

Posted by manny on August 30, 2016 @ 10:23 PM

The best option for families with younger children and first time mountain bikers is the Mineral Railway Trail, which heads north from the Tamar Trails Centre for 2km or south for 3km. The trail journeys through tranquil woodland along parts of the old mineral railway that once linked Devon Great Consols Mine with Morwellham Quay on the River Tamar. It is generally a level, wide track with some short steeper sections, and kids will love hopping off to learn more about the mining heritage at the Old Mine Office.

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