Whether you're looking for family-friendly trails or a mountain-bike challenge, England has woods for every cyclist
Cardinham Woods in Cornwall only opened its new mountain-biking trails – including the fearsomely named Bodmin Beast and Hell's Teeth – this year, but it's already becoming a favoured spot among informed and experienced mountain bikers.
Leigh Woods and Ashton Court in Bristol are perfect for a fast fix. Just moments from the city centre, they couldn't feel further from urbanity. Cycle three marked Leigh Woods trails against a stunning backdrop with views of Avon Gorge and Clifton suspension bridge.
New Forest You won't find trails for the extreme cyclist here, but you will enjoy 100 miles of traffic-free routes on flat, gravel track that is perfect for families. Summer is an extra-special time as the adorable New Forest foals are around, but do not disturb or attempt to feed the forest ponies.
Grizedale Forest in Cumbria has ancient oak woodlands and glorious views over the Lake District and across to the Old Man of Coniston. Of the six way-marked cycling trails, only one is technical and challenging while the others follow forest roads. All include hills, though.
Kielder Forest in Northumberland (pictured below) is awesome both for its size and variety of routes. This is England's largest forest, so if you are planning to cover more than a fraction of it, you've really got to tackle it by bike.
Forest of Dean offers family routes, such as the Peregrine Path, and mountain biking in the Sallowvallets area. It doesn't promise the biggest terrain or gnarliest descents but fast, fun trails – and incredible bacon butties – have made it the English forest of choice for mountain- biking experts at Wideopen magazine.
Dalby Forest in Yorkshire is one of the best mountain-biking sites in the world. The four-mile, black-graded World Cup cycle trail is challenging, but there are less frenetic blue and green trails (graded easy and moderate), too.
Sherwood Pines mountain- bike trails range from green (easy) to orange (extreme) in the East Midlands' largest forest open to the public. Route 6 of the wonderful National Cycle Network runs right through it too, so cycle tourers get a taste of the woodland as part of a longer ride.
Bedgebury Forest in Kent has an eight-mile single track for mountain biking or a six-mile family trail, which is easy to cut short if needed. It's not possible to cycle in the National Pinetum, but take time to explore it on foot.
Hamsterley Forest in County Durham is a well-known mountain-biking spot, renowned for its downhill trails and offering technical, challenging riding. The Walney to Wear long-distance cycle route passes through this forest, too.
Originally from: Environment: Bike blog | theguardian.com http://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog