Unlike the Alps, ski lifts aren’t used for mountain bikes in the UK during summer. Luckily, there still is uplift, you just need to know where to go. Forget about pushing up and plan your next trip to one of these fantastic mountain biking locations.
Note: The prices below are based on a single weekend day of uplift service at each location and are correct as of March 2016.
Fort William Uplift
Where? North West Scotland
Gondola passes are £31 per day from NevisRange.co.uk
Fort William is the one exception on this list as you take a gondola to the summit rather than hopping in a van. Home of the UCI DH World Cup course, plus with plenty of easier trails, there is something for everyone. It’s the highest assisted uplift trail hub in the UK with tons of trails on offer.
Click here for a list of local accommodation at Fort William.
Where? Innerleithen, Southern Scotland
Day passes for uplift are £32 from UpliftScotland.com
Innerleithen is a northern Mecca for mountain biking, in the vast forest of the Scottish lowlands. With over 100 trails, 30 reds and 40 blacks, the choices are endless. Luckily, UpliftScotland have taken up the duty of helping riders to the top both here and in Dumfries at Ae Forest.
Hamsterly Forest Uplift
Where? County Durham
Uplift member’s passes are £15 per visit from DescendBikePark.co.uk
Hamsterley Forest near Newcastle in County Durham is actually a Forestry Commision site with family friendly blues and XC trails on offer. However, there’s a volunteer-managed side for downhill which you can test out. Uplift will cost you £15 per visit, which is taken in the form of a membership fee to DescendBikePark. There’s 12 runs on offer from blue up to black pro line descents, (with chicken run routes for the less adventurous).
Forest of Dean Uplift
Where? Wye Valley, Welsh Borders
Uplift passes are £30 per day from FlyUpDownhill.co.uk
We’ve written about the fun had at Forest of Dean before, and FlyUp Downhill’s service was a godsend. Boasting some of the fastest DH trails in the UK (we’re looking at you Mr. Rooty), there are loads of choices on offer.
Click here for a list of local accommodation near the Forest of Dean.
BikePark Wales Uplift
Where? Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales
Uplift passes are £34 from BikeParkWales.com
Rivalling the fun factor of the Alps, both the man-made and natural trails here are second to none in the UK. With at least 7 trailers running on weekends, it has massive uplift capacity to boot. Look to book well in advance though, spaces are in high demand on weekends for months on end.
Click here for a list of local accommodation near to BikePark Wales.
Where? South Wales
Uplift passes are £31.50 from CwmDown.co.uk
Cwmcarn Forest has 4 trails, 2 downhill and 2 cross-country. The downhill trails are tough, demanding a high level of skill to navigate, with a choice of lines on the top and mid sections. Uplift is only available Wednesday – Sunday provided by CwmDown. Times vary depending on the year so it’s best to get in touch with Darrel or Kenny to secure a spot.
Local accommodation can be found here.
Where? Tavistock, West Devon
Uplift passes are £30 from FlyUpDownhill.com
Run by FlyUp DH just like the Forest of Dean, Gawton’s four downhill tracks trails are intense, white-knuckle affairs. Natural and tough, they consist of 2 reds, a fearsome black and a beast of a double black.
It’s important to mention that Gawton Downhill is on private land leased from landowners. This means you need to be a member to ride before booking your uplift. Annual membership is £30 and day passes for non-members are bought at Dartmoor Cycles in Tavistock or online here for £5.
Click here for a list of local accommodation in and around Gawton.
Antur Stiniog Uplift
Where? North Wales
Uplift passes are £32.50 from MTBUplifts.co.uk
Another of the Welsh downhill meccas, Antur Stinog has a dedicated uplift service for its slate-lined, treeless descents. There are 6 trails here that range from an accessible blue to a gnarly freak of a double black known simply as “Y Du” (The Black in Welsh). Having gained international acclaim from the mountain biking press in recent years, Antur Stiniog is well worth a visit.
Click here for a list of places to stay near to Antur Stiniog.
Revolution Bike Park Uplift
Where? Llangynog, North Wales
Uplift passes are £30 from RevolutionBikePark.co.uk
Revolution Bike Park boasts that you can nail over 4500 m of downhill in a single day with a 4×4 uplift service. The park is split across 5 runs including 1 red, 2 blacks and a pro line. With yet more routes under construction, there’s tough forest trails, flowy berms and the infamous slate quarry to play with.
Click here for a list of local accommodation near Llangynog.
Black Mountains Cycle Centre Uplift
Where? Abergavenny, South Wales
Uplift passes are £30 from BlackMountainsCycleCentre.com
One of the newest bike parks out there, the Black Mountains Cycle Centre offers a massive 13 runs of different grading, blue to black. It’s £30 for the tractor uplift or £5 to use the push up track. They are growing quickly as last year they only had 2 runs! A must-ride venue for sure.
For more information, visit BlackMountainsCycleCentre.com or check out Trailforks.com
Here’s a list of local accommodation in Abergavenny.
One Giant Leap Llangollen Uplift
Where? Llangollen, South Wales
Uplift passes cost £25 from OneGiantLeapLlangollen.co.uk
As one of the smaller uplift venues in Wales, One Giant Leap only has 4 runs. Yet, these include trails used for the National Champs and the 2011 British Downhill Series, so they are nothing to sneer at. To ride you must be a member of their cycling club, which costs £10 on top of the uplift pass. Click here for the membership form.
For more information, visit OneGiantLeapLlangollen.co.uk
A list of local accommodation can be found here.
Where? Oswestry, North Wales
Uplift passes are £25 from MTBUplifts.co.uk
This 2.3km of severe, black downhill track is a serious ride. Originally built by the Atherton family to train for the UCI DH World Cup, it’s now host to the British Downhill Series and other smaller events. The track is on private land and everything is thanks of Farmer Jack, so you will need to book in advance if you wish to visit.
For more information on the venue and local accommodation visit TrailGuru.co.uk‘s page on Moelfre.
Have a mountain biking weekend holiday…
As you might have noticed, most of these uplift sites are in Wales, so for the majority of riders it’s going to be a long slog home. Take it from us, if you think getting up at 5am to get there for the first uplift is tough, try driving home after 8 hours of downhill without falling asleep at the wheel.
We’d recommend staying somewhere local and making a weekend of it, hands down. No need to rush off home when the last uplift finishes, get some food and relax in the (typically idyllic) surroundings. These sites are out in the sticks, so inject something back into the local economy to help it grow.