Whether you're a long-time mountain biking dirtbag, who rides steep single track to work each morning, or you're a bit of a mountain biking novice on the hunt for somewhere new to get off-road, there'll be a campsite out there to suit. We've enjoyed our fair share of mountain biking over the years, particularly on our trips to Cool Camping campsites, but there are some places that are so superbly located for bikers that we couldn't help but compile a little list. These campsites aren't necessarily chosen for their bike-hire, gear-washing and top-of-the-range facilities, instead we've chosen based mainly on location. If you want to pitch your tent and hit some of the UK's best trails right from your doorstep, you just can't beat these spots...
Danny MacAskill’s ridge riding on the tooth-like Cuillin mountain range went viral in 2015 and mountain biking on the Isle of Skye is now more popular than ever. Slap bang in the centre of the scenery, Sligachen is the ultimate campsite for soaking up the views and stoking up for a day on two wheels. It’s a bit rough and ready for some, but there’s heaps of space and the site is reasonably equipped with showers, toilets, laundry and electricity for campervans.
Torrent Walk, Gwynedd
In the shadow of Cader Idris Mountain, Torrent Walk Campsite is a simple, informal site with two flat, spacious fields housing up to 60 campers. Facilities include secure bike storage, a drying room and a high-powered jet wash for your muddy wheels. The famous mountain circuit of Snowdon, Wales’ highest peak, isn’t far to the north. Road, track, rock, scree, the route has it all, with a hairy knife-edge ridge to get the heart pumping.
Gwerniago Farm, Powys
Located in the pretty Dovey Valley, this working hill farm in Snowdonia has, for years, opened its front field to campers. Little fire pits dot the site and there’s a friendly pub just down the lane. Head in the other direction, cross the A-road and the great peaks of the national park climb away before you, with valley after valley of road-free slopes. The campsite itself is low-key with no real frills but there’s a hose for cleaning down the bike and the showers are piping hot.
Demesne Farm, Northumberland
The slopes around Kielder Water in Northumberland are well known for their single-track trails, with routes for all abilities. The Deadwater trails from Kielder village itself are the most severe, with awe-inspiring views from the Skellys Rigging section and downhill excitement through ‘the Forrest’s Dive’. To the south, on the edge of the National Park, Demesne Farm is a prime spot to base yourself, with a drying room and bike storage. A top pick for outdoor enthusiasts, the campsite is also right on the edge of the Pennine Way for hikers.
Open only to tents and often deserted, this grassy meadow is as close to wild camping as you can get, but with toilets and hot showers on hand to help you warm and clean up after your ride. To the south, the Achnashellach and Torridon hills boast no less than 17 Munros, with a main, stony trail running towards them. Follow the route up to Bealach Ban (some sections even the very best will have to walk) for the most breathtaking views.
Westermill Farm Holidays, Somerset
Right in the heart of Exmoor, Westermill Farm is a riverside campsite with a mix of open and woodland pitches. Campfires are permitted, fishing is too and there are trails right from the main farm gate. Head north east for the best of the singletrack routes, with particularly brutal climbs and thrilling descents around Dunkery Beacon – the highest point in the national park.
Lairig Ghru is one of the most well-known mountain passes in the Cairngorms and listed in every mountain-biking magazine as one of the UK’s top off-roading locations. Below the pass, a great piece of undulating singletrack is accessible to riders of all abilities and starts directly from Rothieurchus Campsite. Pitch up among the trees and you’re always guaranteed to find yourself among fellow bikers. Open all year and with space for campervans, it’s a good choice for all-weather warriors.
Greenway Touring & Glamping Park, Shropshire
On the eastern edge of the Shropshire Hills, Greenway Touring Park is a well-located campsite directly on National Cycle Route 44. As a result it often fills with family cyclists taking on the quiet country lanes, but it’s the dirt tracks to the north that draws the mountain-biking crowd. Nearby Church Stretton is a particularly popular staring point, with an exposed track climbing to the top of Long Mynd – an exhilarating route that can be formidable on windy days.
The Quiet Site, Cumbria
Overlooking Ullswater and surrounded by the mountains of the North Lakes, The Quiet Site has flat camping pitches, bell tents for hire and a collection of wooden ‘hobbit holes’. A local map is provided on arrival – handy if you want to get straight on your wheels – and the staff are knowledgeable about the best routes. The real highlight? The best on-site pub of any UK campsite, housed inside a converted farm bar with an open log fire, real ales on tap (including their own brew) and a proper pub atmosphere.
Marthrown of Mabie, Dumfries & Galloway
Smack bang on the edge of the Mabie Forest Seven Staines mountain biking trail, Marthrown of Mabie has a scattering of tent pitches in among the pines along with a tipi, a yurt and an Iron Age-style roundhouse for rent. There are full kitchen facilities for use and a wood-fired hot tub for relaxing at the end of a long day in the woods. Several Seven Staines routes pass by, with Phoenix Trail the most difficult – a mixed, single-track cross-country route with tight berms and some rocky sections.
Resipole Farm, Argyll
On the banks of Loch Sunart on Scotland’s wild western shores, Resipole Farm is a hub for outdoor enthusiasts. An unmistakable ‘activity aura’ envelopes the whole campsite, with canoes and sailing boats hauled to and from the loch, mountain bikers returning from long days in the saddle and rock climbers stringing out their ropes beside each tent. The pitches offer heaps of space and the facilities are modern and comprehensive.
Side Farm, Cumbria
There’s nothing in particular about Side Farm in the Lake District that caters towards cyclists: Showers, toilets and washing up areas are clean and well maintained but there is no cycle storage or drying room facilities. What it does offer, however, is an outstanding location, tucked down a bumpy farm track right on the shore of Ullswater. There are few flat spots in the meadow – so it pays to arrive early – and advanced bookings are not taken but some of the very best mountain biking routes in the country are right on the doorstep.