closest 'proper' day ride within 2 hours drive of N London?

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  • closest 'proper' day ride within 2 hours drive of N London?
  • Premier Icon ibnchris

    Looking for somewhere to ride on Saturday within a couple of hours drive of North London (finsbury park). The Peaks is just a tad too far but keen for a long day out as opposed to riding round in circles at Chicksands or Thetford and I’m a bit bored of Wendover etc.

    Oh, and I’d like some rocks.

    Is Cannock Chase worth a visit?


    Premier Icon captaindanger

    My gave is north downs, about 1hr from Waterloo (dorking) or an hour and a half drive. There are many days worth of trails there, but you need to know where to go!

    Premier Icon nickc

    Cannock is just in your time frame, and compared to say Chilterns or Downs, is a bit more groomed and there’s just enough to keep you entertained.

    Slim pickings in that part of the world!

    I’m in Bristol, guess you might be able to make it to SW Wales in 2 hours given a fair wind? Forest of Dean might be doable. Parts of the Cotswolds around Dursley area have some rocks, but this time of year they have far more mud.

    Same for the Mendips, so I might have exhausted your SW options?

    Premier Icon ibnchris

    tell me more about Forest of Dean…

    Premier Icon ibnchris

    actually, don’t worry – google maps tells me it’s almost as far as Afan…..


    I really like the trail at Cannock better than Swinley/Chilterns etc Better than many of the better known routes in the north downs.

    Although if you have an expert the North downs probably has more routes, but cannock you can just get on your bike and ride.

    Dunno if its a “proper” ride but it is a good trail centre ride. There are rocks there (but not naturally) and a couple of nice black extensions to the trail which can be changeling.

    Problem is its going to be over 2 hours driving probably.

    Going to dorking is an obvious suggestion but if you train it there is still a bit of road cycling to do to the trails.

    I think if you want to just go, get on a trail straight from the car park not think and have some good riding then cannock is probably the best idea. Also it holds up well in most weather.

    Its a shame there are no forestry commission sites which are in between london and birmingham/bristol as they would be easily accessible for at all of riders. It doesnt need much altitude to make a good MTB trail just a few trees and plenty of weather proofing. MTB swindon are doing some good work on a small trail there…

    Other places –
    Thetford is quite quick to get to for you. But the trails are nt much cop in my mind (and not just because its flat)
    Swinley trails are being redeveloped but there are a couple of good ones but again will you find them ? Might be better to go next summer when its all marked up if you dont know your way.


    Would you not get better options by looking at going north for two hours by rail and then riding from the station?
    From Finsbury Park it’d probably take 45min to get to the M25!

    If you were interested, the Forest of Dean is much closer than Afan. FoD is about 20 minutes from the old Severn Bridge, Afan is an hour from the new bridge.


    if you do a google map search he should nt even need to get on either of the bridges. Being that hes coming from north londonshire.


    I’ve managed full days in the North Downs easily enough, is there any reason you didn’t mention those?

    Yes, sorry, having now consulted Google it takes exactly 2hrs 11 mins to get from Finsbury to the start of the old bridge, my mistake, sorry again, apologies for not checking Google.

    The trail out the back of Nationwide in Swindon then!

    Chilterns? Depends how cold it is and how technical you want it, there’s nothing (that I’ve found) in the Chilterns that couldn’t be done on a cross bike, but it’s quite easy to put together a 30-40mile bridleway loop and enjoy the views.

    You could always do Swinley in the morning for a singletrack fix then head north for some miles.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager

    Train north is a good shout like qwerty says – Virgin mainline from Euston to Stockport is less than 2 hours. Local service to edge of the Peak, somewhere like New Mills, is 20 min and then it’s game on.

    Wouldn’t want to be doing it every weekend, but for the occasional hairy-arsed MTB epic it’s actually not too much aggravation. Just need to plan ahead to get a cheap ticket.


    You might make Cannock in two hours by Concorde but even though I practically live there I think you would be hard pushed to make a day of it.

    The official trails are entertaining for a couple of hours or so but to ride any further you’ll need some local knowledge. The alternative is to repeat parts of the official trails they cross fireroads at frequent intervals.

    Premier Icon nedrapier

    Wouldn’t want to be doing it every weekend, but for the occasional hairy-arsed MTB epic it’s actually not too much aggravation.

    Same goes trains south of London: I rode SDW in a day from Finsbury Park before I moved a bit further north a couple of months ago.

    Up at half six, 30 minute ride to Waterloo, hour on the train to Winchester, up down up down for a hundred miles, fish and chips and a couple of tinnies for the train, 40 mins ride back from Victoria.


    Surrey hills beats all else mentioned

    b r

    Slim pickings in that part of the world!

    Not really. You could easily do a number of 40 mile loops (or train out then back from a differnt station) in either the North Downs or the Chilterns – both within one hour of central London. Routes in Swinley and the South Downs are plentiful too.

    FoD or Cwmcarn are both 2 hour-ish.


    2 hours is tight. You’d need to be north of Derby for rocks and ting. Nowt east of Derby at your 2 hour limit really. Then there’s Ludlow and Church Stretton and surrounds, but again, probably just too far.

    I’m with jedi on this one – Surrey Hills.


    Go further. It’ll make it a longer day but worth it IMO if it puts you in the Peaks or Wales.

    If you fancy a muddy slog in the middle of nowhere you could do a lot worse than the Black Mountains Killer Loop but you’re looking at 3 hours drive each way.

    Not too much mud on the Y Das decent on Tonyd’s route…


    Surrey Hills is better than the Peaks anyway 😛


    Like others have said, 2 hours would be cutting it fine but South Wales is do-able in 2.5.

    Surrey hills has plenty to do a day on.

    Premier Icon ibnchris

    Sorry, should have said. Done a fair bit in the Surrey hills and looking for something new…Cannock chase sounds like its worth a punt…

    Premier Icon Kryton57

    You could do a day in Epping Forest. No rocks, but only 10 mins away….

    Premier Icon ampthill

    Although Woburn is really just a big Chick Sands you haven’t mentioned it and it would certainly fit the bill.

    You can combine Woburn with local BW to make a couple of good loops. Or of course one larger one. If you start riding in Woburn you can Bridle way to Oak Wood and Rushmere (near Leighton Buzzard) then back via a bit of road and more Woburn until your bored

    Or Woburn and head East towards my Online name. Some great Bridle ways just North of Milbook. Then you can head back via the new bit of Bridleway round the new centre parks, then green sands ridge and and some road back to Woburn and more ACE single track

    Neither are the best ride ever but will add to the variety at modest distance from home.

    I could probably e mail a map for the second option

    PS there are place at Woburn with small rocks…

    Premier Icon ibnchris

    Thanks all. Woburn does sound like it could work, and a map would be ace. Yes please

    Premier Icon timmys

    I’m in Holloway and Woburn is the place I head to most often. If you’ve not been it’s definitely the way to go. Other than that my less regular haunts are Surrey Hills, Chicksands, Swinley, Aston Hill, Thetford. + occasional long day trip to Wales (loop of Blue at FOD, then onto Cwmcarn is my preference to the longer drive to Afan). Cannock (and Llandegla) I leave till I’m up with the in-laws in Staffordshire – gives me an excuse to escape!

    If you are looking for something completely different and local-ish maybe give the Olympic XC course a go?


    the train from Euston can get you to Rugely in 1hr40mins and from there it’s 15mins ride to Cannock Chase. Done it a few times.
    I’m in Crouch End. Been to Woburn a couple of times and will gladly go back but my riding buddies are all SW London so we tend to ride Surrey Hills.


    Private jet out of City, taxi to Les Gets, might be more like 3.5 hours.

    Premier Icon ampthill

    try this

    or this

    both are me clicking on the map so not mega accurate

    the second will be less muddy and I haven’t included a possible play in Rushmere

    Woburn its self is hard to navigate and I have included cheeky trails outside the permit area. There 100s of variations

    carry money for permits in rusmere and woburn

    rushmere now has a caf

    “Slim pickings in that part of the world!”

    Not really. You could easily do a number of 40 mile loops (or train out then back from a differnt station) in either the North Downs or the Chilterns – both within one hour of central London. Routes in Swinley and the South Downs are plentiful too.

    Surrey Hills is better than the Peaks anyway

    You are both very, very deluded.


    I can’t make it on Saturday but count me in next time. I’m 2 miles from Finsbury Park.

    Premier Icon Stainypants

    its also only 1h 40 to Macclesfield and there’s definitively a days full riding from there plus I’d take that over riding around a big wood in birmingham.


    Peaks ride to St Pancras hop on the train five hour ride come back three hours on the train each way, with breakfast on the way, beer on the way back and a ride across town each way.

    Done it a couple of times this year it’s a grand day out great fun ride from your door to some of the best riding in te UK and back again.

    Go mental and book a night in a YHA or camping barn and it’s a weekend for buttons.


    Premier Icon senor j

    just saw this thread….
    The North Downs & Surrey Hills would be my first choice.
    Wendover/Tring/Princes Risborough second.
    You must have covered alot of the Chilterns to be bored already! 🙂
    Cannock is worth a visit,If you get up early enough to get out of town ,it’s within your time limit.
    Forest of Dean can be done in 2.5 hours
    Swindon – (honest) – enjoyed some lovely rides over there – tho’ sticky right now I imagine.
    I’ve never been to the Peaks ! 😯
    but Raouligan’s ( hello Mr.! long time no hear!) plan sounds a good one.

    I have Friday afternoon off and was thinking of going to Woburn (never been!) – Thanks Ampthill for the maps!!

    Premier Icon ibnchris

    Which station do you go to for the peaks? It’s a bit of a mission to get right in isn’t it?

    Which station do you go to for the peaks? It’s a bit of a mission to get right in isn’t it?

    Station to Ecalshall road then turn off into Endcliffe Parks, 2 miles of road, bits of cheeky singletrack and park tracks, a water splash and allong the river to Potters Clough which is a propper Peaks climb.

    From there it’s a short loop round the resevoir on the footpath to the climb up the back of Stanage Edge and then you’re really in the Peaks.

    Do a loop as far out as you like.

    Then come back via Lady Cannings, Hounkirk moor and Blaca moor into Dore, then the bridletrack round the topof the rugby club drops you back at the Parks and follow your nose back through to the city center.

    Or be lazy and get the Train to Bamford/Hope/Edale, best ettign an edale ticket that way you can get back on at any point on a ride round the hope valley if you’re knackered..

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