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
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
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
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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