North Face Trail, Grizedale – most disappointing trail ever?
Does all this ” there are better trails in Grizdale” not all depend on the “visitors” skill level, experience, map reading skills etc ?
No, however incompetent they are, at the basic skills of MTB, there are still better trials 😛
Fair point to say they are to attract others and i go with my kids so they are useful introductions I agreePosted 4 years agopaulrockliffeMember
I’ve done the good stuff in Grizedale and I’ve done the NFT. No question the other stuff is better, but the NFT isn’t crap. It’s one of those trails that you need to put a bit of effort in to to make it flow though I think. I can see that if you stroll around it it’ll bore you but if you do it as a blast it comes into it’s own. That was my experience anyway. When I do it I usually park up and ride over Iron Keld, round the trail, then back to the car.
I love Whinlatter, again it’s a great place especially if you have a blast at it, but the descents are better than at Grizedale. People would rave about them both a lot more if they weren’t surrounded by The Worlds Best Riding, I think people lose a bit of perspective that way.Posted 4 years ago
There have always been several problems with the North Face Trail in Grizedale, and these do need to be addressed.
The trail was built a long time ago now, and to be honest after it was build, not much else happened. There wasn’t really the interest from the FC to do any sort of maintenance, and certainly no investment. The landscape of mountain biking was a bit different then, and it was kind of left alone by the locals who knew where the better trails were, and regarded as a bit of a tourist only trail.
This is sad, as it’s not really a blue where beginners can cut their teeth as a good introduction to mtb, but neither does it live up to high expectation from the fantastic BW network surrounding it, and so it has become a bit of a rough diamond in the forest, and has taken an even harder battering online, which even I sometime feel difficult to properly defend.
Traffic and weather have really taken their toll over time, and some of the more fundamental problems, too much fire road with not enough payoff, lack of flow, rutted corners and braking bumps, lethal boardwalks and high car parking fees at the visitors center, MUST be resolved if it is remain as a viable option for both visitors who want to maybe try riding mountain bikes for the first time, and for more seasoned riders looking for a quick adrenaline fix.
So, if this is the present what does it mean for the future ?
The black trail has been a big success. Remember, the FC had zero interesting in doing anything for years, so to have someone there now who is receptive to building new trails in the forest is a HUGE step forward.
Some boardwalk sections on the NFT have been upgraded with better slip protection from the elements, and rock steps have been put in to avoid the bogs. But some things have been done very badly. The new bridge across the river coming down from Moor Top is far too narrow to ride, so you actually have to stop and push through. It’s these things that can really alter to flow of a trail and start threads like this
There are plans to do more digging in the forest, hopefully to add another top section to the black, a proper blue graded route, and more importantly lots of repairs, and some new singletrck sections to the NFT, cutting out some of the fire road.
There is a big BUT here…
There will probably not be any sort of funding from the FC to carry out any of this work.
The black section was entirely built and funded by volunteers, and took about 1 year to complete. If we want to make the NFT trail a much better place to ride, then it will more than likely be up to us to pick up tools and get busy. The more people I can help to recruit, the better it will be and the quicker it will get done.
Digging and maintenance will probably start up again over winter. I will post again here when it all gets going.
When the black trail opened, there were a lot of people saying on here ” it’s boring “, or “there’s not enough rocks “. Well, if you want more rocks, bigger berms and more singletrack, then it may well be up to you to turn up on Sunday morning to help move rocks and dirt, to build the trails you want to ride.
There is a positive future for the NFT, but it may be up to you to help create it.
You are a fool for not buying a guide book though OP, look what you’re missing out on.
The guy I met walking down there in cleats, pushing a carbon hardtail 29 wasn’t having the best day. Poor bugger was trying his best to ride it, but was bouncing like a pinball off the rocks. 😆Posted 4 years agobullroarSubscriber
The TNF isn’t that good, the first section is ok as climbs go, the descent from Moor Top to the cafe is ok. The bit in between is fire road rubbish. I’m not even sure it that good for beginners, you kick off with a long and (for newbies) stoney climb which requires some technique. I know a few who have been put off by it.
However, if you put some time in to work out where the good bits of natural stuff are you can use bits of the TNF to advantage on your own loops.
Not sure if this was mentioned on the other thread but it is quite useful for plotting routes round the forest:Posted 4 years agomartinhutchSubscriber
I like the first section of TNF as an alternative way up towards Parkamoor and the last descent is fun if you’ve just come down the riverbed section and are looking for a way back to the VC.
As said above, it’s not that bad a trail, I’ve certainly ridden much worse. And it still has an important role to play in introducing people to MTB in a controlled way. If anything, future trail development could perhaps reflect this.
Why doesn’t the FC promote various BW loops around Grizedale taking in the best bits – is it a liability thing if someone smashes themselves up on an ‘endorsed’ trail?Posted 4 years agopeterfileMember
This thread makes me want to try the NFT to see what it’s actually like.
I wouldn’t bother, it’s shite 🙂
Come up to the Highlands, we’ve got loads of good stuff, you don’t even need to worry about doing “cheeky” runs, we’ve got decent access rules too. I’ll send you some gpx files with routes if you like 🙂
Also, if you decide to visit a trail centre in Scotland, you might want to drop down a grade just till you get a feel for it. A red in scotland seems to be a bit different from a red in the lakes. 😉Posted 4 years ago
I kinda like the North Face myself. Partly as it is so close and fits into my life (cheeky stop off on the way home for a quick ride), and given a bit of effort there is some flow to be found.
The only problems of late are the closed section of singletrack which is bypassed by a massive fireroad section and has been for months, and the narrow bridge already mentioned which pretty much wrecks the final descent.
That said it would be great to see a lot more development of trails within the forest, it seems to have so much potential for some really interesting trails possibly incorporating or adding to the “natural” (which I rarely get time to ride just now).
I wish I could spare the time on a Sunday morning to come and help out, perhaps by the winter things will be a bit more settled and I can manage it. With a baby and toddler though time is a very, very precious commodity. This time poor situation has pushed me more towards riding TNF/Whinlatter/Gisburn more than I would like since I tend to be working near most of them on a regular basis.Posted 4 years agoCammerMember
When I was just getting into Mountain biking a few years ago I was surprised to come across a section of the North Face getting built. My eyes lit up, and it was so cool to see purpose built tracks being built in the local forest. I knew little about such things as trail centres at the time, and you could say it helped push me further into the mtb world and got me hooked.
Back then as a noob rider I really enjoyed it, but as my horizons expanded to other trails I realised that TNF wasn’t really that good. The recent alterations haven’t really done it any favours either (those boulders and bridges urgh!)
It is unfortunate to read comments that say ‘Grizedale’ is rubbish when they actually mean TNF. It’s a shame that a forest like Grizedale with so many quality bridleways can’t utilise them to make a decent red route.
Also good to read your post trailofdestruction, it would be great if Grizedale can get a volunteer group sorted much like Gisburn down the road has done so successfully. I can understand money is tight within the Forestry commission but it would be good to see them putting the high parking charges to use on new or existing trails (and not more boulders!! I’m sure the recent ‘improvements’ haven’t been designed by mountain bikers)Posted 4 years agogrumMember
Come up to the Highlands, we’ve got loads of good stuff, you don’t even need to worry about doing “cheeky” runs, we’ve got decent access rules too. I’ll send you some gpx files with routes if you like
Are you trolling now? The riding in Grizedale is absolutely superb – some of the best I’ve done anywhere. The NFT is a good way of linking up the best stuff but that’s all really (as I imagine everyone said in the thread – there’s been dozens about Grizedale on here all saying the same thing too). Oh well – your loss. 🙂
I also enjoyed it as a noob – it was one of the first trails I did in horrible bitterly cold pissing rain on New Year’s Day years ago. Fell off several times on greasy boardwalk and hurt myself but I was hooked.
The last descent is fun at night/with lights btw – bit dull in the daytime but there’s many better options.Posted 4 years agopjm84Member
Not my favourite but I wouldn’t class it as 5hite. First time I did the trail it was a dark November evening after riding across from Windermere. I hit the woodwork in the dark and whoosh….. Brings an whole new meaning to word slippy. Also the little horse at the end gave me a bit of a scare in the dark. Just wasn’t expecting the little chap to be there munching away
I prefer Whinlatter when I’m up in the Lakes but will always ride Grizedale. Its good for a 60min blast on an XC bike.Posted 4 years agogrumMember
Also, if you decide to visit a trail centre in Scotland, you might want to drop down a grade just till you get a feel for it. A red in scotland seems to be a bit different from a red in the lakes.
Yeah don’t try Spooky Woods at Glentress – scary levels of gnar unless you’re a riding god.Posted 4 years agodirtbiker100Member
North Farce Trail. Went during a rainy period (insert joke here) and after riding natural trails for several days we did a mix of grizedale bridleways and NFT, the only puddles I came across all day were on the NFT and they were *everywhere*, the only good bit of NFT was some climb we did, the rest was a waste of time.
Sorry to give it a bashing, its just difficult not to with the surrounding forest, lacklustre trail centre and high parking fees.
Rode the black once and that was jolly good fun – good stuff.Posted 4 years ago
Ride up the first singletrack climb onto the fireroad, then continue straight past the second singletrack section on the left and the black is a little further on the right.
It is actually signposted now though.
Must have another crack at it soon, I got the fear last time (though it was under 2 foot of snow!)Posted 4 years agopeterfileMember
Yeah don’t try Spooky Woods at Glentress – scary levels of gnar unless you’re a riding god.
Ha! Funnily enough grum, that was another trail which I thought was a wee bit disappointing! I’ve only been to GT a couple of times and both times I rode spooky woods I felt that it was a little bit contrived. It had been hyped up to me though, and i’m not a fan of bmx track style stuff (I’m generally utterly crap at jumping).Posted 4 years agobullroarSubscriber
Is there a map showing where the black section is?
As above or, ride out the VC as though going to do the TNF at the start of that route continue straight on up the fireroad for a little way. You will come to the exit of The Black, there is ride/push up bridleway on the left (facing the black). You can finish off by doing the lower section of The Riverbed.Posted 4 years ago
Yep it’s certainly a crap trail!
This is kind of missing the point. I think it would be much fairer to say that it is quite badly out of shape, and out of date, and what it requires is a face lift to bring it back to what could be a fantastic man made trail, which can be linked up to the surrounding BW network.
We know it has faults, but merely using the internet as a sounding board to express your displeasure will not resolve the problems it is currently facing.
In order to remedy the problems we all know about and agree upon, we must start to use forums such as this, to form volunteer communities and action groups, to liase with the FC where possible, and take charge of the future, then go out and do something about it.
To make the NFT better, for you and everyone else, requires boots on ground to turn up and dig for victory.
Keyboards don’t build trails, shovels do.
Posted 4 years agoDaveyBoyWonderMember
They were starting to build this new bridge when I was last there at Easter. So a bridge thats not wide enough to get a bike across is being built on a bike trail? Which genius is responsible for that? I take it the current route around it into that little cutting will remain?
As for Dalby, I really like it there. Its a trail that rewards you giving it the beans all the way round – its not a plod up, rip down type trail centre such as Glentress etc because it just doesn’t have the elevation but the more it beds down and wears in, the better it gets IMHO. And the £7 to park thing… as mentioned, its a toll road. You pay to drive your car in – the parking and riding is free. Theres always been a toll at Dalby going back way before armour clad weekend warriors descended en mass every weekend to ride.Posted 4 years ago
Which genius is responsible for that?
Yes, I would like a word with them as well. Guess it was the FC, as it looks like it was done much more with H&S in mind, rather than MTB’ers keeping the trail flowing. 😡
Not the best thing that has happened, but this is exactly why I’m trying to get people together, to start raising these concerns, and forming a community that can have a dialogue with the people who make these decisions.
This is the very thing that has been absent in the past, and the thing that needs to change to stop stuff like this happening again in the future.
If you look at what has happened at Gisburn and Whinlatter, it has had a very dramatic effect on the trails there in a short space of time, with very positive outcomes. This is what now what needs to happen in Grizedale, for the NFT to stop getting such a bad reputation.Posted 4 years ago
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