Swinley, best 2quid I ever spent
Indeed, it’s exceptionally hard to build a mountain bike trail centre without any real hills…. they’ve done a cracking job. Whilst the politics are open to debate etc… Whilst the longevity of riding the same trails week in week out are also open to debate…. it’s still a bloody good bit of fun within their geographical constraints.Posted 4 years agotutgarethMember
I only managed time for the blue trail on Saturday, but was impressed at how good it was and they’ve kept and improved on the good parts of the original trails. will try the Red trail soon, must have missed all the walkers and joggers… deffinitley worth the £2 parking fee 😀Posted 4 years ago
I was there checking out the new trails on Saturday as well, and had an awesome time (rain and hail notwithstanding).
I’ve only ever found the good stuff there once before (last November when I was shown it by the STW collective!) so to have it all marked out makes for a much more satisfying ride. Well, I say marked out, some of the navigation on the red trail was still a little curious.Posted 4 years ago
Rode the blue/red for the first tie last week and agree, they’ve done a great job.
A couple of us took nippers over yesterday on balance bikes and hit the green run. It was fantastic for the little’uns, they had a ball. 3 laps and a run around the playground afterwards and my eldest ate 2 plates of dinner and was asleep about 30 seconds after going to bed.Posted 4 years agohatterSubscriber
Went there last week, did blue twice with a detour to do a few red sections and session deer stalker/labyrinth.
Don’t get to go that often so the changes are pretty dramatic since I was last there. Very impressed with the blue route, pretty easy for anyone to ride but great fun if you give it the beans. The whole place was riding beautifully in fairness, perfect conditions.
And paying for the carpark? No problem with that at all if it keep the trails there and a much better system then the old permits.Posted 4 years agospacemonkeyMember
Haven’t been for 3-4 years and was beginning to sense the changes were being deemed negative. Am now quite looking forward to venturing over there again.Posted 4 years ago
The bit that I was unsure about was between 4-5 on the red. Is the correct route a rather vague and (by the look of it) at times boggy narrow section on the RHS of the forest road. I rode about half of it and then decided that I was off-piste. Went back to the main FR, which was pretty poor and wet.
I think that part of the red loses the flow. The second section is much, much better IMO.Posted 4 years ago
The bit that I was unsure about was between 4-5 on the red. Is the correct route a rather vague and (by the look of it) at times boggy narrow section on the RHS of the forest road.
Was that section marked by red and white tape on the trees? If so I think that is the way, but it was a bit vague.
I got confused by a climb towards the end (I think between 25 and 26) that seemed to be the wrong way round, I was worried that someone was going to come hurtling out of the trees in front of me.Posted 4 years agothepuristSubscriber
Yep the Red 4-5 is a boggy mess at the top end – there seems to be a new-ish unmade trail winding through the trees at the start now which joins up with the original route that is/was closer to the fire road. I’ve been in hub deep puddles at the top end in the past so it’ll be interesting to see if that gets sorted out in the future.
That’s such an obvious miss that I’m wondering if it got cut from the work due to BoT having to re-visit some of the stuff that got ridden while it was still officially closed.Posted 4 years ago
Yep, I followed the red and white tape, but having just done 2 blue laps, it felt as if I was on an unofficial bit. Hence having got half way along, I turned back in the hope of finding the “correct route.” Ended up on the FR and actually deviating onto bits of seagull (I think) coming the other way 😳
The lack of flow with that middle bit may lead to people just cutting that bit out all together. I though the climb up to reservoir was a neat versions and the next bits (the decent after the reservoir) and the old fave’s around deerstalker etc were the highlights of the red. But as a whole ride, it links good sections without the (better) flow of the blue IMO.Posted 4 years ago
unfortunately only a small fraction of that parking fee goes to the trails, most goes to closing the hole in Bracknell councils budget.
That boggy mess red trail is a bit weird – reduces the all-weatherness of the trails.
Too much fireroad, my old loop was fun and had hardly any fire road on it but covered most of the trails, but then they weren’t so accessible as not marked.
Too many air ambulance visits and no enforcement of helmets, etc. I don’t regularly contribute to the air ambulance to see it p1ssed away on idiots who get concussion because of no helmet.
Signage is woefully inadequate, not keeping runners and walkers from the trails, which the bikers are confined to now (2% of forest).
This was reported on facebook:
“New one today. Blue section 3 a family had pushed two baby pushchairs to the top of the first climb. They were changing one if the babies nappies at the trail side with the buggies left on the trail, one with a baby in it. “
“how did the conversation go?”
“The usual. Why do you have to ride here, there’s the whole forest. I pointed out the berms. Oh.”Posted 4 years ago
I got confused by a climb towards the end (I think between 25 and 26) that seemed to be the wrong way round, I was worried that someone was going to come hurtling out of the trees in front of me.
Looking at the map and reading comments on the facebook group, either I’m very wrong with the post numbers, or I was very wrong riding that section the way I did. I hope it was the former, as when I came out the top there was a post all ready and waiting for me. I need a map with contour lines…Posted 4 years ago
spacemonkey – Member
Haven’t been for 3-4 years and was beginning to sense the changes were being deemed negative. Am now quite looking forward to venturing over there again.
There has been an awful lot of negativity about it since the start, just keep an open mind and go and give it a try. I did and was very pleasantly surprised.
I think it’ll probably be carnage through the summer, but then it was always stupidly busy during peak months and as far as I can tell this is an attempt to control that to some degree (one way trails eg). In the winter though I think it’ll really come into it’s own. Don’t get me wrong, I used to quite enjoy slogging through the mud for a couple of hours on a cold and wet Thursday night, but this will be so much better.Posted 4 years agowhistlingdoggMember
I’ve been cycling down there for a few years now and I must admit I am impressed. Work is still going on with the guys coming back soon for a few weeks work and there will be continuous improvements and new trails. Down side is that it does get busy and hence I now only go down there early morning or in the evening.
Red 4>5 is a bit pointless at the moment and so I just go down the fire trail to the the left (but that still has a couple of swimming pools in it). I start at seagull normally and so finish of the red loop 3>7 I think and these are probably the worst parts of the trails. They are devoid of anything interesting and seem like an afterthought just so they can get people round seagull and not back up it as it used to go both ways.
There is also a black run marked on the trail map at the start of seagull which is only black I think because there is no real trail there.Posted 4 years agoChrisISubscriber
New trails are running pretty sweet, but already showing signs of damage which is a shame. Agree about the red route bog, we got confused down there and have been riding Swinley for a few years, sure there are better cheeky trails to get down that part.
Anyone know the outcome of the Air Ambulance attending on Sunday around lunchtime? Think it was section 25-26 on the red route. Think a lass was hurt on a set of doubles. Hope she is ok. So much for the new route reducing casualties, never seen Air Ambulance out before yesterday.Posted 4 years ago
CG – jury is out for me, but it’s a few years since I had the time to ride anywhere week in week out! While it’s pretty big, Swinley was never really big enough for a decent day out anyway (IMO). I/we always rode it as it is convenient and good for a 2-3 hour blast. Generally we had a fairly set route and wouldn’t deviate from that too much anyway other than repeating a section for example.
For bigger, longer days I’d venture further afield. But if you need a quick fix it’s ideal and with year round armoured trails even more so IMO.Posted 4 years ago
cinnamon_girl – Member
Serious question – would people be happy riding those loops week in week out?
That’s where it becomes a choice… you could say the same about Afan, Llandegla etc… “would you be happy riding them when you could ride the other stuff around the area”
Well, it’s not quite that simple is it…
If Swinley allow people to ride all over, they are then hit with many many cases of “we’re suing you as we crashed into a tree…”
The trails at Swinley are designed and built in accordance with MTB regulations, the signs tell you the direction and the route. Therefore it’s deemed ‘safe’ within the eyes of the law. The signs that explain the risks also take this into account. Therefore if you crash at Swinley now with “i crashed …..” they say “the trail fullfills all legal requirements and is deemed safe, it was checked today at 10am by Ranger Dan and he’s happy it’s still within currently legislation. The signs informed you it could be dangerous…”
Therefore the oppertunity for people to sue the Crown Estate goes away.
Lastly, you say this like WE have any right or requirement to be on there at ALL !!! We’re only allowed on because the Crown Estate allow it… it’s their land… not ours !!!Posted 4 years ago
Does Llandegla, Cwmcarn, Afan etc enforce helmets ?
Llandegla certain says ALWAYS on its web site.
The air ambulance seems to be out to Swinley every day.
Wearing a helmet is a small price to pay to guard against easily preventable injuries.
There could be a serious crash on the motorway with life threatening injuries, and there is no air ambulance available as it is dealing with some numpty at Swinley.
And the air ambulance has no funding from the government now, it is all charitable donations.
I really don’t see why the air ambulance goes out there so often – I think they use some golf cart type thing to actually retrieve the rider, so it is not like the ambulance is landing within the forest.Posted 4 years ago
weeksy – Member
Lastly, you say this like WE have any right or requirement to be on there at ALL !!! We’re only allowed on because the Crown Estate allow it… it’s their land… not ours !!!
It great to be able to ride there, great to have an alternative when the rest of the area is boggy, great to have the option of a TC with berms etc.
Thanks to all involved.Posted 4 years ago
The signs informed you it could be dangerous…”
However the signs are pretty inadequate – the no-entry sign is pathetically small and I am not sure if there is anything that says no runners and no walkers.
So the new trails have been built to carry a lot more speed than the older trails, but there are extra hazards of walkers and runners. I reckon someone could spin an accident with a walker or runner into some form of incompetent signage by CE, and still sue them.Posted 4 years ago
The air ambulance seems to be out to Swinley every day.
I don’t think that’s changed with the new trails – there have always been lots of accidents at Swinley. I’d say a lot of that is down to it’s accessibility – you get a lot of folks riding there that you just wouldn’t see at the likes of Llandegla, Afan, etc.
Swinley’s accessibility is IMO part of it’s appeal. Sure for those MTB gods amongst us it might be frustrating getting held up by someone slow on a Halfords special, but it’s also nice to see so many people participating in the sport we all love.
If you want to go fast, go early!Posted 4 years ago
Anyone know the outcome of the Air Ambulance attending on Sunday around lunchtime? Think it was section 25-26 on the red route. Think a lass was hurt on a set of doubles. Hope she is ok. So much for the new route reducing casualties, never seen Air Ambulance out before yesterday.
Dislocated shoulder and as yet unknown damage to hip/pelvis is all I’ve heard so far
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