Top 5 English Trail Centres – what are yours and why?

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  • Top 5 English Trail Centres – what are yours and why?
  • Premier Icon The Pinkster
    Subscriber

    Which English (sorry Wales, Scotland & NI) would you think rate in the top 5 trail centres in England at the moment and what makes them so good?

    I’ve ridden many in Wales & Scotland but seem to default to just a couple in England, usually Cannock & FoD.

    So which other ones should I head for?

    Premier Icon Yak
    Subscriber

    QECP is my local and in the dry is the business. Fast n’ rooty with just the right amount of features for me. Nowhere near as busy as Swinley either.

    Premier Icon jekkyl
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    at least 3 pages with several posts ending with ‘that’s why I don’t ride trail centres’ 😀 and others arguing that any discussion cannot exclude the ones in Wales.

    Ecky-Thump
    Member

    North Lakes
    South Lakes
    East Lakes
    West Lakes
    Calderdale

    Happy to oblige Jekkyl
    😉

    Premier Icon ahsat
    Subscriber

    Hamsterley is small but perfectly formed. I guess the biggest problem is it doesn’t really fill a whole day if your travelling to it specially, but the trails are close together and not dull. Used to be my local and miss it somewhat now.

    I used to go to Hamsterley almost weekly but it got a bit samey even with the unmarked trails. They have put some new stuff in recently but I still can’t bring myself to go back, especially since they have doubled the parking charge (I know, get a discovery pass etc etc).

    I went off trail centres a few years back. Jsut go to the Peak District, it’s bettererer.

    munrobiker
    Member

    In England there’s not really any genuinely good ones, with the possible exception of Whinlatter, we’re really deprived compared to Wales and especially Scotland.

    The English ones are fine, but tend not to be anywhere with gradient or have any actually technical or hard trails. Places like Cannock and Sherwood Pines are, to be honest, a bit crap.

    Premier Icon Yak
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    Surrey Hills must count too? Compact area full of trails, carpark, bikeshop and pie shop. Just missing signage.

    Premier Icon ahsat
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    I used to go to Hamsterley almost weekly but it got a bit samey even with the unmarked trails.

    Blimey – its good but anywhere would get dull if you went every week. I used to go in the winter when the moors were naff, or when I only had a half day riding on my own, or after work occasionally (was the wrong direction home!).

    jaylittle
    Member

    My top 5 in no particular order are……

    Dalby
    Gisburn
    Cannock Chase
    Sherwood Pines
    Grizedale

    Never visited any others so that was easy!

    Blimey – its good but anywhere would get dull if you went every week.

    True but once you’ve been to one English trail centre you’ve been to them all. Unless it’s Dalby. Dalby is cack.

    jet26
    Member

    Second dalby – good day out and a decent length ride.

    Premier Icon ahsat
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    Blurghh – hate Dalby! Its 40 mins from my parents house and we very rarely go. Its just such a trudge for half of it. And yes, I do ride a lot of natural stuff, so I know a trudge – but at least normally you get a view!

    wl
    Member

    Stainburn. Because it’s the one that feels least like a trail centre.

    munrobiker
    Member

    I forgot Stainburn. Stainburn is actually, genuinely very good. Just too short.

    Premier Icon Yak
    Subscriber

    Ok then. My top 5 are:

    QECP (local)
    Lee Quarry (fond memories of the old Brownbacks race series)
    Dalby (the length)
    Cannock
    Swinley (the last 2 have a similar feel imo)

    I don’t think I’ve been to any others in England.

    sofaboy73
    Member

    In England there’s not really any genuinely good ones, with the possible exception of Whinlatter Gisburn

    clearly a typo

    Premier Icon ahsat
    Subscriber

    I forgot Stainburn. Stainburn is actually, genuinely very good. Just too short.

    Now I have to admit I now live 15 mins from it and I’ve been (only lived here 6 months…). Ops!

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
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    Places like Cannock and Sherwood Pines are, to be honest, a bit crap restricted by their natural geography/geology/topography but are perfectly fine if you fancy a change or prefer that kind of riding.

    Premier Icon teethgrinder
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    Chopwell, innit.

    Two marked trails. One an obviously man made, armoured surface thing, the other totally natural-looking dust-fest in the dry, slop-fest in the wet.

    And loads of unofficial trails all over the place ranging from stupidly almost unrideable steep to fast, flowy fun.

    And free parking or 30 mins away on the bike.

    Premier Icon kayak23
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    Hopton is a nice blast.

    Only been to 5 in England so not too hard.

    1- Gisburn.
    2- Whinlatter.
    3- Lee Quary.
    4- Dalby.
    5- Stainburn.

    Dalby could easily jump further up if it was brought a bit more up to date.

    Premier Icon chakaping
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    Eastridge, including the enduro trails.

    Gisburn is decent enough with a few really fab sections.

    FoD if you count the DH trails.

    Whinlatter’s OK but a bit “blink and you’ll miss it”.

    Grizedale makes a handy launchpad for the local bridleways and cheeky trails.

    Hamsterley.
    Guisborough forest – if it still counts.
    Whinlatter.
    Dalby.
    Grizedale.

    Not necessarily in that order.

    My top 5 by default as I’ve not been to any others.

    Whinlatter – blue is as good as any
    Hamsterley – nice mixture of stuff
    Cannock – really good use of what’s available, also some nice pootly bway stuff
    Gisburn – bit weird and lacks flow in places but a good xc blast
    Grizedale – NF a bit crap but loads developing around the site (not even counting bways)

    ogden
    Member

    Dalby is the most boring place I’ve ridden a bike. It’s like they built it backwards and forgot to put anything fun in it.

    ads678
    Member

    1. Stainburn – at number one because it’s the best, just wish it could be longer.
    2. Grenoside – just good for a fun blast if you’re short one time, which I usually am.
    3. Gisburn – I like it.
    Hamsterley – Have only been a couple of times but it seems good. Mate does the DH there loads but i’m too scared….
    Only others i’ve been to in England are Dalby and Cannonck.
    Dalby has good bits but the red is not techy enough to be fun. The blue is better.
    Cannock – only been once and did follow the dog (before the ‘official’ monkey trail was built), was ok I suppose.

    Lakes and Peaks win hands down though!!

    Lucas
    Member

    I like Whinlatter, I like Cannock and think they’ve done a good job on the Monkey getting in the climbs and descents.

    Also enjoying Sherwood Pines red at the moment – its just the right length (10 miles) and level of technicality to make my 6 and 8 years old boys feel like they’ve done a proper ride and has the benefit that they can clean all the ‘climbs’ (some of which look pretty big when you’re 6 on 20inch wheels)

    IHN
    Member

    The Croft Trail (in the woods in front of Nationwide in Swindon 😉 )

    Premier Icon The Pinkster
    Subscriber

    I’m amused by how polarising Dalby seems to be compared with the others mentioned here.

    Might have to put that one on my list just to see which way I go on it.

    Premier Icon Yak
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    I think if Dalby wasn’t in the North York Moors, ie, somewhere without stunning natural riding, then folk wouldn’t be complaining about a long pedally red in the woods. Take it for what it is, throw in some of the black bits and the more techy bits from the national and world cup xc course and you should have a decent outing.

    whitestone
    Member

    We used to live in Rosedale and would only go to Dalby if the natural trails were waterlogged or slutch. The red’s an old skool ride, think along the lines of The North Face trail in Grizedale. Bikes have moved on but the trail hasn’t. From memory some of the black route used to be on the red before they added stuff to the red – it all changed from when we lived there (17 years ago) to when we went back a few years later.

    wl
    Member

    Dalby was fun 20+ years ago when bikes were shit and the trails were mainly made by wildlife.

    Premier Icon swhoward
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    I love a bit of Hopton me.

    munrobiker
    Member

    sofaboy73 wrote:

    In England there’s not really any genuinely good ones, with the possible exception of Gisburn

    clearly a typo
    [/quote]

    Gisburn isn’t really very good. Not bad if you live round there and everything else is soaked though, which is what trail centres are particularly great at.

    whitestone
    Member

    Gisburn’s our nearest TC – been twice in the last three(?) years.

    gwaelod
    Member

    “Yak – Member
    Surrey Hills must count too? Compact area full of trails, carpark, bikeshop and pie shop. Just missing signage”

    wait…what?…really?…rummages in loft to find dusty maps of strange lands East of the Severn…..

    ahwiles
    Member

    hang on, what’s that one near Exeter?

    worth a mention, the first blue loop is great fun.

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    .
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    Haldon, that’s it.

    Premier Icon Yak
    Subscriber

    There might be other foodstuffs in there too. For balance you could have a pie and a cheese straw. I think that would be all foodgroups covered 🙂

    Shop

    Premier Icon chakaping
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    Went up Gisburn weekend before last, the trailbuilders have been doing some sterling work and it makes a nice varied loop (or rather figure of eight).

    You do need to do a couple of laps and incorporate some of the DH bits and the Hope line to make it worth the long drive in though.

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