Sheffield is home to a thriving mountain bike scene, built upon the natural topography of the city and grown by a psyched community of riders, diggers and advocates of the sport.
Ride Sheffield are one of the most active volunteer groups in the city, grafting to maintain and protect the built and natural trails, as well as working with land managers to ensure the best outcomes for both riders and the natural environment.
Here they pick some of their favourite mountain biking gems in and around The Outdoor City...
1. Blue Steel and Cooking on Gas, at Lady Cannings
Blue Steel is a riot of features, whoops, drops and berms that are as rideable by a complete beginner as they are for an experienced rider. Cooking on Gas, by contrast, is mellow and cruisable with berms so big you can see them from space (okay, we're exaggerating). Funded by a combination of crowd-funding and massive sponsorship from local businesses, these two trails have become instant hits.
Find it: Off Sheephill Road, Ringinglow, Sheffield, S11 7TU
2. Steel City DH, in Grenoside Woods
"The greatest little downhill race in the country" – according to ex-World Cup racer and race organiser Steve Peat – takes place once a year on this trail. The Steel City DH has undergone a major redesign, beefing up some of the black options in recent times. Thanks to trail builders Bike Track working their magic, it is another trail that combines rideability with radness throwing a constant succession of tables, berms, gaps and kickers at the rider culminating in the famous drop into The Bomb Hole…
Find it: Grenoside Woods, S35 7DS
3. Parkwood Springs/Dual Slalom
Not many cities can boast a quality two kilometre mountain bike trail in the very heart of the metropolis, but Sheffield’s Parkwood Trail is guaranteed to put a smile on any rider’s face. Combining a short stiff climb with three contrasting downhill sections it is a superb all-weather workout complete with a dual-track alternative.
Find it: Parkwood Springs, Cooks Wood Rd, Sheffield, S3 9AA
4. Devil’s Elbow
Once upon a time, a large section of Devil’s Elbow was so easily flooded that it made the trail unrideable for the wet months of the year. Thanks to a joint initiative by Sheffield Wildlife Trust and Ride Sheffield and lots of volunteer effort, it is now an all-weather trail. Rocky, rooty and fast – it is a real Sheffield MTB rite of passage.
Find it: Blackamoor, off Hathersage Road, Sheffield, S11 7TY
5. Cut Gate
If you’re looking for an adventure then add Cut Gate to your list – it's a ride that combines peerless singletrack with a real sense of remoteness. Cut Gate combines ferocious climbs with steep switchbacks and rocky descents. A joint initiative by Ride Sheffield and Peak District MTB has helped raise money to improve some of the wettest sections, along with support of the BMC.
Find it: Start at the Upper Derwent Visitor Centre carpark, Fairholmes, Hope Valley, S33 0AQ
6. Wharncliffe Woods
Good enough to have produced world-champion and all round good guy Steve Peat, as well as Peaty's protege Craig Evans (winner of the 2017 Red Bull Hardline), Wharncliffe Woods has a wealth of trails. A few of them are relatively straight forward, but they are overwhelmed by a welter of steep, technical, death-defying gnarliness.
Find it: Just across the road from Greno Woods. Start from the carpark at 4 Woodhead Rd, Sheffield, S35 8RS
7. Bolehills BMX Track
Thanks to Ride Sheffield volunteers and the Sheffield Dirt Society, the Bolehills site underwent a remarkable resurrection from unusable land to a Mecca for bike riders. Hard work and tons of aggregate have completely transformed the track and it is once again busy with all manner of riders - from those who go big, to rippers just starting out. With rollers galore, it's perfect for getting your pump on.
Find it: Bolehills, Longfield Rd, Sheffield, S10 1QW
8. Stanage Plantation
Another trail that is on every Sheffield rider’s hit-list, Stanage Plantation tipples over the lip of a magnificent gritstone cliff and almost immediately challenges the rider with a tight left-hand-turn on grit slabs. From this vertiginous intro, it becomes a succession of small drops, serpentine turns and stepping stones. Be Nice Say Hi (an initiative to encourage bikers and other's using trails to be friendly to one-another), because it’s popular with walkers, too. For those who like their city-facts - Stanage edge is effectively the border line of Sheffield to the High Peak in Derbyshire.
Find it: Hope Valley, Derbyshire, S32 1BR
9. Froggatt and Curbar Edges
Formally the preserve of walkers and rock climbers, thanks to land manager Danny Udall and Ride Sheffield, it is now a superb bridleway that is suitable for all riders and takes in some beautiful scenery along the Eastern Moors.
Find it: Hay Wood National Trust car park, Grindleford, Hope Valley, S32 3ZJ
10. Rother Valley Country Park
Not strictly Sheffield, but close enough! The trails in Rother Valley have come about much the same way many of Sheffield's have, through crowdfunding and sheer graft of the local MTB community. Rother Valley Riders are behind this one and a brand-new trail now complements the existing 7km of sanctioned singletrack in the park, complete with 27 berms creating a super-fast flow trail.
Find it: Rother Valley Country Park, Mansfield Rd, S26 5PQ
You can see a handy overview of all the trails over on the Trail Map page of the Ride Sheffield website here.
Ride Sheffield is a group that works to improve trails and riding for mountain bikers in and around Sheffield and the Peak District. They believe strongly in giving back to the areas they enjoy – working with local landowners and managers to improve the great outdoors, for the enjoyment of everyone.