North of England Trail Centres – Suggestions for 3 day road trip?
Get out and do some natural stuff in Calderdale and the Peak District, both of which are close to Manchester than the three “trail centres” you list – stainburn is very very small and really is not worth a sepcial trip from manchester, and none of the trails really have facilities such as cafés
if you post dates I’m sure you;ll get offers of guiding from locals – I’m considering orgainsing a pootle out of Marple at some point in Novenmber anywayPosted 4 years agoahwilesSubscriber
Stainburn is very small, and awesome, and packed full of stuff that’ll have you playing for hours. It’s definitely worth a special trip from Manchester.
Lee+Cragg Quarry can be great fun, but are a little exposed to the weather – it can get pretty miserable up on them there hills. But if it’s sunny and the wind is light then it’s a lot of fun.
There’s lots of good techy riding at Gisburn – worth going, but it’s a surprisingly long way from anywhere…
as Jekkyl says ^ put Cannock on your list, so much swoopy fun for so little climbing.Posted 4 years ago
We have tickets for the Track Cycling World Cup in Manchester at the end of the month so will be heading up to the frozen north from the tropical south.
Looking to do 3 days mountainbiking afterwards and are currently thinking of Lee Quarry, Gisburn and Stainburn.
Any other suggestions welcome.
CheersPosted 4 years agoDaveyBoyWonderMember
Lee/Cragg Quarries are a windswept, bleak hellhole at this time of year. It has its own (baltic) microclimate and whilst its a good place to have a muck about, its not an all day type place. Stainburn as people have said isn’t really an all day type place either and depending on where you’re basing yourselves, is a pain in the neck to get to – takes me the best part of an hour from Halifax.
Gisburn would be worth a shout especially now they have some facilities. If you’re basing yourself around Manchester for a few days, dare I mention Llandegla? Only an hour at the most from Manchester and its great. Go and do a lap, have some lunch and then get out and do another lap taking in some of the different options to lap 1.
Other than that, I’ll echo what other people have said and try and do some natural stuff around Calderdale. Yes, its not following the signs around a trail centre but doing something like the Hebden > Widdop > Whirlaw Stones > Slug > back up towards Blackshawhead > one of the Heptonstall descents is easy to navigate, is a decent length ride, stands up to adverse weather conditions pretty well and gives you a real good taste of what Calderdale riding is about.Posted 4 years agoJunkyardMember
Lee Quarry – remote but easy enough to reach high up on a hill so not good when its windy. A few play areas but llandegla it is not
Gisburn – better more variety but harder/further/awkward to get to – you could get to the lakes or Wales quicker from Manc tbh
Whinlatter – miles aways from manc and not worth the effort IMHO and to go there and refuse Skiddaw or borrowdal bash for whinlatter is madness tbh.
Grizedale – the natural stuff there is better IMHO though I have not done the black
Stainburn – small but tricky and well worth it – different from all the others and it is worth it but a little small
Not trying to diss you but that is my honest opinion gor ride something natural as it will give greater variety and be easier to get to.Posted 4 years ago
What a waste to be in that area and only want to ride the trail centresbuck53Subscriber
As a random shout, don’t forget that there are now trails out the back of the Velodrome in Clayton Vale. They’re 5 minutes down the road from me and there’s easily enough for a couple of hours mucking about if you session a couple of bits.
Wouldn’t dream of recommending you go to them especially, but if you’re already at the Velodrome…?Posted 4 years agoSinglespeed_ShepMember
You’ll always get natural v trail centres on here. There’s no doubt what has the best to offer, but if your after a simple time with a group then go to a couple of trail centres.
I’d personally drive to the lakes (easy hour and half drive from manchester), Grizedale and Whinlatter are pretty good, base yourself near Keswick which is a great little town with good pubs etc.
Then to keep the natural lovers happy the Borrowdale bash is really easy to follow. Plenty of sites have a good map of the route.Posted 4 years agojonbaMember
North Wales? Lakes?
You are in the Midlands in Manchester 😉
I know the appeal of trail centres if you just want a fun no faff ride where you focus on the riding and not navigating etc. As above the lakes is really easy. While not signposted like a trail centre the main paths are nearly all marked and the navigation simple.
Some of the classic ones like Borrowdale, Grizedale, Loughrigg, Garburn would make a good few days.
Never been to Wales riding as it is a bit far from Newcastle for a weekend (for me) but I hear very good things.Posted 4 years agoFunkyDuncMember
I just don’t think the north of England has very good trail centres not compared to Scotland and Wales
I agree with this! I think its because we dont have the space, but what we do have is fantastic single track every where and nice big hills. Good if your a local, not so good if your not local.
The only time I do get fed up is when everything turns in to a muddy mud bath in the middle of winter, then I wish we had a decent trail centre.
OP – The 3 centres you talk about are quite big drives from each other, not such much in physical distance, but the traffic to get from Lee Quarry to say Stainburn could take you 2-3 hours.
Stainburn is hard, your skills will have to be really up there to get the best out of a day…Posted 4 years agochestrockwellMember
Some funny ideas on here as usual.
My take is Gisburn’s well worth a trip. Good mix of techy/swoopy/steady trails. Lee Quary is also worth a visit if the weather’s not too naughty. Both can be raced round within a few hours but there’s plenty to keep you busy most of the day if you want. No idea what route some of the people above are taking as both are not a huge journey away from manc (an hour to Lee from Halifax???????? Are you walking backwards?)
Stainburn’s a different kettle of fish. Unless you like DH I’d give it a miss. The new section’s ok but you’d struggle to fill a day and it’s the furthest from where you are. Not worth the trip imo. If you do go there though have a look across the road in the Norwood wood. You’d probably get to the lakes or North Wales as quickly so I’d head to either of them.Posted 4 years agostumpyjonSubscriber
Lee Quarry to Gisburn is about 50 mins although it does involve a lot of lanes. Lee Quarry can be incorporated into a lot of natural riding as it’s at the west end of Calderdale and on the Mary Townley Loop. Stainburn is a good hours drive from Lee Quarry.
In your shoes I’d do Gisburn and Lee, incorporating some natural riding from Lee, people on here can give you routes or if you join PMBA for a fiver there are a number of route maps you can access as a member on http://www.pmba.org.uk.Posted 4 years agomartinhutchSubscriber
I’m not sure there are enough decent north of England trail centres to justify a three day trip if you’re not interested in the Lakes!
Stainburn – v small, needs to be linked to something else
Hamsterley – OK, but needs a selective approach as a large chunk of the red is fire-road.
Let’s just say I’m somewhat indifferent to the charms of Dalby.Posted 4 years agoHarry_the_SpiderSubscriber
Once everyone has finished pissing in each others shoes / shitting down chimneys etc…
If you are about on a Monday evening you could always join in the legendary Monday Night Pub Ride.
We ride bikes then we go to the pub. Location is always within spitting distance of Manchester.Posted 4 years agoyorkshire89Member
I would have a go at Stainburn, its a nice change from other trail centre’s. Your never anymore than 10 mintues from the carpark but there’s plenty to have a go at.
The red loop and descent are fairly short and sweet but you can have a few goes on each. Pretty technical though, took me a few outings before feeling comfortable to go for it on the decent.
The black is very technical, i still walk alot of it.
There’s a couple of nice descents over the road too, its an xc loop but i tend to walk up the descent if its quiet. Went a couple of weeks back and the leaves are falling now, so there are a few hidden roots to watch out for.Posted 4 years agomuddyfoolMember
OP: I want to go to a trail centre, which ones are best?
STW: no you don’t, you should ride natural trails / go fishing / read a book instead.
Love it 🙂
I’ll comment on the ones I know:
I went to Gisburn last week for the first time, really enjoyed it. Decent red loop with a bit of everything and a few techier black options. The downhill after the big climb is great and well worth repeating! I think the cafe may only be open fri, sat, sun though which is worth bearing in mind. Apparently it has improved a lot in the last year or so, so bear that in mind if you’re reading old threads/reviews.
Lee Quarry is fun but shorter and more of a playground really, with lots of repeatable short runs, pump track etc. As others have mentioned it is much more exposed if the weather’s bad due to no trees and being on top of a hill. The run back down to the “car park” is good fun though!
Llandegla is like a rollercoaster – fast, wide and jumpy,but all rollable and nothing really techy. Great fun IMO but some don’t like it.
All good, all different…Posted 4 years agoricktMember
DaveyBoyWonder – Member
Other than that, I’ll echo what other people have said and try and do some natural stuff around Calderdale. Yes, its not following the signs around a trail centre but doing something like the Hebden > Widdop > Whirlaw Stones > Slug > back up towards Blackshawhead > one of the Heptonstall descents is easy to navigate, is a decent length ride, stands up to adverse weather conditions pretty well and gives you a real good taste of what Calderdale riding is about.
This ^^ — there’s loads of good trails around by us, you could head upto Stoodley Pike if you do the other side of the valley towards BlackSTONE edge too. (There’s also Cragg Road which the TDF is riding upto Blackstone edge.)Posted 4 years agoThe Sanity AssassinSubscriber
Do yourself a favour and head over to Dalby. There’s more than enough there for a huge day out, it has all the facilities you’ll need and you can ride the WC sections like the pros too!! It’ll be around 2.5hrs from Manc, but it’s all major roads to get there (M62/A1M/A64) and easy enough to find.Posted 4 years agofunkrodentSubscriber
3 days? Only trail centres? Lakes and N.Wales banned? Each to their own, but FWIW I’d do Lee and Cragg on day one just to work on the skills a bit, maybe session Philips Park reds on the way back for some jumpy fun, then Gisburn on day two and finish up with Llandegla on day three. I know that technically its N.Wales, but only just and if the OP hasn’t ridden it before it’s certainly worth a visit, doing the red loop first and then adding all the black bits in on the second run. Great caff too 😀Posted 4 years agonick1962Member
Gisburn is the only one of the three I would describe as a trail centre,not as good as the good Scottish ones but worth a visit if that’s your thing.Posted 4 years ago
Lee Quarry is more like a big ,rocky freeride/skills park and you just loop around it a few times.The decsent is ok but then you’re back at the start.You certainly don’t get a feeling that you’re in the countryside as you do with most trail centres.
Stainburn a short, technical cirucit as others have said.
Definitely consider a trip to Calderdale where you can get a great mix of technical,rocky,XC moorland loops the lot.
PS I wouldn’t leave your bikes on or visible in your car unattended in Manchester (including the Velodrome)either.
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