For many, a new year can mean new challenges and goals, and entering an event can be the best motivation to get yourself out riding and ready for the challenge. We have found gravel events in all parts of the country to get your legs twitching and ready to pedal. Of course, this isn't a list of ALL the gravel events running in the UK this year, there are many more than just 18. However, here are some of the more and lesser-known events to tempt your legs into action.
Wildwood.jpg, by Matt Page
Date: March 6th
Start Location: Oxfordshire
One of the original off-road sportive style events, the Wildwood Gravel (formally Wildwood CX) has three route options with the longest being 80km with constant surfaces changes along a route around the Chiltern Hills and Thames Valley.
Cotswold Cross Sportive
Bagman_Cotswold_Cross.jpeg, by Matt Page
Date: March 20th
Start Location: Cheltenham
There are three route distances to choose from; 35km, 55km or 75km. Taking in quiet roads, green lanes and bridleways around the Cotswolds, this event is suitable for mountain bikes, gravel and cyclocross bikes. Entries are £35 and there is no option to pay on the day.
Battle on the Beach
Battle on the Beach - Shipwreck.jpg, by Anthony Pease
Date: April 2nd & 3rd
Start Location: Pembrey, Carmarthenshire
The UK's biggest mass start off-road event, with 1,000 riders lining up on the beach ready to do battle. Held on the rock hard sand of Cefn Sidan at low tide the event is open to any form of bike that can roll off-road. As well as the main event there is a nighttime trial on the Saturday with a stream of lights streaking down the beach to follow. Entries are open and usually sell out very quickly.
White Horse Ridge Gravel
Whitehorse.JPG, by Matt Page
Date: April 3rd
Start Location: Oxfordshire
Taking place in the Chiltern hills and along what is thought to be Europes oldest road, the Ridgeway. This iconic road mixes mile upon mile of grass, gravel, dirt and chalk track, riding high above the Oxfordshire plain. There are three route options with the longest at 73km with 95% being off-road.
Dirty_Reiver.jpeg, by Matt Page
Date: April 24th
Start Location: Northumberland
Perhaps the best known pure gravel event in the UK and one that first brought the US scene to our shores. Dirty Reiver has several route options with the longest being just under 200km all within Kielder Forest, Northumbria. It is not officially a race but has become popular with faster riders with British road racers starting to appear on the start line. If you are up for a big single-day challenge, this is it!
Muck 'n Mac Fest
Muck_n_Mac_Fest.jpeg, by Matt Page
Date: 30th April & 1st May
Start Location: Tweed Valley, Scotland
A 2-day event with riding and lots going on after with live music, beer, yoga and family activities. The riding features enduro-style timed stages on fully waymarked trails around the fantastic Tweed Valley, South of Edinburgh.
Dorset Dirt Dash 100
Surly Dorset gravel dash3-1.jpg, by Charlie the Bikemonger
Date: May 28th & 29th
Start Location: Swanage, Dorset
Two different events, both following the same course with a 2-day bikepacking event over 100 miles or a single day on the Sunday for those who want a challenge. The route takes in the scenic Jurassic Coast and the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset.
Battle in the Bowl
Battle_in_the_Bowl.JPG, by Matt Page
Date: 21st & 22nd May
Start Location: Winchester
A full weekend of riding with separate events on each day. Starting on Saturday with a 100km event that takes in riding on the South Downs. On Sunday the Battle in the Bowl CX event is a 2hr race around a 4-mile circuit open to gravel, cyclocross and mountain bikes. For competitive riders, there are cash prizes and team prizes available.
Date: 28th May
Start Location: Tweed Valley
This is a fully waymarked 75km route around the Tweed Valley. You'll experience gritty, gravelly sections and some quiet country roads along the route. This event is aimed at gravel bikes, but is suitable for all off-road bikes.
North and South Downs Escapade
Date: 2nd to 5th June
Start Location: Canterbury
Looking for a big challenge? This might be it. A huge 480km route with 8,000 metres of climbing. Starting in Canterbury, this route takes in a huge loop around the North and South Downs, finishing back at the start. The route is self-supported with GPX files provided for you to follow.
Date: 18th & 19th June
Start Location: Cilycwm, Mid Wales
The original gravel enduro event, now in its 4th year for 2022 the event takes place in the fantastic Cambrian Mountains with 2 days of spectacular riding. With three timed stages each day with a total of 125km of riding across the weekend. Everything is included, including camping, entertainment and family activities during the day.
Lakeland Gravel X
Lakes_Epic.png, by Matt Page
Date: 2nd July
Start Location: Coniston Lake District
A challenging 100km route with plenty of climbing within the spectacular Lake District, starting from Coniston and heading into Grizedale Forest. This event is fully waymarked with feed stations for essential re-fuelling.
Date: 23rd July
Start Location: Machynlleth, Mid Wales
Part of a global event series and returning after its inaugural year in Wales 2021, Grinduro is part race and part festival. Taking place over 3 days in total with short timed stages on Sunday. There is also live music, art show and handmade bike show that's not to be missed.
Surrey Gravel Epic
Surrey_Epic.png, by Matt Page
Date: 30th July
Start Location: Leith Hill
Just shy of 100km, this fully waymarked route takes in some of the best riding around the Surrey hills. This event starts from the base of Leith Hill before taking on a total of 4 main climbs during the route. The event includes feed stations, full waymarking and timing chips.
Peak District Epic
PeakDistrict_Epic.png, by Matt Page
Date: 21st July
Start Location: Hope, Peak District
The Peak District is one of the most scenic areas of England. This event takes in some of the most well-known locations, including Mam Tor and the broken road that sits above the valley before joining the Pennine Bridleway. In total, the route is 100km and fully waymarked with feed stations and timing provided.
Devon_Grit.jpeg, by Matt Page
Date: 28th July
Start Location: Exmouth, Devon
There is a distance for all abilities with a total of 5 distances ranging from 22km up to the “Extreme” at 100km. The route takes in scenic areas of East Devon including Woodbury Common and singletrack within plus a climb up to Beacon Hill. The route is fully waymarked with feed stations along the way. Each entrant receives a chip timing and a t-shirt.
Dukes Weekender 2020, by Dukes Weekender
Date: 10th & 11th September
Start Location: Aberfoyle, Perthshire
The weekend starts on Saturday with an off-road, gravel hill climb, followed by food, drink and music. The longer Gravel Enduro on Sunday features a 70km route around Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park, a truly spectacular rider with some of the very best gravel riding in the UK. There are at least 6 timed stages during the day.
Lakelander Gravel Grinder
Lakelander_Gravel_Grinder.jpeg, by Matt Page
Date: 8th October
Start Location: County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
You can choose from the Big Dog (100km) or Little Dog (50km) route options as this event takes in scenic areas of Northern Ireland, including a few areas that Game of Thrones fans might recognise.
So there you have it. 18 leg-burning gravel challenges to consider this year, and you may even see the off-road.cc team at a few of them.
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