Castle Wood MTB Skills Loop
Castle Wood MTB Skills Loop
Contains a Blue grade circuit, a shorter Red grade loop, and a more difficult Black grade run, on which to hone your skills.
Try out your Mountain Biking Skills on the purpose built Skills Loop situated at the Trail Head at Castle Wood - just off the Main Kielder Castle Car Park. Here you can guage the different Trail gradings, improve your skills and go on to choose which trail is right for you.
Starting from Kielder Castle heading out along the Forest Drive, you soon arrive at the first section of smooth, rolling singletrack. Then turning off the Forest Drive at a picnic area, you climb through the forest to Castle Hill.
At this point heading straight on gives you a long descent to the Lakeside Way, and then turn right back to Kielder (the short loop). Taking the long version leads you to the start of a singletrack climb all the way to the top of Hill 361. Stop a while and take in the views of Deadwater Fell and beyond into Scotland.
From here the fun really begins with flowing singletrack almost all the way to meet the Lakeside Way (North side) and return to Kielder.
- Start/Finish: Kielder
- Distance: 11km
- Grade: Green
The majority of this route follows the former Border Counties railway line (operational from 1862 to 1956) making it a relatively flat and easy ride, suitable for all abilities.
Starting in Kielder Village, and joining the railway just to the west of the old Kielder Station (now part of the garage) the route runs parallel with the North Tyne (in its infancy at this point) and takes you through open countryside and fantastic views, to the Scottish Border at Deadwater Station.
To return to Kielder, retrace your tracks to the village.
Turn left off the Blue loop in the Castlewood Skills area to start this trail, which can take you all the way to the top of Deadwater Fell (571mtrs – the highest point in Kielder Forest).
You are soon through the first two sections of singletrack, heading past Lightpipe and climbing back into the forest. Ignore the trail to the right (that’s the return leg), and continue round the forest road corner to the Kersey Cleugh section. To miss out Dougies Day Off (Black grade), take the hand built red grade cut through to join 3 Dog climb.
Before the cattle grid on the forest road, the options are to continue climbing to the top of Deadwater (awesome views on a clear day), or turn right on singletrack down Into the Valley, which spits you out onto the road you climbed earlier.
Through the gate on the left onto more singletrack, and shortly you will have the choice of forking left onto the 3km section of Black grade trail (Up and Over) which finishes on the Forest Drive. Best to leave this for another day, and continue down on this fast and furious trail all the way to the northshore berms at Woodstock (careful when wet). The final stretch of winding singletrack takes you past the Trials Area (Northshore and a Jump Line) to your starting point.
To reach the start of this trail you need to do a stretch down the Lakeside Way South shore. From this you go straight to Red grade singletrack flowing south westerly above the Lewisburn.
A fire road section, climbing, descending and climbing again leads to a singletrack hairpin climb culminating in Stairway to Heaven, the start of a long boardwalk section past the site of “The Lonesome Pine” and with incredible views back down the valley.
More fun descending on the way to Skyspace, and then begins one of the best finishes of any trail we’ve ridden, descending all the way to the Garage at Kielder – our Hire Centre.
- Start/Finish: Typically Kielder, but other options available
- Distance: 42km
- Grade: Green
A very scenic multi user path which makes it’s way around the full shoreline of Kielder Water.
Unlike the other man made trails in the Park, the Lakeside Way can be ridden in either direction, with enough width to allow two way traffic for cyclists, horse riders and walkers.
Never far from the shore, the views are ever changing and give different aspects from the North and South sides.
If a full circuit sounds like too much, the trail can be accessed in several places along the South shore, making a shorter “there and back” ride quite possible.
As well as Kielder village, there are other “watering holes” at Leaplish and Tower Knowe.
Two of the latest additions to Kielder’s outdoor artworks, Silvas Capitalis (the 8mtr tall wooden head) and the Janus Chairs are situated along the North shore.
Cross Border Trail
- Start/Finish: Lewisburn, on the Lakeside Way, South Shore
- Distance: 40km
- Grade: Red
You can access this long distance trail from the Mathews Linn car park, or if hiring a bike from Kielder, ride down the Lakeside Way South shore to join the Lewisburn road. It follows the Bloody bush road past the confluence of the Lewis burn and Akenshaw burns at The Forks, heading westwards. The trail runs alongside the Akenshaw burn passing an Outdoor Centre and you will note the return loop on your left as you continue west to the Border
The best direction to ride the trail is anti clockwise, following the old Bloody Bush toll road, climbing past open ground, a quarry and over the Buck Burn. The trail runs alongside a recently felled area on the left and becomes a grassy track, before reaching the old Bloody Bush Toll Pillar, which is steeped in history and well worth reading the fees that once long ago you would have had to pay at the border. Here, you get spectacular views of the Liddesdale valley and the Scottish Border hills come into view before the trail joins the forest road which plunges down through conifers. Look out for the sharp left off the main forest road. The route undulates with several long descents until reaching Dykecrofts Information Centre.
At Dykecrofts you will be met by a formal mountain bike trailhead for the Newcastleton 7stanes trails. Follow the Red grade trail until you reach the large circular stane. Here turn right, leaving the red trail and heading in the right direction to return to Kielder along the scenic Kershope Burn and back into England. As you reach the burn, turn left and follow a forest track which eventually narrows to arrive at Scotch Knowe and the Border back into England. Here the infant Kershope burn is crossed and followed downstream, firstly on some nice singletrack , and then a forest road past Willowbog and on to join the outward loop.
At Newcastleton, there are fantastic 7stanes blue and red grade trails and if you are into serious North Shore, then try out the North Shore timber trails at Newcastleton Forest's black grade trail.
First you have more undulating boardwalk over the moor, then singletrack into the forest. You find another 900mtr section of boardwalk over some very wet ground, and then a final descent to the border.
If you continue on past the Pillar, you will head towards Newcastleton on the Cross Border trail.
Retrace your steps from the Pillar and descend down a long section of forest road (still on the Cross Border trail), not forgetting to turn left off this trail at Akenshaw to rejoin Lonesome Pine.