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Mountain Bike Grading

Mountain bike routes are notoriously difficult to grade. Many varying factors are involved as well as the continually changing nature of routes. We feel it is best to provide 2 different grades for each route. One for fitness – how demanding the route is for the rider, and one for skill – how technical the route is. Please see the tables below for full definitions. Although this system is by no means comprehensive and is only given as a guide, we hope it may enable you to choose a ride which suits your needs.

Skill level

A route low in technical difficulty. No previous off-road riding experience necessary. Routes generally on well made paths and tracks.

A route which has some technically difficult sections. Short and not sustained. Terrain will be loose & rocky in places. Some previous off-road riding experience required.

A route containing sustained and technical sections. Steep ascent and descent over rocky & loose terrain. Previous off-road experience essential.

Choose from the following fitness levels

Easy routes
A route suitable for people with a reasonable level of fitness and who are in good health. Generally sheltered & low level routes with few climbs of any length.

Moderate routes
A route which is in parts physically demanding. Contains climbs which are strenuous but relatively short lived. A good standard of fitness is required. High level routes which may often be exposed to the elements.

Hard routes
A physically demanding route. Long & sustained climbs throughout. High level routes which may often be exposed to the elements. A high standard of fitness is essential.

Black routes
Steeper downhill stretches and much more challenging technical features. These sections are designed for mountain bikers who are used to physically demanding routes.

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    • Heather Moorland Fact
      Heather moorland is home to plants and wildlife which are reliant on the habitat, including the bilberry bumblebee, the green hairstreak butterfly, skylark, golden plover and hen harrier.