We all get to a point when we fancy something a little different. We all know of popular bike parks and trail centres which offer concentrated fun and convenience, but what about hidden trails that lie just a little further beyond?
Hannah Reynolds has been out and about, chatting with fellow riders who offer a glimpse into their favourite trails around the UK.
Name of Rider: Cathy Debenham, East Devon
Favourite Ride: From Sidmouth to Woodbury Common
How did you find it?
When I first moved down to Devon, I lived in a village called Woodbury just west of the common so it was the obvious place to go. I didn’t know, at first, that it was open access, so you can ride anywhere you want, so I stuck to the bridle-paths. It was only when I joined the local mountain bike club (basically four blokes and me) that I discovered its full potential. Now, if we see a track that looks interesting we’ll check it out to see if it's worth riding.
What makes it special?
The whole area is really beautiful and there is so much variety. I live in a steep-sided valley so the first climb is hard work but when you get up on to the ridge there are fabulous views and some fun single track in the woods. Woodbury is actually seven commons leading down to the sea. There is an old heathland and an Iron Age fort and many different landscapes. There is a single track around the edges in the woods and the Pebble beds that lie under the area make for some interesting descending.
Why ride it?
Woodbury Common has something for everyone. It is not very technical but you can make it more fun the faster you ride it. Lots of people know of Woodbury Common, but not that it is open access. It is great for exploring because you can ride anywhere, following new trails to see where they lead. You can do a short fun ride or make it part of a bigger day out. It is never heavy, stick to your wheels muddy, its riding heaven! You can ride Woodbury Common all year round.
How to ride it?
Woodbury Common is bordered to the south by the edge of the towns of Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton, the hamlet of Yettington to the east, and the A3052 to the north. It is part of the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is hard to explain a route, the best thing to do is to follow a trail, ride with a local or get a guide. If you park in Four Firs car park or the Woodbury Castle Car park of a weekend there will always be other people heading out, who may be willing to let you follow them. Really, you’ve just got to go and look around, follow what looks nice to ride. For a coffee stop, we go to Otterton Mill or to Earls or the Cosy Teapot in Budleigh Salterton.
The terrain is very light and quick draining because of the pebble beds. There are also some sandy sections which are good when damp or wet, but trickier when they are dry. You don’t need mud tyres with deep grip, virtually any other tyre will do fine.
So, how about it? Pop Woodbury Common on the MTB bucket list, we will be...
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