From peaceful pedalling to thrill-seeking scrambling, there are plenty of picturesque routes throughout the UK's forests to keep off-road cyclists entertained.

Whether you're after a family specific trail, an easy green run, a moderate blue, a difficult red or a severe black, there's a forest in amongst these ten for you.

high lodge

High Lodge Forest has four great cycling trails varying from five to eleven miles in length. The Shepherd Trail is the shortest of them all and aimed at families and those looking for a pleasant, easy ride through the peaceful forest.

On the other end of the scale the 11 mile Beater Trail is a red route full of fast flowing single track that weaves in and out of pine plantations. All of these routes can get crowded at weekends slowing you down, so go during the week when possible.

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the marchees

Home to several bike trails, the Pearce XC is the ultimate in mountain biking routes of those that Marches Forest has to offer. It's 11.5 miles of testing riding full of killer climbs and rooty downhills on largely unsurfaced terrain.

Despite the difficulty, it's certainly worth it as some of the descents truly are mind-blowing. Shorter, less challenging trails are also available such as the Hopton Blue.

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Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest, Kent, provides cyclists with a good selection of routes to try out.

The Singletrack mountain biking trail is an epic trail for those experienced riders after a bit of a thrill. The 8.1 mile loop is made up of a series of fast sweeping descents, technical challenges and a hard slog up "Cardiac Hill". Currently a red run, work is being carried out to upgrade parts of it to black for even more thrill-seeking fun. Family cycle routes are also available.

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A true haven for keen off-road cyclists, the Kielder Forest has heaps of purpose built trails varying in difficulty and length. At thirty miles the Cross Border Trail is for long distance lovers and is packed with long descents and gradual climbs allowing riders to enjoy the beautiful far-reaching views.

Another route to experience great scenery is the Lonesome Pine Trail, said to be one of the most picturesque trails in England. Beginning at Kielder Castle, cyclists will soon find themselves up at 1000m gasping at the view before them.

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If you're after a real challenge, test your skills on the World Cup Cycle Trail - a black route through Dalby Forest in the North East of England.

Just four miles in length but bursting with unavoidable technical features, expect soul-destroying climbs and terrifying descents. For those after something a little less extreme but still a great ride, try the long distance red trail or the shorter blue.

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Arguably one of the best places to mountain bike in the UK, Whinlatter Forest Park is a true mountain forest. Complete the red Altura Trail for twelve miles of challenging riding full of technical features including berms, jumps, rock features, skinnies, corkscrews and tabletops.

At 4.6 miles the blue Quercus Trail is a slightly easier ride but still with a good dose of technical challenges to keep the ride exciting.

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Boasting a mountain bike skills area as well as great trails, Hamsterley Forest in County Durham makes for a great day out for keen cyclists. Cross country riders can choose between the blue, red or black trail or do a mix of all three.

The black trail is shorter than the others but far more difficult due to the steep technical climbs, contouring single track and extremely rooty descents.

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The North Face Mountain Bike Trail in Grizedale Forest Park is a challenging ten mile trail full of difficult climbs, trying descents, drop offs and large rocks.

It is split into nine different sections and can be followed by a black run afterwards, with an optional split for the most experienced of riders into a double diamond run.

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The beautiful Cardinham Woods in Cornwall is a great destination for a family bike ride with older children. The Bodmin Beast blue cycling trail spans 12 kilometres of moderate riding including a few technical climbs and descents.

It follows a single snaking track which at times is exposed to unfenced drops so needs to be ridden with care. Many riders choose to complete two laps of this route, stopping in between for an ice cream at the endpoint cafe.

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new forest

The New Forest in Hampshire is full of exciting cycle routes varying in distance and skill level. One easy trail great for families with young children is the Bolderwood seven and a half mile cycle route.

A pleasant ride, cyclists pedal through the ancient woodlands and Bolderwood Deer Park along this circular route starting from the west end of the car park. The terrain is mostly flat and there are no difficult patches.

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