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Endless berms and sandy singletrack — Swinley Forest MTB trails

Ben Thompson 🏔

Endless berms and sandy singletrack — Swinley Forest MTB trails

Mountain Biking Collection by Katherine Moore

5

Tours

04:43 h

35.4 mi

1,500 ft

A fantastic facility for riders in the South East and beyond, Swinley Forest is an expansive network of pines intersected with wide and fast gravel roads and fabulous handbuilt, graded mountain biking trails for all abilities.

Swinley Forest offers all you could wish for in a trail centre: marked trails including beginner green, intermediate blue and advanced red options, plus a bike shop, workshop and hire centre at Swinley Bike Hub. There’s also a great cafe at The Lookout Discovery Centre offering drinks, snacks and lunches. Toilet and bike washing facilities are available as well.

Swinley Bike Hub also offers coaching sessions, which are a great idea for riders of all abilities, whether that’s beginners looking to nail the basics or experienced riders looking to take their riding to the next level. Here, riders can make use of The Summit, an amazing skills development park which you can see from one of the main fire roads.

In this Collection, you’ll find routes for all the signposted mountain biking trails in Swinley Forest, including the green, blue, red trails, a route to get to the black-rated downhill runs, and a route that combines the blue and red for a mega loop. Although these are mostly waymarked with coloured fingerposts, having the .gpx file synced onto your cycle computer or on your phone app is a great idea as the routes are very wiggly, crossing or using many fire roads, and can get a little confusing at times! You might also find, like I did in the summer, that it can be a bit tricky to see some of the signs due to the high bracken.

Expect a multitude of berms, rooty singletrack, swooping corners and smaller trail features on your visit to Swinley Forest. The trails are all sculpted by hand and really well surfaced, made from material quarried on site, although it’s a good idea to wear waterproof socks when it’s been wet to stop your toes getting too soggy from the puddles!

I think that the best bike for Swinley Forest would be a longer travel XC full sus, but don’t let that put you off: it’s great on hardtails, trail bikes and even some rigids and gravel bikes depending on what trail you choose! There’s a fair bit of pedalling though, so bear that in mind.

If you’re travelling to Swinley Forest by car, you’ll be pleased to hear that there’s plentiful car parking and a day ticket is £6. By train, the closest station is Martins Heron, an easy 2 mile (3.2 km) ride from the trail centre.

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Green route — Swinley Forest MTB Trails

    Intermediate
    00:06
    0.78 mi
    7.7 mph
    0 ft
    0 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    Swinley Forest's green-rated mountain bike trail offers just over a kilometre of easy singletrack. This is perfect for children and adults alike, and gives a very gentle introduction to mountain biking, with no trail features but some steady climbs and descents so you can familiarise yourself with the

    by Katherine Moore

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  • Intermediate
    00:42
    5.53 mi
    7.8 mph
    175 ft
    175 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    A combination of flowing singletrack, short climbs, rooty trails and endless berms with a few extra features thrown in, the blue-rated trail at Swinley Forest is an excellent choice for beginner and novice mountain bikers.

    

    Ease into the trail from the trailhead to the right of the Swinley Bike Hub. It

    by Katherine Moore

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  • Difficult
    01:03
    7.94 mi
    7.5 mph
    350 ft
    350 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.

    If you’re ready to level up to the red-rated MTB trail at Swinley Forest, then you’re really in for a treat! Built for intermediate to advanced-level riders, you’ll find more challenging trail features on this route, steeper climbs and descents, faster berms and many more roots than the blue. The trail

    by Katherine Moore

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  • Difficult
    01:04
    7.61 mi
    7.1 mph
    475 ft
    475 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.

    If you ride the red route at Swinley Forest, you’ll notice that at the furthest south-easterly point there’s a hilltop with many different runs going off it. These include the official red route but also some more challenging black-rated trails. They offer an awesome challenge for experienced, advanced

    by Katherine Moore

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  • Difficult
    01:47
    13.6 mi
    7.6 mph
    525 ft
    525 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.

    If you really want to make the most of your visit to Swinley, you can combine both the blue and red mountain biking trails into a mega 13.5 mile (21.8 km) loop.

    

    Starting from the Lookout trail centre, you take the first half of the blue trail to warm up, with some more gentle climbs and flatter berms

    by Katherine Moore

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    5
  • Distance
    35.4 mi
  • Duration
    04:43 h
  • Elevation
    1,500 ft

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