- Riding in kent
The time has finally come to leave London; which I’m hoping means much more riding. Whilst I’d kind of hoped to go North, my girlfriend is adamant it has to be kent (family reasons etc). I don’t know Kent at all so where would be best to live with the best riding on the doorstep?Posted 4 years agostayhighMember
Kent has loads of really good riding options being crisscrossed by the North Downs, acres of nstural woodland and lots of hills. Have a look here for some ideas of what’s about http://www.sketchymtb.co.uk/Blah.pl?b-review_venue/ but there is a lot around Maidstone, Medway, Canterbury, Ashford, Sevenoaks & Bedgebury Forest trail centre too.
You could also hsve a look on strava in the explore section to see where people have been riding.
Where abouts in kent would you be thinking of and what kind of riding?Posted 4 years agokamenevMember
I’m with stayhigh Sketchy is the best place to start and they post up regular rides. Its a good a idea to join a ride as you will then see how the different bits link up as it isn’t always obvious looking at a map. Bluebell Hill for example links up with some very good single track in urban woods on the edges of Medway which you wouldn’t think to look at from a map.Posted 4 years agoSprocketJockeyMember
I lived in Kent for 10 years before moving to Devon a couple of years ago.
<waves at Stayhigh>
It’s not known as a riding mecca but I think it’s seriously underrated as an area for riding – as above there is heaps of really nice wooded singletrack if you’ve a mind to look and are good with an OS map. Bits of it are also surprisingly hilly. Some of it is as good as the much better known Surrey Hills but with none of the crowds you get there. I’d frequently ride for several hours without seeing anyone apart from a few horse riders and dog walkers.
I lived in West Malling between Maidstone and Sevenoaks and could do several loops from the door – up to the North Downs Way and either Holly Hill or Blue Bell Hill / Detling in one direction or out towards Mereworth Woods, Plaxtol and the Greensand ridge in the other direction where there is also a good concentration of trails (including a couple of surprisingly good downhills around Ightam Mote and Oldbury Hill).
It’s also on a mainline into London (St Pancras or Victoria) which is also handy for accessing some of the other trails further along the North Downs and down towards Canterbury way. For us it was a great compromise between being relatively affordable, having access to the countryside and coast and still being able to work in London.
This book is a bit old but is a useful pointer if you can get hold of it – in fact I have a copy of it which I no longer require which I’d be happy to post to you: http://www.aboveandbeyond.co.uk/.ernest-press-mountain-bike-guide-kent_9780948153341.htm.
One thing you do need to be aware of is that bits can get very muddy in the Winter. I always found the trails around the Greensand to be better in those sorts of conditions as it’s sandstone which drains a bit quicker than the prevalent chalk. There’s also Bedgebury for a trail centre fix.Posted 4 years agoNobbySubscriber
Penty of riding from Sevenoaks in just about every direction. All of these
Mereworth Woods, Plaxtol and the Greensand ridge in the other direction where there is also a good concentration of trails (including a couple of surprisingly good downhills around Ightam Mote and Oldbury Hill).
, the North Downs, Pilgrims Way & beyond.Posted 4 years agoSprocketJockeyMember
We lived in Seal just outside Sevenoaks for a bit. Nice area but it’s a bit up itself and whilst the surroundings are very nice, we found the town itself to be a bit soulless. Very expensive to buy – hence why we moved a bit further out. Good commuting location though (30 mins to Charing Cross) and a good base for riding. Parts of Tunbridge Wells are lovely but the traffic can be a complete ‘mare.
Maidstone and Tonbridge both have good areas and have good facilities but like anywhere you need to choose your area carefully. If you want rural, some of the villages along the North Downs Way and around Canterbury, Ashford and beyond are very pretty and are just about commutable as are a few places along the coast.
It’s a big county and very varied – good luck in your search.Posted 4 years agowinston_dogMember
I live in Five Oak Green, about 2′ from Paddock Wood which is 45mins by train to London Bridge. There is a little cheeky 10 min bike route that keeps you off the busy roads and avoids paying £5.50 to park. When I was working in London that was the way I did it.
Its a lot cheaper than Sevenoaks, you pay a premium for the 15min shorter journey.
Don’t like Paddock Wood too much but our village is fine. Not too up itself but quiet, could do with a decent pub though. There are a couple of good traditional pubs within 2 miles.
There is no MTB riding on my doorstep,as far as I am aware it’s all footpaths. Some decent road riding but I pick and choose routes as some of the roads are just too busy, even the B roads.
Generally speaking, West Kent is a bit more expensive than East.Posted 4 years agodantsw13Member
Chris – we had a similar dilemma, and ended up dropping over the border to East Sussex. Have a look at the train line to Hastings, which goes through Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and Sevenoaks. We are in Robertsbridge (lovely village, train station, 4 pubs, plenty of riding) and it’s 1hr 10 to London Bridge.Posted 4 years agotreaclespongeMember
Get yourself onto Sketchymtb.co.uk loads of people based in the Sevenoaks/West Malling area for riding. Relatively regular Oldbury and Mereworth rides as well as some further afield in Bluebell Hill/Lordswood direction. Im in Swanley and tend to ride Oldbury for natural stuff or make the journey to Bedgebury for ‘trail centre’ style riding. South Downs isnt a million miles away either and makes for a nice day out.
OT – Where in Five Oak Green are you Winston_dog? The OH’s mum lives there and Ive often wondered about the MTB’ing around the fields and Scripps Farmland.Posted 4 years agowinston_dogMember
Scripps farmland is covered in footpaths.
I often walk the dogs around there. I have never seen anyone biking on them. They would be good fun on a cross bike I reckon.
I get the impression that bikers would not be warmly welcomed by walkers or by Scripps.
Scripps only seem to just tolerate the walkers on the ROWs, I get the impression from signage etc. that if they could close them they would.Posted 4 years agorollindoughnutMember
There is some very nice woodland singletrack in the Sevenoaks area. I could take you on a 4hr ride that’s never more than 5 miles from Sev and treat you to 20-30+ different singletrack trails. Some even have rocky bits!
It took a couple of years to find them all but they are there for the taking. Sevenoaks is actually extremely blessed compared to the rest of Kent as it has the Greensand ridge which provides well drained and interesting slopes. It also has large areas of common land where a few trail fairies tend to lurk 😉
If/when the time comes I would be happy to give you a tour.Posted 4 years agoCaptainSlowMember
You don’t say where in Kent but if you venture further south and East along the high speed link, houses get cheaper and there’s some great riding around Folkestone/Ashford/canterbury area, lots of woodland and the bottom end of the North Downs.Posted 4 years ago
There’s lots of other organised rides with shops n clubs n wot not too.torihadaMember
freeagent – Member
I’m in Farnborough Village, which is just outside Bromley. Loads of good riding round here and further out toward Sevenoaks.
I know a couple of mtbers in & around Farnborough village; we all met through Big Foot.
There’s some great riding on the North Downs; until I got into mountain biking I dismissed all geography south of the Pennines as being flat’n’boring.Posted 4 years ago
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