Thanks for the offer. I might just take you up on it next Wednesday if that is ok!
I'll have to see where I'm at with getting a new frame and building up etc, but I doubt I'll be much further on by next Wednesday, so XC hardtail sounds good to me.
Susie. In short the answer is 'no'.
You have to deal with five 'lift the bike over' gates to go that way. The main problem is that the path crosses a track that is marked as strictly private, I think they go in for pheasant shooting around there, so likely to be very protective.
It's still a worthwhile track IMO. The lifting the bike thing just counts as 'upper body work'!
We've got to face facts, really. The area is actually quite good for 'local' riding, but the majority is footpath or track in the woods. Unfortunately that means we can't really complain about gates.
Obviously the best thing would be for landowners, local government and mountain bikers to grow a pair and agree that bikes can use ALL ROWs, but that everyone has to behave themselves. Yeah, right!