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A Mountain Biker's Guide toGrizedale Forest

By Chris Walker29 August 2018

Grizedale Forest sits in the southern central area of the Lake District, between lake Windermere to the East and Coniston to the West. As with the majority of Forestry Commission forests; Grizedale paints a broad brush and aims to entertain all levels of adventurer.


There are 8 trails at Grizedale; but only two will be of interest to enthusiast mountain bikers.

Singletrack/Graded trails

The Black MTB trail – Black graded singletrack, man-made bike-park style trail. 0.8 miles; designed for repeated runs.

The Black MTB Trail is not advertised or signposted; you’d need to know about it beforehand and ask the bike shop where it is. A bit of research reveals that bridleways and parts of The North Face Trail can be joined to create a decent singletrack loop.

The North Face MTB trail – Red graded singletrack with fire road climbs; 10 miles

The North Face trail features some excellent and challenging singletrack sections; only spoilt by their short length and seemingly endless fire road. There are two gates near the end of the trail which have no sign post warnings; it would be very easy to crash into them so watch out for those.

These trails are well way-marked and generally easy to follow.

Family Trails

Goosey Foot Tarn Trail – Forest road family trail; 2 miles

Grizedale Tarn Trail – Forest road family trail; 6 miles

Hawkshead Moor Trail – Green graded XC trail; 10.5 miles

Moor Top Trail – Forest road; 7 miles. Includes some road

Mushroom Cycle Trail – Forest sculpture trail; 3 or 7 miles

Silurian Way – Long family trail; 14 miles

MTB Facilities

There’s an excellent bike hire fleet; incorporating hard tails, e-bikes and full suspension bikes. Full suspension bikes are serviced regularly and replaced every 6 months; the current crop was the excellent Specialised Stumpjumper.

The bike shop is large and very well stocked, with an excellent choice of clothing, accessories and protection from various brands. A bike wash is available; 50p per bike.

There is a chargeable car park with dedicated toilet block and other toilets located on-site, however there are no showering facilities.

You’ll also find a visitor centre with an art gallery, conference centre, activities for school trips and a small cafe serving hot drinks and food.

If you are bringing children, there is a small playground on-site.

Getting here

From the south, exit the M6 at junction 36 and go via Newby Bridge, turning right at Haverthwaite Crossroads. Follow signs for Grizedale Forest.

From the north, head to Ambleside and leave the village on the A593 towards Langdale Consiton. Follow B5286 south, and take a right at the sign for Grizedale.

Sat Nav Postcode: LA22 0QJ


Grizedale is close to Ambleside and Windermere for accommodation and eating out.

The Lake District has excellent off-piste mountain bike riding.

Whinlatter Forest to the north, has trail centre facilities; featuring the Altura trail.

Chris Walker

About Chris Walker

Chris Walker is a musician and IT Engineer from North Wales, living on the border just south of Chester. Between the office and the stage, he explores the Welsh countryside by bike and by foot; as well as regular adventures to the islands and mountains of Scotland.

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