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Ashton Court, Leigh Woods and 50 Acre — MTB trails of West Bristol

Katherine Moore

Ashton Court, Leigh Woods and 50 Acre — MTB trails of West Bristol

Mountain Biking Collection by Katherine Moore



03:15 h

26.6 mi

1,825 ft

Just a stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, Bristol residents are incredibly lucky to have such fantastic, built mountain bike trails just a short pedal away. Across the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge there are no less than three areas of dedicated mountain bike trails, each with their own unique flavour: Ashton Court’s smooth and flowing Nova Trail lap, Leigh Woods’ rocky Yer Tiz trail, and the more natural, rooty and steeper circuit in 50 Acre Wood.

If you’re new to the area or relatively new to mountain biking, it’s worth checking out the blue-rated trail at Ashton Court first, Nova. This is the smoothest of the three options, and there’s also some tougher red-rated sections to progress on. For some tighter corners and rock features, the short, red Supernova Trail halfway around is a brilliant test.

The Leigh Woods loop is a little harder, with a less-groomed trail surface, although few technical features. The most challenging is 50 Acre Wood, as the trail features many more tricky roots and steep inclines, which are especially testing in the wet!

To ride these trails, ideally you’ll need a mountain bike, although keen gravel riders will certainly be able to ride Ashton Court and perhaps Leigh Woods with drop bars or a sturdy hybrid. Shorter travel bikes are best as the trails are pretty pedally and not too steep, either. If you don’t have a mountain bike, you can hire these from Pedal Progression in Ashton Court (the same people that maintain the trails with help from local volunteers) on an hourly basis. This means trying out mountain biking has never been easier.

The trails are popular with families and beginner riders, so if you want to really blast around then it’s best to avoid busier times such as weekends. So close to the city, the network of trails to the West of Bristol are brilliant for a pre- or post-work blast in the lighter months, or even a lunchtime power hour!

Thanks to the efforts of many volunteers and Pedal Progression, these built trails are great to ride year-round. Thanks to the type of construction, you’re much less likely to get totally filthy compared to a lot of natural riding, which is not only easier to clean up after but kinder on your bike too! Why not try a night ride around Ashton Court in the winter months for some spooky fun?

The best way to access the trails is to ride up from the city, and there are a few ways to do this. In these Tours, I’ve detailed how you can reach them from either Clifton via the suspension bridge or from South Bristol through Ashton Court. There is limited pay and display parking at Ashton Court and Leigh Woods, but these can often get very busy with riders, walkers and runners all flocking to these green areas outside the city. The closest train station is Clifton Down station.

On The Map


Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    10.4 mi
    8.3 mph
    650 ft
    650 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Advanced riding skills necessary. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    The blue-rated Nova Trail at Ashton Court is an absolute classic, and a place where many people from Bristol city and beyond have dipped their toes into the world of mountain biking or progressed in the sport.


    Taking in a lap of the woodland on purpose built MTB trail, the main part of Nova is blue-rated

    by Katherine Moore

  • Easy
    8.86 mi
    8.9 mph
    675 ft
    675 ft
    Easy mountain bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Based across the main road from the popular Ashton Court trails, Leigh Woods National Nature Reserve is another great place to visit on a mountain bike.You’ll find a fully waymarked mountain bike trail here, brilliantly named Yer Tiz (here it is in Bristol slang), as well as countless walking trails

    by Katherine Moore

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  • Intermediate
    7.37 mi
    7.3 mph
    500 ft
    500 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    The most challenging of the three trails to the west of Bristol, the 50 Acre Wood trail was totally volunteer built by the Bristol Trails Group. Compared to the trails of Ashton Court and Leigh Woods, this trail feels much more natural, with more roots and rocks to navigate, as well as mud if it’s been

    by Katherine Moore


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Questions and Comments


Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    26.6 mi
  • Duration
    03:15 h
  • Elevation
    1,825 ft

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Ashton Court, Leigh Woods and 50 Acre — MTB trails of West Bristol

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