Blue Doon

15 new or revamped places to ride in 2022

by 18

What’s better than finding new trails? Absolutely nothing is better than finding new trails. That is an undeniable fact. New stuff is what keeps us riding our bikes. If you need some inspiration and information about where to head with your bikes in 2022, here’s our starter for fifteen.

In no particular order…

1. West Kernow Way, Cornwall

West Kernow Way
West Kernow Way-ing

Kicking off with a big ‘un. 230km off-road route around Cornwall that officially starts in Penzance but there’s nothing stopping you starting the figure-of-eight at some other point on the route. The route, designed by Cycling UK, is best suited to nippy XC bikes or even gravel/CX bikes. It uses bridleways, byways, quiet roads, ‘lost ways’, rugged coastlines, old miners’ tracks and other interesting old stuff. Route map here.

2. New 6km Red and 2.3km Blue trails at Cwmcarn

With the Red stuff, the grand plan is to link up the Twrch and Cafall Red routes and this new 6km section is the first step in that project. It sort of brings you back up to the top of the first ascent again and so acts currently as a nice bolt-on ‘petal loop’ to the rest of the trails at Cwmcarn. The ‘new’ Blue route, called Pwca, technically dates back to the end of 2020 but many folk won’t have noticed its announcement, so were including it here. Info: cwmcarnforest.co.uk

3. Darren Fawr MTB’s tweaked Blue and Black trails, Gawr Valley

The Black trail called Langline has had its dinky jumps turned into proper ‘bike park’ airtime. And the Blue trail has also been given a refresh and rejig. Info: bridgend.gov.uk

4. Loads of work done in the Forest Of Dean

Where to start? There’s been loads of stuff being done in FoD over the past year and a bit thanks to the efforts of the Dean Trail Volunteers and the Forestry Commission. The Blue Verderers trail has a revamped final descent as well as a refresh of the middle sections. The Orange grade Countdown and Launchpad tracks, designed to be rideable by 4-wheel gravity bikes as well as regular MTBs, have seen a total refurbishment too. All of the trails are managed and maintained by Forestry England – the Dean Trail Volunteers assist in the maintenance of trails. The Verderers Trail refurbishment in 2020/21 cost approximately £120,000 and was funded by Forestry England with the work carried out by Back On Track MTB Solutions. The work on Launchpad and Countdown was a joint project between the FC and DTV, who raised £9,000 from public donations. FE invested £68,000 into this project, with Back On Track again doing the work. Info: deantrailvolunteers.org.uk

5. BikePark Wales has been busy

There’s the new Green trail called Kermit that’s fun for everyone, not just families. There’s a new ‘hand cut’ Red trail with plenty of more natural terrain to traverse. Methyr Rocks is a new Blue trail that’s bordering on Red grade. Ideal for progressing relative newbies. At the higher octane end of thing there’s the short but intense The Martian pro-line and the nu-skool bikeparky Vanta trail. Info: bikeparkwales.com

6. A new Black, a new Orange and a Mini DH at Glenlivet

And there’s a new ‘flow trial’ on the way too at some point this year. Anyway, what’s open as of now? New Black trail called Glenduro, built in the in-vogue hand-cut stylee; basically involves roots, rock and actual dirt. The Mini DH and the Orange freeridey lines opened in 2020 but we’re including it here, because we bet you’ve not been there yet. Info: glenlivetestate.co.uk

7. New Red trail and Pro-Line for Dyfi Bike Park

‘Turns In The Ferns’ is the new-for-2021 1km Red grade track. Fast, flowy, bermy, shark finny, bit techy, bit jumpy. ‘The Icon Way’ is another 1km wonder. It’s a pro-Line, which essentially means you need to adept at airtime. Slopestylee, BMXy, modern DHy, drops, bridges, lips ‘n’ hips. Info: dyfibikepark.co.uk

8. New Red for Rotherham

Never mind the length (0.7km), feel the intensity! 27 berms and oodles of small jumps packed into a modest Red flavoured blaster. Loads of fun stuff here thanks to the Rother Valley Riders. Info: rothervalleyriders.co.uk

9. 8km lift-assisted Blue Doon in the Nevis Range

It’s a long way down! Credit: Pete Scullion

Fort William and its gondola is no longer just the preserve of Blue Black and Red grade tracks. The new Blue Doon tracks took two years to make and is pretty much a unique experience in the UK. It starts 650m up on Aonarch Mor and winds its way down over a whopping 8km of Bluey goodness. Info: nevisrange.co.uk

10. Red and Blue downhill runs in the Elan Valley

Two new purpose-built downhill tracks. 1km of downhill Red. 1.5km of downhill Blue. Berms, jumps, and drop-offs. Both tracks best accessed from the car park at Nantgwyllt Church. Info: elanvalley.org.uk

11. Afan Skyline reopens after almost 10 years(!)

Remember Skyline? It’s back. The 45km trail at Afan Forest Park in South Wales starts from Glyncorrwg MTB Centre and heads all over the Afan Valley and takes in the Pen Y Cymoedd Wind Farm (which is the project that caused the closure of Skyline back in 2012). Info: naturalresources.wales

12. Glen’s 12km of Red and Blue stuff, Northern Ireland

Another network that unveiled its wares at the tail end of 2020. The Gorten Glen Mountain bike club: “The development of official trails in Gortin has been in the works since 2013 but due to various challenges and complexities this project had stalled and looked in danger of never being completed. […] This led to the official establishment of Gortin Mountain Bike Club in 2018 and from here the club went from strength to strength while building a strong relationship with FODC. The club worked hand in hand to develop and realise the current trail centre which we are proud to announce as OFFICIALLY OPEN”. Info: mountainbikeni.com

13. Llandegla refresh

Another end-of-2020 revamp that’s well worth mentioning for those who haven’t visited Coed Llandegla in the Covid Era. As well as bits and bobs of Red route repairing etc the trail team have given a complete refurbishment to the Black grade Drop Zone: new rock gardens, new berms, new three-way jump. Info: oneplanetadventure.com

14. Prestwich’s Philips Park revamped

Something of a personal favourite of mine, this pocket playground on the outskirts of Manchester lies pleasingly and incongruously right next to the M61. It’s basically two little loops that start in the same spot, with the way-back-up linking up the middle of them; like a butterfly shape. Particularly good for kids. Info: komoot.com

15. Find new local stuff with Bridlewayz

Very, very useful RoW display

Okay so this new mapping app is very clearly aimed at horse riders but so what? As far as I know it’s the only mapping resource that allows you to filter/highlight maps via access rights (bridleway, footpath, byway, BOAT). It’s not the most intuitive of apps (and is rather overtly keen at showing you where things are for sale/classified ads) but get beyond that and it’s a very useful tool for quickly showing where all the bridleways are in an area, which makes for trouble-free route-making and exploring. Hint: the rights-of-way are listed under ‘products’ (I know, silly but… hey, it’s free). Info: bridlewayz.com

Anywhere else good we’ve missed?

Let folk know in the comments below.

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Viewing 18 posts - 1 through 18 (of 18 total)
  • 15 new or revamped places to ride in 2022
  • thegeneralist
    Full Member

    Typo?

    Fort William and its gondola is no longer just the preserve of Blue and Red grade tracks

    IHN
    Full Member

    I remember accidentally doing the Afan Skyline about 15 years ago, after missing one of the turns on whatever route we thought we were doing that afternoon after doing other stuff in the morning. That was a loooooong day, and pretty much cemented by hatred of trail centres.

    steveh
    Full Member

    Grneo woods is due a big refurb this year, dates not firm yet but Ride Sheffield hope to make an announcement for plans before the end of Feb.

    idlejon
    Full Member

    This is curious – MBR had almost exactly the same article in their mag this month, even including the West Kernow Way, Elan Valley, Skyline reopening, the trail in Manchester….

    Also there’s a typo in number 3 – it’s the Garw (Garoo!) valley. I haven’t heard anything locally about anything being done up there – I’ll have to ask around.

    Andrew Smedley
    Full Member

    I use rowmaps.com to show bridleways, restricted byways and BOATs on an OS map when planning routes. It takes a while to get used to the clunky web site, but once you’ve set preferences and tweaked the map size it’s great.

    P-Jay
    Free Member

    I’ve never heard of Darren Fawr, I must try it, it’s not far from me.

    Cwmcarn news bits… Well, the red extension is… wank. There’s no other way to put it, I know a lot of diehard CC fans and I’m yet to find someone who likes it. The very first bit, 300m or so, down to the forest drive is fun… the rest seems it’s either built exclusively for eBikers to like, or backwards, it’s a long climb with a couple of berms and jumps on very strange. It’s supposedly phase 1 of 2 that will see it being used as a way to connect Twrch with Cafal, but there’s already a better way of doing that, that doesn’t involve doing 90% of the climb of Twrch and then leaving it just before the best descents.

    The Blue / Pwca is great fun, just don’t take your youngsters on it thinking it’s a easier trail, it’s short, but the climb is quite tough for little legs and the descent is just a great succession of jumps broken that can be at least attempted as doubles or triples broken up by steep, sharp berms. I’ve no idea why it’s classed as a blue, loads of fast, experienced riders I know have binned on it.

    ossify
    Full Member

    I was at Drumlanrig during the summer and part of the trail was closed there.
    Rik (trailbuilder and general in-charge-guy) said that they were redoing a lot of the trails, regrading much of the black as red and adding new parts.

    Can’t remember the details but it might be considerably changed.

    idlejon
    Full Member

    I’ve never heard of Darren Fawr, I must try it, it’s not far from me.

    It’s ok, and would be good if it was longer. The problem for me is that it’s up a dead-end valley, doesn’t link up with anything else and totals 6km. You need to enjoy doing multiple laps, or you’ll get bored very quickly and wonder why you didn’t drive somewhere more worthwhile in the first place.

    Vincent Gregory
    Full Member

    I suspect @ossify it will be a loooong time before anything re-opens at Drumlanrig after the storm. I doubt they have the kit and resources that Forestry Scotland can call upon and the trails are buggered right now.

    reluctantjumper
    Full Member

    Cwmcarn news bits… Well, the red extension is… ****. There’s no other way to put it, I know a lot of diehard CC fans and I’m yet to find someone who likes it.

    Yep, completely pointless. Much, much better ways to link the two already using quick fireroad links if you do the Twrch first and two separate options if you do the Cafall first depending on how much of the Twrch initial climb you want to do. So much more could have been accomplished with the funding.

    It’s ok, and would be good if it was longer. The problem for me is that it’s up a dead-end valley, doesn’t link up with anything else and totals 6km.

    You can link it into bits of Skyline if you want a big day out but otherwise it’s only something to do if you’re there anyway.

    mikejd
    Full Member

    Downloaded Bridlewayz app. Claims to cover UK. North of Scottish border – zilch. I know there are technically no bridleways in Scotland. open access, etc.

    granny_ring
    Full Member

    Like the look of Blue Doon.

    chilternderek
    Full Member

    Hopefully Aston Hill will reopen later this year and can feature on the list at some stage!

    comet
    Full Member

    I visited the Bridlewayz website, but could not see where to download the app. Could someone please point me in the right direction.

    JWH
    Free Member

    Download it from the google play store or apple app store on your mobile device

    jimdubleyou
    Full Member

    Getting a few bad vibes from that bridlewayz app (more incompetence rather than nefarious) I think I’ll wait until they’ve ironed out the bugs…

    comet
    Full Member

    Thanks JWH and jimdubleyou

    thegeneralist
    Full Member

    Cwmcarn news bits… Well, the red extension is… ****. There’s no other way to put it, I know a lot of diehard CC fans and I’m yet to find someone who likes it. The very first bit, 300m or so, down to the forest drive is fun… the rest seems it’s either built exclusively for eBikers to like, or backwards, it’s a long climb with a couple of berms and jumps on very strange

    Aha, I was wondering what the Glenlivet trail crew had moved onto as their next job 🙂

Viewing 18 posts - 1 through 18 (of 18 total)

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