Where: 2.5 miles south of Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire.
Distance: 13.1 miles (add another 5 or so if you start from Melton Mowbray town centre).
Ascent: 989 ft.
Maps: Ordnance Survey Explorer 246 & 233
Parking: Plenty on the road near the start but probably better to use a car park in Melton for security.
Overview: This route has become much easier over recent years due to several of the trails on it being surfaced or re-surfaced. It is therefore a good route for newcomers to mountain biking and a fairly gentle introduction to routes in this area but still well worth doing even for more experienced riders. The trails can vary in quality depending on recent weather and the passage of off-road vehicles and horses. Don't bother if it has been wet for a prolonged period.
Local Bike Shop: Rutland Cycling
Map: (click the symbols on the map to view photographs of the route)
Details: (click on a grid reference to centre the OS map above on that point)
1. (0 miles) SK755154 Start at a gate on Sandy Lane on National Cycle Route 64. Follow the tarmac through another two gates and descend to a T-junction. Turn right then immediately left back on to the continuing Sandy Lane which is less well surfaced. Follow this through two gates down through a damp dip then on to another gate and T-junction.
2. (1.9 miles) SK760125 Turn right onto tarmac, turn left at Moscow Farm up to a T-junction. Turn left. Turn left off the tarmac at a Leicestershire Round signpost "Burrough Hill ½".
3. (2.7 miles) SK752119
Follow the bridleway along the edge of the field to a double gate. Continue
ascending the bridleway. As you gain height you will pass through a steepish gulley to reach a gate at the top. Go through this and follow
the track down to Burrough Hill car park. Exit the car park turning left onto the road
and follow this to Somerby.
Note: DO NOT ride on the ramparts of the fort however tempting they look!
4. (4.6 miles) SK775104 At a sharp turn to the left there is a junction, turn right here. Take the bridleway signed on the left. After the first short field and through two gates the bridleway cuts between sections of the field fenced off for horses then hugs the side of fields going through another two gates. At the second gate head diagonally left and down towards two tree stumps in the opposite hedge. There is a gate between these. Carry on diagonally down to another gate and small bridge over the stream at the bottom of the field. The bridleway is well defined singletrack from here through the fields to its finish on a lane just outside Owston.
5. (6.1 miles) SK775084 Turn left onto the lane towards Owston. At the T-junction turn right. Take the first right onto a farm track / bridleway. Go straight on past the farm and carry on to a junction with a track.
6. (7.3 miles) SK762085 Turn right onto the track and descend to a ford (look out for the manhole cover on the right on the way down for a little jump!). Follow the track up to a T-junction. Turn right and ascend tarmac back to Somerby. Turn left at the end of the avenue (you have been here previously so should recognise it) and follow the road back to Burrough Hill. Go back the way you came through the car park and down the track. Go through the gate on the right before the end of the track and follow the marker posts (permissive to bikes) to a trough. Descend the gully just past this and head to the right (beware rabbit holes!) past gorse bushes to a double gate. Go through and follow the trail as it skirts along the side of the hill. Descend to another double gate.
7. (10.5 miles) SK765124 Through the gates descend straight across the field to a gate onto the road opposite Home Farm. Turn left and follow the road to the gate at the end of Sandy Lane. Turn right into this and reverse your outwards route back to the start.
7. (alternative) If the field is ploughed you can descend straight down from the trough back at the top of the hill to a gate, through this and down the track beyond. This is usually badly rutted and boggy at the bend in the middle but brings you out not far from the end of Sandy Lane.
Possible extensions: There are plenty of options. Red Lodge Road & Marefield Lane add a few nice extra hills to the south end of the route taking you almost to Tilton-on-the-Hill (without adding much distance). The bridleway network in this area is pretty good - have a look on the O.S. map.