Western Gloucestershire’s Forest of Dean Mountain Biking centre is situated within 110 square kilometres of mixed woodland, right on the border to Wales.
There are four XC trails – two testing red routes, a blue route, and a ‘family friendly’ green circuit, as well as tons of short but sweet downhill trails, and the unique ‘Rough Riderz’ gravity bike downhill track, that suits 4 wheels as well as two.
There are two centres to provide facilities. Pedalabikeaway offer parking for £3-£3.50 a day, as well as toilets, showers, bike wash, workshop, CCTV, WiFi, café (with cake), uplift services and way marked trails. They also offer skills coaching if you want to hone your skills, and have run a few women’s coaching days.
In Parkend Village, Dean Forest Cycles are also on hand, with free parking, bike hire, workshop, guided rides and kids parties all on offer.
The blue trail, ‘Verderer’s Trail’ is a 7-mile all-weather loop that promises fast, flowing, flat out corners, big berms and rollovers. There are a few tricky challenges along the route, which begins with an uphill stretch before swopping flat stretches and a descent on the Dragon’s Trail that takes you back to the trail centre.
The 4.5 mile ‘Freeminer Trail’ has been designed and built to offer varied singletrack, tricky switchback climbs and rooty drops – it’s a playground for experienced riders who will relish the challenge. The other red rated trail was created for the Forest of Dean Mountain Bike Enduro event – it’s 8 miles long and offers classic singletrack and fast descents, though there is no way marking so you’ll need a GPS.
If you’re a beginner or taking the troop, the Family Trail offers 11 miles of gravel tracks, passing alongside local attractions.
There is an uplift available from Pedalabikeaway and seven downhill trails, all of which are short, but technical. ‘Corkscrew’ is full of epic jumps, with a rooty maze at the bottom, and ‘Sheepskull’ will tempt you into braking over the roots before powering into a motorway section at the end.
The ‘Rough Riderz’ Launch Pad trail, a 1.1km gravity bike DH track, promises 1-2 minutes of fast flowing descent, and was built with funding from the Gloucestershire Environmental Trust and Forestry Commission.
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