Cycling

Whether you’re looking for a gentle potter or more challenging rides, the Shropshire Hills is a great place to be on a bike. Quiet country lanes wind through gentle valleys or over sweeping hilltops with amazing views. Off the road, there is plenty of choice of cross country routes, or you can take on the challenge of some top quality mountain biking trails. And of course, there are lots of tearooms and pubs to stop off at and refuel.

A searchable directory of cycle routes in Shropshire is available at www.shropshiresgreatoutdoors.co.uk/cycling

Some of our top suggestions for cycling in the Shropshire Hills are shown below:

Easier Rides can generally be found around the fringes of the Shropshire Hills. Make sure you’re properly equipped and prepared, whatever you choose to do. For tips and advice, the Shropshire’s Great Outdoors website has some very useful pages. Finding your own way with a map is fun and not too difficult. If you prefer following a defined route there are plenty to choose from. A couple of good easy ones are:

  • The Lady Halton Loop – a family friendly 7 mile circular ride along quiet lanes and tracks exploring the countryside around Ludlow.
  • To The Edge – (Route 1 in the Church Stretton Cycle Rides leaflet) goes past Acton Scott Historic Working Farm to Wenlock Edge and back (14 miles), and offers a spur to Craven Arms, with the option of returning by train.

Road Routes

For a range of mostly road routes starting and finishing at the towns (from 8 to 30+ miles), see the leaflets for:

Linear Routes

  • The Six Castles Cycleway is a 58 mile signed route between Shrewsbury and Leominster forming Route 44 in the National Cycle Network and also part of the National Byway. It passes along the edge of the Rea Valley and into Wales, before heading back through Bishop’s Castle, over some hills to Craven Arms, then Ludlow and on south. It links six very different castles, from the romantic ruins of Bishop’s Castle and Richard’s Castle to the substantial stone buildings of Shrewsbury, Ludlow and Croft Castles and the elegance of Stokesay.
  • Land’s End to John O’Groats. The Shropshire Hills are passed through by many of the popular ‘end to end’ routes. The challenge of this 800+ mile ride often mean that riders forego the quiet beauty of the countryside in favour of speedy progress on busier main roads. If you do choose to use the A49 take great care, and think about coming back some time for a more pleasant exploration of the Shropshire Hills! See the Cyclists Welcome Scheme for bike-friendly places to stay and eat in the area.

Off Road

  • The Shropshire Hills has excellent off-road and mountain biking to suit all abilities. Easier rides include the Portway along the top of the Long Mynd and the Jack Mytton Way along Wenlock Edge. The Long Mynd also has a great variety of tracks and ‘natural singletrack’ trails. It is a sensitive area for conservation, managed by the National Trust, so please follow only approved routes, which offer plenty to go at.
  • When biking off-road in the Shropshire Hills, please be considerate to other users and look after the countryside:
  • ·    Keep your speed under control and give way to walkers and horses;
  • ·    Keep to legal routes – bridleways and permissive routes;
  • ·    Protect plants and habitats by not riding over them;
  • ·    Look out for wildlife and livestock;
  • ·    Take your litter home;
  • ·    Close gates behind you;
  • ·    Don’t dig your own trails.

Forest Mountain Bike Trails

  • Hopton Wood near Craven Arms, managed by the Forestry Commission, is a prime mountain biking site which hosts national level competitions, and has both cross-country and serious downhill trails.
  • Eastridge Woods near Pontesbury is also managed by the Forestry Commission and has a short easy loop, a longer difficult red route (the Revelation Trail), plus some serious downhill runs.
  • There are also off-road cycling trails at Mortimer Forest and Bury Ditches.

Touring and Bike Hire

  • There is so much to do, why not stay several days?
  • The Cyclists Welcome Scheme lists accommodation and refreshment providers who are specifically geared up to welcome cyclists.
  • There are a variety of local companies offering bike hire in and around the Shropshire Hills, and some also run cycle tours and holidays. Contact Plush Hill Cycles at Church Stretton (mountain bikes, hire and skills courses) and Wheely Wonderful Cycling near Ludlow (bike hire and cycle touring holidays).
  • Electric bikes – for those who find the hills just too much hard work, Plush Hill cycles also hire electric bikes (with pedals, very like a normal bike, but with a battery operated motor too!)

Events and Other Useful Links

  • Cycle Shropshire – local group of the Cyclists’ Touring Club, run regular leisure rides from a variety of nearby places.
  • Mid-Shropshire Wheelers – Well established cycling club, with a focus on racing.
  • Shropshire Hills Cyclist – blog guide to a good selection of road cycle climbs in the Shropshire Hills, plus links to events and group rides.
  • Tour d’Arts Alive – 26th June 2016. Scenic route options of 68, 45 and 28 miles, all from Clun. In aid of local charity Arts Alive.
  • Bikeability in Shropshire – instruction scheme on cycling. Mainly for children, but with opportunities for adults too.
  • The 10 toughest cycle climbs in Britain – features Asterton Bank on the west side of the Long Mynd. 163m of ascent in just under a kilometre, that’s an average of 17%, or 1 in 6, with some steeper ramps on the way – not for the faint hearted!
  • Article about riding in the Shropshire Hills with local pro-cyclist Luke Mellor.