Explore – 5 Best Mountain Bike Routes on the Isle of Wight


The Lonely Planet rated the Isle of Wight as one of the best places in the world to explore by mountain bike; it might not have mountains, but it has hundreds of miles of fantastic natural trails with a wide variety of terrain, and spectacular views.

I have been riding a mountain bike on the Isle of Wight trails for as long as I have been walking, and I can safely say I have explored every bridleway and bike path the Island has to offer. These five routes link up my personal favourite sections and paths; with a range of lengths and intensities to cater to different rider abilities.

For routes for Gravel Bikes and Road Cycling, check out my other Explore-IOW posts.



Wight Mountain Bike Route #1 — Red Squirrel Trail

  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Distance – 22.5 kilometres (14 miles)
  • Elevation Profile – Flat (170 metres elevation gain)

The Red Squirrel Trail is a signposted family friendly mountain biking route on the Isle of Wight. The below selection of the route is a circular loop starting and finishing at Shanklin Railway Station — the complete route also includes the cycle path onwards from Merstone to Newport and Cowes (a logical extra addition if you want more mileage).

Pedaller's Café or The Garlic Farm at Langbridge are ideal stopping points along this route, or alternatively wait for an ice-cream on Sandown seafront before you pedal back along the esplanade to Shanklin.





Wight Mountain Bike Route #2 — East Wight Hills and Bike Paths

  • Difficulty – Medium
  • Distance – 41 kilometres (26 miles)
  • Elevation Profile – Moderate (420 metres elevation gain)
This route starts and finishes at the fantastic Caffe Isola in Newport; also conveniently close to the Wight Mountain bike shop. From here, you head out of town on the Newport-Sandown bicycle path, and then cross-country to Wroxall.

From Wroxall it is downhill to Niton Undercliff, and then a climb back up to the village of Niton, and a northwards ride through Godshill to rejoin the cycle path back to Newport.

The Smuggler's Haven Café at Steephill Cove, or The Plantation Room Café at Ventnor Botanic Gardens would make for great stopping points on this route.





Wight Mountain Bike Route #3 — Monuments and Forests

  • Difficulty – Medium
  • Distance – 71 kilometres (44 miles)
  • Elevation Profile – Moderate (900 metres elevation gain)
Starting and finishing at Cowes, this route takes in the two largest forests on the Island — Parkhurst Forest and Brighstone Forest; as well as the highest point on the Island — St Catherine's Oratory. 

The route begins by heading down the cycle path from Cowes towards Newport, before climbing up into Parkhurst Forest. From here, you ride out on the Tennyson Trail to Brighstone. Whilst you are up on Cheverton Down, why not do a lap or two of the Isle of Wight Mountain Bike Centre — a great trail centre, with a mix of 'lines' for different abilities.

From Chillerton, you head south towards Hoy Monument, and then up the big climb to St Catherine's. Once you have reached the summit, the view is spectacular; it also means there is a good portion of downhill for a while! From Niton, you route through to Godshill, over Arreton Down to Havenstreet, and then back past Wootton to East Cowes — where you can catch the chain ferry to Cowes town centre. 

Great refreshment stops on this route include Godshill Old Smithy, and The Garlic Farm (a short diversion off the route at Newchurch).





Wight Mountain Bike Route #4 — Point to Point Marathon

  • Difficulty – Hard
  • Distance – 96 kilometres (60 miles)
  • Elevation Profile – Tough (1500 metres elevation gain)
The Isle of Wight 'End to End' is a great charity MTB ride that takes place each year to raise funds for the local hospice. This route is inspired by that ride, and takes you from Culver Monument to The Needles, across the undulating backbone of the Island.

This is a tough ride by any standards, but with some spectacular views from the tops of the Downs. 

Great stopping points would be The Piano Café at Freshwater Bay, and Caffe Isola in Newport on the return leg.





Wight Mountain Bike Route #5 — Wight100MTB

  • Difficulty – EPIC
  • Distance – 162 kilometres (100 miles)
  • Elevation Profile – Super Tough (2400 metres elevation gain)
100 miles on a mountain bike is a huge day out on any terrain, but on the Isle of Wight it is a true epic. This route is only to be taken on by the most experienced endurance riders, and only in the summer months — when the days are long enough to hopefully complete the route in daylight.

The route is a marathon exploration of all of the regions of the Isle of Wight; from the high downs of the East Wight, to the steep climbs of the south, and the ever undulating Tennyson trail that takes you out west.

Starting and finishing in Ryde, I would recommend at least two refreshment stops along the way; Grace's Bakery in Yarmouth is a fantastic bet; equally Caffe Isola in Newport, and the various ice cream shops of Shanklin, Sandown, and Ventnor are all well worth exploring.

Take this one on, if you dare.





ENJOY THE TRAILS

Drop me a message on Twitter (@timwiggins1) or Instagram (@tim_wiggins1) with any questions.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Christmas Gift Ideas and Stocking Fillers for Cyclists 2019

Review – TRP Spyre SLC Cable Disc Brakes

Review – Giro Code Techlace Mountain Bike Cycling Shoes

Review – NiteRider Sentinel 250 Rear Bike Light

Explore – 7 Essential Ingredients for an Isle of Wight Bike Ride