Bikemagic Trail Guide: Kielder, Northumberland

Nikalas Cook

Destination: Kielder, Northumberland

The vast forest around Kielder Water has been a magnet for mountain bikers since knobby tyres first came to the UK.  The Forestry Commission has long embraced mountain bikers, and now provides an extensive trail network as well as hosting events and races.

Part of the red route at Kielder. Image CC by thekelticfringe via Flickr.
Berming it up in a Kielder enduro. Image CC by space-scape via Flickr

Opened in the early 1980s, Kielder Water is the largest artificial lake by capacity in the UK and the forest that surrounds it is the largest man-made woodland in Europe. The busy volunteer bees of Kielder Trail Reavers have been making the most of all the space and have constructed quality, challenging trails that deliver a real sense of being “out in the woody wilds”.

How to get there

From Carlisle, follow the A7 north towards Hawick.

After about 13 miles, turn right onto the B6357 and follow this through Newcastleton.

Pick up signs for Kielder Water and Forest Park and in Saughtree turn right onto the C200, the road which runs adjacent to the southern shore of Kielder Water.

One of the high points in Kielder. Image CC by aliweb_gt via Flickr.

Access to the forest can be gained from a number of points along the C200, alternatively continue to Kielder Castle Forest Park Centre at the northern end of Kielder Water.

Sat Nav: NE48 1HX

Facilities

Everything you’d expect from a

The official trail map. Click for the interactive version at the official Kielder MTB page.

full-on Forestry Commission Trail Centre.

Trails

Unless you’re after a scenic but long pootle around a large lake avoiding mobility scooters, the 42 km Lakeland Way is probably best avoided.

The 11 km blue grade Borderline is a gentle pedal.

Things get a bit more interesting on the 20.5 km blue grade Osprey but it’s still more family biking than mountain biking.

Kielder boarding. Image CC by aliweb_gt via Flickr

Things spice up when you hit the red grade trails. The 15 km Deadwater is the oldest trail and has stood up to the test of time well. There’s a long forest road drag but the fast singletrack sections easily
make up for it. Tack on the 2 km black grade Up and Over extension for some bumpy and
jumpy fun. Just make sure you commit to the final gap jump.

The 19.7 Lonesome Pine is an ideal stepping stone trail for less experienced riders wanting to progress from blue to red. It’s flowing but with very few drop offs or technical features.

The Lonesome Pines forms part of the 33 km Bloody Bush trail that links to the 7 Stanes centre at Newcastleton.

Again, not massively technical, but a true adventure ride through some spectacular remote locations.

If you’ve still got some energy left at the end of the day, there’s a fun skills loop
too.

Nearest bike shop

Purple Mountain (onsite)

Other info

Parking is £4.00 for the day
Kielder hosts lots of events and activities, including mountain bike races

Useful links

36-page Kielder trail guide (PDF)

Kielder Trail Reavers

Official information on mountain biking in Kielder

The Forestry Commission’s Kielder site

Deciding whether or not to tackle the black route. Image CC by aliweb_gt via Flickr

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