If you're looking for the best UK gravel routes, look no further. These routes will take you through some of the most beautiful countryside in the country, and will test your cycling skills like never before. In this guide, we'll provide our thoughts on some of the best gravel routes in the UK, as well as tips on how to prepare for them.
We print hundreds of cyclists rides on our cycling map design tool and have cherry picked some of the ones that have got us inspired to go for a ride.
From the rolling hills of the Peak District to the wild coastal paths of Cornwall, there are endless options for exploration. Gravel riding is a great way to get off the beaten track and experience the beauty of the British countryside at its best. Here are just a few of the best gravel routes in the UK:
#1 Trans Cambrian Way
The Trans Cambrian Way is a bike route that runs for 160 miles across Wales, from Knighton in the east to Chester in the west. The route takes in some of Wales' most stunning scenery, including the Cambrian Mountains, the Brecon Beacons, and the Pumlumon massif. Despite its challenges, the Trans Cambrian Way is a popular route with bikers of all levels of experience. The majority of the route is off-road, meaning that cyclists can enjoy views of pristine valleys and mountainsides that would otherwise be inaccessible. In addition, the route passes through several towns and villages, providing opportunities to stop for refreshments or to explore local history and culture. It's certainly more on the gnarly side so we'd recommend some big tyres or even a bit of suspension on a hardtail.
Read more and get the route from bikepacking.com
#2 South Downs Way
The South Downs Way is a spectacular cycling route that winds its way through the picturesque countryside of southern England. Starting in Eastbourne, the route takes riders on a journey of around 100 miles through rolling hills and quaint villages, before finishing in Winchester. Along the way, there are numerous opportunities to stop and explore the local area, with many towns and villages offering an array of shops, cafes, and pubs. The South Downs Way is a popular route for both experienced cyclists and those just starting out, and it is sure to create lasting memories for all who tackle it. Depending on your experience and fitness plan for 2-4 days.
Read more about it and get the route here
#3 Kielder Forest Reiver
The Kielder Forest is full of options but this 1-day route is a 55-mile takes inspiration from the infamous Dirty Reiver event. Do not be fooled by the distance, this route is a real challenge. The terrain is remote with the only stop on the route at the cafe at Kielder Castle itself. It's worth the effort though - the forest is home to an impressive array of wildlife, including red squirrels, roe deer, and ospreys, and the gravel route is the perfect way to explore this natural wonder. The route is challenging but rewarding, with stunning views of the North Pennines and Lake District. This makes it a great option for those looking for an adventure. So if you're up for a challenge, why not give this mini Dirty Reiver.
Read the ride report and get the route on Komoot
#4 King Alfred’s Way
King Alfred’s Way is a 143-mile bike route that runs through the counties of Hampshire, West Sussex, and East Sussex in southern England from Winchester to Shoreham-by-Sea. The route is named after King Alfred the Great, who is said to have ridden this same path on horseback in the 9th century and passes through some of England’s most beautiful countryside. Today, the route is popular with both leisure cyclists and serious riders looking for a challenge. The scenery along the way is varied and beautiful, with rolling hills, woodlands, and coastline all waiting to be explored. The route is well-signposted and relatively flat, making it suitable for cyclists of all abilities. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely cycle or a challenging adventure, King Alfred’s Way is a great option.
Find out more and get the route at Cycling UK
#5 The Great North Trail
The Great North Trail bike route is a fantastic way to see the northern British countryside. Stretching for over 800 miles, the route takes in some of the best scenery that the UK has to offer, from the Peak District in England up through Highlands of Scotland. Along the way, cyclists will pass through picturesque villages, verdant forests, and rolling hills. The route follows a number of existing trails, including the Pennine Way and the West Highland Way. The trail is divided into sections, each of which can be completed in smaller blocks if you can't do it one go. The route is not designed to be the easiest, most direct, or fastest route, but one that inspires and invigorates, whilst providing stunning scenery, good riding, and plenty of adventure.
Find out more and get the route at Cycling UK
The GBDivide is a 2000KM event where you should expect a serious challenge! It's not for the faint of heart. With epic terrain and some truly breathtaking views. The official event is open to anyone who is willing to meet the challenge but you can have a crack whenever you want. In terms of riding time, it's a pretty even split of 50/50 road/off-road. The vast majority of the 'off-road' is double track so you'll want a setup that rolls well but can handle the rough stuff... a bike with minimum 40mm tyres would be ideal. It's worth the effort though as the route takes riders on a journey through some of Britain’s wildest places and its rich industrial past. For those looking for the biggest and best UK gravel adventure then this is it.
The routes we’ve featured in this guide are just a taste of what the UK has to offer cyclists looking for a challenge. If you’re looking for something more extreme, there are plenty of other routes out there that will test your skills and endurance. Once you’ve completed one of these epic routes, get your map printed with us to remember the ride and then start planning your next adventure.