Three outstanding new mountain bike trail centres have opened in Northern Ireland this year. Between them they boast more than 100km of the finest mountain bike trails Northern Ireland has to offer, including the only official downhill trails in all of Ireland.
Northern Ireland has the ideal landscape for purpose-built trails, but this potential has only recently bean realised with the construction of these three national trail centres, in Rostrevor, Castlewellan and Davagh Forest. All three are sponsored by another Northern Irish success story, Chain Reaction Cycles.
Stunning views from Rostrevor's 45km of mountain bike trails
The new trail centres are less than 90 minutes’ drive apart, and with Stena Line now offering day return ferry travel from Cairnryan to Belfast for £50 (one car, two passengers), it’s easier than ever for mountain bikers to reach them.
This small corner of the UK has been transformed into a must-visit MTB destination. Here’s why Northern Ireland should be top of your wishlist in 2014…
Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails
Video: Gee Atherton rides Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails
Despite only officially opening its doors this summer, Rostrevor quickly became renowned for its gruelling climbs, lightning descents and epic panoramic views. This mountain biker’s playground offers more than 45km of cross-country trails and is also home to the first official downhill trails in Ireland!
Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails
There's plenty of riding for mountain bikers of all abilities at Castlewellan
With a wide range of trails, from easy-going green and blue lake-shore routes, to fast, flowing red cross-country and more severe black-rated options, Castlewellan has it all. There’s also a purpose-built pump track right beside the main trail head. Located only 18 miles from Rostrevor, this unique trail centre is well worth a visit.
Davagh Forest Trails
The trails at Davagh Forest impressed many a rider this summer
The Davagh Forest Trails are located in the stunning Sperrin Mountains and offer exhilarating XC trails with a number of hair-raising rock features thrown in for good measure. With the choice of gentler green and blue circular trails as well a pump track and skills course, Davagh Forest was setting message boards alight with rave reviews this summer.
Northern Ireland’s new trails are truly world class, and with MTB-friendly accommodation providers now offering a range of special deals for visiting mountain bikers, there has never been a better time to explore this untouched corner of the UK.
Visit MountainBikeNI.com for more information on planning your next mountain bike trip to Northern Ireland. You can also keep up to speed with the latest MTB news and events taking place in Northern Ireland on the MountainBikeNI Facebook page and MountainBikeNI Twitter page.