New Ridge Trail at Haldon Forest

by Ben Haworth 6

The development of bike trail has been made possible thanks to funding from Devon County Council and Devon Renaissance. Money from both also went towards the development of The Ridge Café, which has been open since April this year.

Haldon Forest Park Manager, Louise Bell says: “The new bike trail is going to be a huge asset to Haldon Forest Park. It will complement the existing network of trails that we have. The trail is very technical and will appeal to experienced riders whilst the other trails are more for families.

“Haldon offers a fantastic value for money day out. There is a range of things for people to do including walking, cycling and orienteering and as entry is completely free, with only a small car parking charge applying – £1.50 for the whole day. In addition we have excellent site partners including the Centre for Contemporary Art & The Natural World, Forest Cycle Hire and Go Ape.”

Fiona Edwards from Devon Renaissance said: “Devon Renaissance is pleased to be involved with this valuable and exciting project. This world-class off-road cycling trail will stimulate growth of this new and increasingly popular tourism market here in the south west region.”

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: “I’m delighted that Devon County Council has been able to help this project. We have been investing in cycling across the county and I’m certain this new cycle trail will have a healthy impact on Devon’s economy.”

Comments (6)

  1. They are fantastically well built and flowing, great fun, however:

    “The trail is very technical and will appeal to experienced riders whilst the other trails are more for families”

    This is not made clear enough to the punters, so I encountered about 4 or five sets of parents with 7yr olds (no helmets) pootling along on it getting stuck and stopping in the middle of the trail on Friday.
    Also lots of people riding them in the wrong direction to that which they are waymarked, which makes things interesting!

    Worse still – about 3 lots of people walking their dogs along them!

    It needs to be made very clear to people what these trails are for and how they should be used or there will very quickly be a great deal of tension between trail users and quite possibly, an accident.

    Hmmm…shouldn’t the forestry commission know all of this given how well trail centres elsewhere are normally managed?

  2. I doubt anyone would disagree with you but it’s one thing to advise people not to use an unsuitable trail but another for them to heed the advice. This is a very common issue, particularly where a trail is located in a very accessible location.

  3. Well, I know what you mean – but these trails have no signs other than a little red bike image as a waymarker, there are no warnings a-la “proper” trail centres to make people even consider it as hazardous, it all just looks like a jolly little pootle to take your kids on. Until, of course – you get on it and find it narrow/twisty/slippy/technical and inhabited by rabid (in my case anyway!) mountain bikers trying to enjoy a facility that has been long-awaited in the area.
    I hope the situation is improved, because the trails are very well done, and I’d like to be able to use them without the fear of crashing into an old couple walking their dog or a dad teaching his 5 yr old how to ride a bike!

  4. I met some walkers on a quick section on Sunday. I asked them if they rtealised that they were con an MTB trail and warned them that if someonee came round a corner at 20 without seeing them, it would sting a bit. They turned round and walked back out.

  5. Result. We get the same problems despite each dedicated section having warnings at the start and end. Responses range from appreciative and apologetic to downright nasty and agressive. Ho hum.

  6. Trailmonkey – you are right, have a quiet word politely, and most will understand, but you shouldn’t even have to do that! it is built for bikes! there are a huge number of places we aren’t allowed to ride where you are free to roam on foot (that are much prettier than deepest haldon woods!).
    It’s the ignorant folk who argue with you who I worry about, totally detracts from the experience. If you stood in the middle lane of a motorway you’d expect to nearly get hit by the odd car, or at least get told you are a stupid tw*t endangering your safety and that of others.

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