by Ben Haworth
Words and pics by Singletrack Member Tom Hyde…
Thetford is packed full of fast, flowing natural trail that is ideal for everyone. Thetford is well known for its miles of great singletrack and is the home of some great racing with events such Dusk till Dawn, the Winter Enduro Series and the new Summer Series. As well as the miles of unmarked singletrack there are also two way marked mountain bike routes and two family routes.
Thetford has nothing scary or technical in the usual sense but is scattered bomb holes and the local trail group are working hard to add new technical sections. Thetford is perfect for less experience riders but also great for some fast hardtail blasting.
The two main routes at Thetford are the Black (10 miles) and Red (11 miles). The Black is the most popular route at Thetford which has mostly evolved from old motorbike enduros. This gives the trail great flow and makes it easily to follow. The trail is very tight and twists round trees and has formed little berms which ride very well. The faster you ride the more technical it becomes.
The black also includes many of the bomb holes and the Beast, a gentle, slightly technical downhill section. Due to the sandy soil the trial is often hard and dry, but can get lose and sandy in the very dry summers and is often reduced to mud during the winter, but still great fun on a singlespeed.
The Red is a much more manmade trail but also includes some nice singletrack which winds between the trees but also includes some nice grassy fire roads. The Forestry Commission have recently laid four new sections of stone trail across the red route. These cross areas of trail that use to be very muddy. These sections include small berms and rollers which again become more technical the faster you ride it.
The local trail group, TIMBER, have also added two of their own sections to the red route, and are currently planning their third. The first section is Tightrope, which is a tight twisty stone singletrack with fast berms. This section also introduced the first technical trail features to the forest, with a small piece of northshore, a couple jumps and the tightrope, a skinny log ride. The second section is 39 Steps a downhill section of fast flowing berms. The best singletrack on the Red is on the eastern loop with a nice climb back to join main loop.
The unmarked singletrack is in plentiful supply and the best of which is on the Brandon Country Park side. You just need to get out and explore or find a local to take you round and show you the best bits. Generally the race routes use the best of the unmarked stuff so get to a race for the easiest way to find it.
• Food – Shop and a decent cafe at High Lodge and also both at Brandon Country Park. Thetford and Brandon both close by and both full of pubs and takeaways.
• Parking – Parking at High Lodge at £1.60 an hour with a maximum of £9.60 and free parking at Brandon Country Park.
• Located on the main Brandon to Thetford road, B1107. Sign posted off the A11
• Postcode – IP27 0AF