10 off-road routes in the UK

As part of Cycling UK's 140th Birthday celebrations, we asked members, staff and members of the wider cycling community like Chris Boardman and Isla Rowntree to gift us 10 of their favourite off-road routes suitable for regular riders. All these routes are between 17 and 28 miles long.

Cycling UK's Surrey Hills loop

Cycling UK's off-road policy advisor Kieran Foster played an instrumental role in delivering the Cycle Surrey Hills off-road network of routes, which are a selection of thoroughly waymarked routes just south of Guildford. This route is a loop beginning at Farnham Great Pond and takes the rider through nature reserves, former fortifications and a good spot for some cake at the end. 

View the Surrey Hills loop

Princetown to Burrator reservoir route

Cycling UK Training Manager Matt Woodcock grew up close to Dartmoor in Devon and shares a classic loop which takes you from Princetown to Burrator reservoir. This route takes you through varied moorland terrain, on- and off-road, plus gravel tracks. Clear days will let you see some of the best parts of the moor - but given Dartmoor's reputation always pack a decent waterproof! 

View the Princetown to Burrator reservoir route

Around Longdendale and the Etherow Valley from Old Glossop, Derbyshire by Richard Peace

Cycling UK's e-bike expert and cycling author Richard Peace takes us on a ride from the charming Old Glossop Conservation Area out to explore the Victorian dams of Longdendale, all with their brooding Pennine backdrop in Derbyshire.

View the Around Longdendale and the Etherow Valley from Old Glossop route

Hebden Bridge to Summit via Pennine Bridleway and Rochdale Canal, West Yorkshire 

Richard Peace shares another route, this time for more experienced riders, that takes you high above the Calder and Roch valleys as you explore ancient trails. There are some rocky, technical sections mixed in with plenty of broad tracks and a long length of scenic canal towpath. Reasonable ability/experienced rider level is advised, as there are some steep gradients on fairly uneven surfaces.

View the Hebden Bridge to Summit via Pennine Bridleway and Rochdale Canal route

John Muir Way, East Lothian by Suzanne Forup

Cycling UK’s Head of Development in Scotland Suzanne Forup takes us on a ride along the John Muir Way in East Lothian. The road sections are generally quiet but rural. It's a route which suits regular cyclists, or beginners if doing it one way. Families with older children cycling independently, or children in toddler seats or trailers for some variations on the route, should also find it an enjoyable ride if they are experienced.  

View the John Muir Way, East Lothian route

Dundonnell to Poolewe by Lee Craigie

In a route not for the faint-hearted, Adventure Syndicate founder and member Lee Craigie lets us into the secrets of the Highlands with this challenging 26.4-miler, which can be broken up with an overnight stay at Sheneval Bothy.

View the Dundonnell to Poolewe route

Ludlow to Wenlock Edge loop by Isla Rowntree

Isla Rowntree the eponymous children’s bike designer and longstanding Cycling UK member lives and works in Shropshire; here's one of her favourite 'rough stuff' routes in the Ludlow area. 

View the Ludlow to Wenlock Edge loop

Moors Above the Holme and Colne Valleys loop

The area you ride through here is the backdrop for Last of the Summer Wine, and as well as its obvious charm appropriately offers the opportunity to visit a spectacular local vineyard. Richard Peace shares one of his favourite routes in the Peak District and Pennines.

View the Moors Above the Holme and Colne Valleys loop

Aviemore loop by Chris Boardman

Olympic champion and world record holder Chris Boardman is also now Manchester’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner. While best known for his on road exploits, this route is one of Chris' favourites taking you out on to Highland trails and far away from the tarmac. 

View Chris Boardman's Aviemore loop

The last line of defence

This off-road route, which begins in Surrey and finishes up in Berkshire via Hampshire, is currently being developed by Cycling UK's off-road policy advisor Kieran Foster. It follows the line created by the General Headquarters' defensive 'stop line' of pillboxes still visible today using existing byways and bridleways.

View the Last line of defence route

To be inspired to get out cycling, why not find a unique cycle route near you by searching our 140 Birthday cycling routes.