Red route — Swinley Forest MTB Trails
Mountain Biking Highlight
Katherine Moore planned a mountain bike ride.
January 14, 2021
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 starts from the Lower Star Post, a short ride from the trail centre, and takes in 8 miles (12.8 km) of singletrack and a little forest road.
You’re straight into it as you head out on the west leg of the trail, with a narrow boardwalk forming the first technical trail feature for you to navigate! Loop around to the north-west following the red fingerposts, swooping around wide, tall berms and pedalling up and down the track’s short undulations.
Things get a little more spicy as you head onto the second leg to the south-east. There are fire roads to start, with a descent and then a climb, with trails getting rootier and steeper. Red 15 is up next, one of my favourite parts of this route: a rough and thrilling descent with massive berms and a phenomenal sense of speed.
What goes down must go back up, so you’ll need to pedal or push up to the hilltop for the next singletrack descent. At the top, you’ll see the start of many trails off this hillside, so look for the red fingerpost again to find your way. Twisting, narrow and rooty, this singletrack in the pines is a real delight!
Before heading back towards the trailhead, you continue to twist around in this plantation, climbing and descending on an XC-like course before popping out onto the fire road. Climb up to the start of red 22, where you can enter the trail over a log on a narrow bridge, or choose the alternative line. This narrow singletrack was made even narrower in July thanks to the bracken!
After some more gradual climbing and fire road stints, you’ll conclude the loop with the well known ‘Tank Traps’ segment: red 32. There’s a little rock drop-off into a series of sweeping berms through a gully before you exit the trail onto the fire road where you can see the old stone tank traps that give the trail its name.
July 19, 2021
Hiking Collection by Kit P
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