Where: Stathern, Leicestershire.
17 miles.
Ascent: 1,407 ft.
Maps: Ordnance Survey Explorer 247 & 260
Parking: Limited on the street near the start. The Red Lion has a car park. Check with the landlord first and spend some money in there after your ride!
Overview: One of the best routes in Leicestershire taking you up and down the escarpment looking out over The Vale of Belvoir. This route reverses a lot of the trails used by the Viking Challenge. Typically for Leicestershire this route is best ridden in dry conditions. Parts of the route are frequently used by motorised off road vehicles so beware of them. However in summer they are less frequently encountered and the route can be as tranquil as any other.

Local Bike Shop: Rutland Cycling

GPX file for this route: Download

View video clips of parts of this route here

Map: (click the symbols on the map to view photographs of the route)

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Details: (click on a grid reference to centre the OS map above on that point)

1. (0 miles) SK772310 Start outside the Red Lion pub, Red Lion lane in Stathern. Go up Toft's Hill across the green from the pub - signposted "Unsuitable for motors".

2. (1 mile) SK789304 At the end of the Toft's Hill track turn left onto the road, then immediately right onto the gravel track which is part of the Jubilee Way. Follow the track ignoring a couple of right turns until you reach a T-junction with a road at the bottom of the first fast and pleasant descent of the ride. Turn right and ride up into Branston. Turn left opposite The Wheel Inn down Knipton Road.

3. (3 miles) SK814293 At the bend in the road at the top of the short hill - turn right onto a track. Follow this up and down a couple of hills, past the sewage works and then up a concrete road climb into Croxton Kerrial. At the end of the road turn right then immediately left up Thorpes Lane. Turn right at the top of this and carry straight on to the junction with the A607. Turn left onto this.

4. (5 miles) SK844292 At the curve in the road turn right (signposted Hungerton & Wyville) into a layby / junction type thing. Follow the lane down for about a mile until the Viking Way crosses it. Turn left onto this and pick a rut. Update: Summer 2009. Much of the Viking way has beeen widened and levelled making the going far easier than it used to be. Wet weather combined with motorised users will no doubt restore it to the usual entertaining rut fest. in time? The Viking Way route is straight and very obvious! You will go over the A607, down a technical descent (the kerbstone descent) and over two more roads until you eventually reach a bridge over the Grantham canal. The descent to the canal bridge is no longer the quality singletrack it once was due to (illegal) motorised use. It can still be fun though.

5. (10 miles) SK850350 Carry straight on over the canal bridge and then take the first track on the left. Follow this to another canal bridge by the "Dirty Duck" pub (also called The Rutland Arms). The track now becomes a tarmac lane. Proceed to the T-junction and turn left towards Woolsthorpe. At the crossroads in the village turn right and follow the road up and around Belvoir Castle.

6. (13 miles) SK815328 At a right hand bend in the road turn right onto the Jubilee Way. This is well signposted up and through the woods until it comes to a T-junction at the top of Toft's Hill. Turn right and enjoy descending the track that you ascended at the start of the route. Enjoy one of the excellent real ales in the Red Lion!


Possible extensions: Plenty both north and south of the loop. The Viking Way is nearly all rideable and there are plenty of bridleways, tracks and lanes crossing it at regular intervals. We usually cross straight over the A607 at Croxton Kerrial, turn left at Saltby church then take the bridleway on the right to meet the Viking Way at the edge of the airfield.



+1 #19 PAUL WALTON 2017-06-17 05:35
Hey, is this route got any better to ride over the years? www.mtb4me.com/
0 #18 Monty 2016-07-31 20:04
Rode this yesterday. Very dry and fast. Certain sections are very rutted by motor vehicles but all rideable. Some nice climbs the first out the pub is a lung blower but after that some fast and flowing dh. Bit of road work utility apart from the small bit on the a road it's all very quiet. Some mild techy parts notably the slab section and we completed all on hard tails. Certainly something for everyone. We will definitely go back and add more miles as tons of bridleway.
+3 #17 Martin Bennett 2015-06-08 17:07
Having found the route on this website we stopped off to do enjoy it on a lovely day on the way home to Lancashire after having done the Rutland Water circuit the day before. So glad we did. Not only is it a vg and varied bike ride but also served to show us the unsung beauty of Leicestershire. Keep it quiet. If the villages we rode thru' that day were in the Cotswolds they'd be mobbed with tourists and thus ruined!
The day was brought to a perfect conclusion for me when I found The Red Lion had my favourite pint!
0 #16 Gareth 2013-08-11 08:01
Rode this loop yesterday, not ridden round Belvoir before and will definitely be coming back. The highlight is the single track down to the canal and the DH with the curbstones. Thanks for the route.
0 #15 Oliver Yeomans 2012-06-11 11:32
I don't live too far from Belvoir and have still never done this route as the map shows but have ridden on every part of it. There are loads of variations to this route though, you could try starting at the Dirty Duck (Rutland Arms Woolsthorpe) as this has a much larger car park. There is the car park at the castle which also has a cafe, you could even reverse the route if you wanted. I grew up around here so don't worry about getting lost but if your'e not from the area then take a map with you or even use some of the great apps for smart phones and just explore.
0 #14 Adam Clifford 2012-01-28 21:34
Did this route today with Toby. Despite it being a fairly decent January weekend, the route was spectacularly wet and muddy. Staying upright was quite a challenge in parts (unless you adopt the slightly effeminate riding style of my companion), but on the whole it was a cracking, if tiring, day out. I think this route has something for everyone, only the less experienced rider might take longer. That said, the final couple of K were a bit of an unnecessary drudge due to the strange choice of hard-core surface, but perhaps this is temporary. Go on, get out there...
0 #13 Paul Fleming 2010-09-19 14:13
I did this route yesterday, bit muddy in places but good fun and quite hard work up a few of the hills - descents great though. I am a novice though, looking for fun off road rides 1-2hours long so this was ideal as it took me 2 hours - directions were great as I did not get lost at all. Nice morning too, bright and cool. There was still the large tree trunks blocking the viking way, just had to clamber over. Might try it in the opposite direction next time.
0 #12 Chris 2010-08-17 12:24
Did this route last night with a few detours and extensions and really enjoyed it. With most of the trails being clay i can see why you wouldn't bother with it in the wet. All very quiet only saw 3 bikers coming the opposite direction as we were grunting up the hill near Branston. A little hint is not all the bridleways are actually sign posted so 'SATNAV' is useful. Great downhill sections to the canal and the uphills aren't too horrendous. 21/4 hrs for 25 miles I don't think is bad for a couple of old gits. The closed sections seem to have a few distinct tyre marks running along them, but can easily avoid.
0 #11 mark 2010-06-06 13:07
Thanks for the response, ill try that route next time unless they have indeed banned bikes too:)
0 #10 Pete Halls 2010-06-06 10:05
That section of Viking way along with others up to Saltby Airfield have been closed for 18 months to allow mother nature to attempt to recover from the damage caused by motorised vehicles on this ancient route. This appears to be the second stage after the initial bulldozing to level out the ruts and huge holes?

I presume the route is technically closed to cycles too but I've not seen the actual order/signs and can't find it online?

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