Marketing officer Chris Armstrong has been working for Outdoor Recreation NI for over four years specialising in the promotion of mountain biking across Northern Ireland. Never one to shy away from an outdoor adventure himself, Chris has biked all over the world from the Baltic Coast to the desert plains of Kazakhstan.
Now back in Northern Ireland, Chris spends his weekend’s enjoying Northern Ireland’s new purpose-built trail centres – all in the name of research of course!
Asked to name Northern Ireland's five best mountain bike trails, he recommends...
The Davagh Forest Trails are located approximately six miles north west of Cookstown in the stunning Sperrin Mountains. There are trails for everyone from absolute beginners through to experienced mountain bikers.
All the trails start and finish from the official trailhead, located off the Davagh Road, where you can make the most of purpose-built changing facilities, toilets, a fresh water tap and a bike wash all free of charge.
On the shores of Carlingford Lough, the Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails boast of some of the most exhilarating mountain biking on the whole island of Ireland. With a lung-busting 27km red trail, a thrilling 19km black loop and two purpose-built downhill trails for elite riders (the first of their kind in Ireland) Rostrevor has quickly become a true mountain biker’s haven.
The Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails are establishing themselves as the most popular trail centre in Northern Ireland. With a wide range of trails suitable for all ages and abilities and fantastic trailhead facilities, it is easy to see why Castlewellan is grabbing the attention of mountain bikers. Located within Castlewellan Forest Park, you can choose from a wide and flat 4km green trail or an easy going 4.5km blue trail which offers some sections of more technical singletrack. The main 19km red trail boasts two black graded options and will suit more experienced mountain bikers looking for that all important adrenaline rush.
Last summer saw the launch of the Barnett Demesne Trails and Jumps Park in south Belfast. On the shores of the River Lagan, this compact network of cross country trails is a great resource for local mountain bikers as well as an ideal addition for those looking for something a bit different from their standard city break.
With six lines of tempting jumps, berms and booters, this is the place to catch air for the very first time.
Northern Ireland’s first purpose-built mountain bike trail centre recently undewent facelift to double the length of trails through Blessingbourne Estate in Fivemiletown.
Paired with Davagh Forest, this trails extension through Blessingbourne Estate creates a real short break mountain biking destination in the Sperrin Mountains, and one which will take many people by surprise.
For information on these trails and more go to www.mountainbikeni.com
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