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South West England Mountain Biking

Dartmoor, Exmoor, Quantocks

This is the second edition of the very popular South West Mountain Biking Guide Book covering Dartmoor, Exmoor and the Quantocks.

Explore wild and epic moorland, plunge into steep and wooded combes, and speed along some of the best singletrack in the country: the South West has it all.

Includes 26 superb and carefully chosen rides to suit all abilities.

Clear Ordnance Survey mapping.

Easy to follow route directions

Published 2011

Second Edition

Written by Nick Cotton & Tom Fenton
ISBN 978-1-906148-26-3
Book Size is a compact 12cm x 17.5cm

Click to see Front & Back Covers

The Mountain Bike Routes in The South West Guide

Click on a marker for route information. The markers mark the approximate recommended starting points for each route as indicated in the book.



Dartmoor's scenery is unlike anything else in the country, with granite tors rising up out of the landscape, streams cutting through valleys and a bleak, grassy moorland plateau - all riddled with mountain bike tracks and trails to test every ability.

Granite Way & Meldon Reservoir

Route Grade: easy. Distance 16km

An easy introduction to the delights of Dartmoor, with great views over Devon. Includes one testing little descent.

The Military Road South of Okehampton

Route Grade: moderate. Distance 24km

As a way of climbing higher than on any other route in this guide, right into the heart of the moor, this ride is unbeatable. It is also fairly easy with much of the surface being tarmac, ex-tarmac in its disintegrating state, or broad stone tracks.

Lydford & Mary Tavy Route

Route Grade: medium . Distance 17km

One of the easiest Dartmoor rides – save this route as a treat for yourself when you want a gentle potter. Tow excellent pubs along the way.

Princetown to Burrator Reservoir Route

Route Grade: moderate. Distance 21km

A granite dust track to solve problems of peat erosion that offers some tricky bits for mountain bikers, a teeth rattling descent and a ‘How much can you ride?’ climb back up the famous granite path.

Two Bridges, Princetown & Hexworthy

Route Grade: easy. Distance 16km

Real 'roof of the moor stuff'

Bellever & the Stepping Stones

Route Grade:hard. Distance 20km

Warm up on wide forest tracks then down hill on singletrack, more wide tracks then a change of scene; a testing descent, testing flat sections, magical stepping stone river crossings, more climbing before enjoying perhaps the best descent of the day, and then a bit more climbing before your back onto the forest tracks and the finish.

Postbridge & Challacombe Down

Route Grade: easy . Distance 16km

You’re on Dartmoor central plateau and spend most of the time between 300 and 450 metres. Magic moments and a bit of tricky singletrack down through heather to tin mine ruins.

Grimspound & Hound Tor

Route Grade: hard. Distance 30km

The toughest of the Dartmoor rides – killer climbs and fast descents set in fantastic scenery.

North Bovey & Foxworthy Route

Route Grade: easy. Distance 13km

A steep climb leads to huge views of the Tors ahead. The route flanks Easdon Tor then it’s climbing again before contouring along then dropping down and onto singletrack and a series of drop offs. A bit of climbing again before crossing the river to the finish.

MTB Photo2Avon Dam & Scorrition Route

Route Grade: moderate. Distance 30km

This is one of the longest and toughest routes in the guide. If you like fast, open descents this route has it in buckets.


Exmoor is smaller and more intimate than Dartmoor, with a denser network of byways and bridleways criss-crossing the moor. The variety is even greater as Exmoor offers mountain biking high up above the coast as well as on tracks over high heather moorland. A speciality of the area is the rollercoaster stone stream beds - punctuated with serial drop-offs.

Lynton & the Valley of the Rocks

Route Grade: moderate. Distance 22km

This route would be worth the sea view alone. Throw in the Valley of the Rocks, a wonderful graded zigzag climb and some great stream crossings in hidden combes and you have a fine coast and moors ride.

Brendon Common, the Doone Valley & the East Lyn River

Route Grade: moderate . Distance 21km

Linking the beautiful wooded valley of the East Lyn River with the remote moorland of Brendon Common and the popular trail along Badworthy Water this ride shows once again the fantastic variety of tracks and paths that Exmoor has to offer.

Porlock Weir & County Gate

Route Grade: moderate. Distance 22km

This starts at sea level and climbs to over 400 metres; so you can look forward to a long well deserved descent in the final part of the route.

MTB Photo3Porlock to Minehead Selworthy Beacon Route

Route Grade: moderate. Distance 25km

Stone tracks with excellent drainage through a landscape of heather and fern, but with amazing sea views a an added bonus.

Horner Wood Route

Route Grade: hard. Distance 10km

Everything about this route is extreme. It is extremely short, the climbs are extremely tough, the descents are extremely steep and the whole woodland is extremely beautiful.

Withypool & Sportsman’s Inn

Route Grade: moderate. Distance 22km

Quite possibly the finest route in the heart of the moorland with a sprinkling of everything.

Winsford & Exford

Route Grade: moderate. Distance 30km

Rough moorland to rollercoaster stone bedrock descent, fearsome climbs and gentle riverside tracks.

Dulverton & Winsford Route

Route Grade: moderate. Distance 20km

Starting at Dulverton this route has a bit of everything, good stone tracks, easy climbs, hair-raising and breezalong descents.

Winsford & Wheddon Cross

Route Grade: moderate. Distance 27km

Several fine descents, some stony and technical, others grassy and open, set in the heart of Exmoor

MTB Photo4Wimbleball Reservoir Route

Route Grade: moderate. Distance 22km

A long and testing descent (and what a descent) at the start then the rest is a lovely potter around the reservoir.

Carhampton & Croydon Hill

Route Grade: moderate. Distance 17km

This takes you to the highest point in the forest then it's a fast and furious descent, with one short climb to break into two, to drop you down 350 metres and back to Carhampton.

Monksilver & Brompton Ralph

Route Grade: moderate. Distance 19km

The mountain biking route just gets better and better as it goes on – and the final descent down Monksilver will have you gagging to come back and do it again.


The Quantock Hills pack in well over a hundred miles of trails on well drained tracks through gorse, heather and woodland from the broad and easy ridge trail to excellent testing, twisty singletrack.

MTB Photo5Quantocks Quickiew - Holford & Sheppard's Combe

Route Grade: easy/moderate. Distance 12km

Includes a really great descent - singletrack all the way, it's fast and it flows.

Quantocks Classic Singletrack

Route Grade: moderate. Distance 18km

The Quantock Hills are one of the best places to ride in the UK and this route shows why. Includes three superb singletrack descents.

Aisholt & the Southern Combes

Route Grade: medium . Distance 16km

Long easy climb, testing descent, great pub, impossible climb (now there is a challenge!), a taste of the famous Quantocks ridge and a second long descent give you the idea.

Quantocks Killer Loop

Route Grade: hard. Distance 27km

This route crosses and re-crosses itself so easy to shorten or adapt.

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