It’s been over a year since I last rode at Swinley, but last Saturday I ventured out on my own and was fortunate enough to tag along with a couple of locals for a guided tour of the best bits.
There’s been a forest fire in the area since I was last there, and while rebuilding it’s evident the park centre has invested some time and effort into making it a better place to ride.
The trails flow really well and despite the rain we’ve had lately, had drained really well making many parts of the trail fast flowy. If you’ve been to Swinley recently, none of this will seem a great suprise. Indeed, if you ride Swinley regularly you may even get a bit bored of the place (as some riders tell me). But as I rarey visit, this ride was very pleasing.
Mountain bike trails at Swinley Forest are plentiful but I think as a new-comer you are likely to take a wrong turn as I did right from the start. Take care to set off in the right direction and you’ll make the most out of the area. Don’t be put off by the hordes of families near the car-park of Go Ape! that facilitates right where you park. Once you’re a couple of miles into the woods, the walkers quickly become cyclists and good trails start to appear.
After about 3 miles of riding in the wrong direction I hooked up with two local riders Alan and Barry. They quickly turned me around and showed me the way. Barry had been busy that morning painting arrows on trees in anticipation of a race on Sunday. He seemed to know where he was going and passionately told me which trails to take for the best ride. He needn’t have bothered as he showed me most of them in the end anyway.
The new tight and twisty XC trails were so tight and twisty they’ve build high berms that enabled you to rail and keep the power down. It wasn’t long before I’d broken a spoke. It’s strangely satisfying when I brake the odd bike part as I feel like I’m getting the most out of my bike.
So, good trails in a trail centre that’s easy to find. If you’re new to mountain biking, it’s a great place to give mountain biking a go. You don’t have to have a particularly high-end bike to ride there. Unlike Wales, the terrain is as demanding as you make it. My 6″ travel Rocky Mountain was way too much bike really.