Bristol Trails Group

Creating Quality Trails

A number of people have been building and maintaining trails around Bristol , but apart from the building of the Forest of Avon Timberland Trail this has only taken place on a very loosely organised basis. Our aim is to secure the cooperation of the authorities and supply interested people with tools and materials so that they can carry out lasting repairs to the trails around Bristol . Hopefully in the long term we will start to see a network of durable well-maintained trails within riding distance of the city centre. In the meantime we hope that we can at least make using the trails more enjoyable by tackling some of the poorly maintained bits that blight your local rides. acting career start up

What’s next for mountain biking in Bristol?

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Mountain biking in Bristol seems to have a bright future ahead! With its diverse terrain and enthusiastic community, there are likely ongoing efforts to expand trail networks, improve existing trails, and foster a supportive mountain biking culture. This might involve collaborations between local government, biking organizations, and enthusiasts to create sustainable trails, promote safety, and encourage participation among riders of all skill levels. Additionally, there may be initiatives to host events, competitions, or festivals that showcase Bristol's mountain biking scene and attract riders from around the region or even internationally. Keeping an eye on local biking groups, forums, and social media channels could provide insights into the latest developments and upcoming projects in the Bristol mountain biking community.

lssues with the trails

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At the time of writing Bristol has one official mountain bike trail, the Forest of Avon Timberland Trail. There are also several places such as Leigh Woods, Still Woods and the Ashton Court Plantation where mountain bikers are currently permitted to ride on established trails or bridleways.                                                                                             At the moment we are concentrating on fixing up the Timberland Trail but we don't see why we shouldn't lavish attention on other trails as well.                                            We are currently repairing problem sections of the Timberland Trail in order to make the Ashton Court section rideable as a complete loop by mountain bikers of all abilities. The official direction isn't going to be reversed as the poll on this only got a small response, and redoing all the signs for the trail would be expensive.                The Forestry Commission have indicated that they want to surface the section of the trail in 50 Acre Wood. This section will also be rerouted to make it easier to maintain and more fun to ride. The Forestry Commission will be putting in a new track running along the bottom of the wood. This will serve as a temporary diversion while the trail is being redeveloped and can act as an easier route when the trail is finished. The trail in 50 Acre Wood will be more difficult than the Ashton Court section, hopefully in a different way to how it is presently! The Path Of An Actor

local trails

Nova (Ashton Court)

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Mountain bikers have been using Ashton Court since the early 1990s, and it was one of the first places in the country to get an official MTB trail back in 2002. In 2011 the trail received a full overhaul as part of the 1SW Project. The new trail is far more weather-resistant than the old trails and is aimed at riders of all abilities. Beginners can get the basics dialled and more experienced riders can use the trail’s undulating surface to gain speed. There’s an optional red descent in the middle of the trail, featuring a pumpy jumpy beginning and a rock-strewn lower section that wouldn’t be out of place on a DH track (see the video below). There are also a few optional lines dotted round the trail, to keep things fresh even after repeated visits.

Yer Tiz (Leigh Woods)

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Shorter but more feature-packed than the trail in Ashton Court, Yer Tiz follows the route of the unofficial trails that used to criss-cross the top of the wood. The trail includes a short skills area, with different types of obstacle grouped in increasingly difficult sets of three. There are also some short optional red sections including switchbacks and “rock shore” (Imagine a North Shore ladder bridge made of rocks).                                                                                                                          Part of the trail is two-way so you can session the start or finish of the circuit. Riding the whole loop brings you back out at North Road.

Ashton Hill Plantation

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A short spin up the road from Ashton Court and 50 Acre Wood, Ashton Hill Plantation (or Belmont to the locals) is a Forestry Commission woodland which contains a few informal XC trails and an area set aside for downhill riding. The woods are also heavily used by equestrians and walkers, which has led to some previous concerns over use by mountain bikes, so be polite to other users and expect the unexpected.                                                                                                                        The main XC trail starts from the middle of the wood (accessed via the fire road along the top) and runs West, crossing three steep-sided valleys. None of the trails are surfaced and there are plenty of rocks, roots and awkward off-camber sections to keep things interesting.                                                                                                The downhill area is on the right hand side of the fire road, as viewed from the car park, and contains a number of short tracks with some larger jumps, drops, rock gardens and a 15-foot road gap. Most features are now rollable, but not all, so walk a track before attempting it.

BMX and Pump Tracks

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You don’t need a full-on mountain bike trail to go riding.                                            There are lots of smaller BMX tracks and pump tracks dotted around Bristol. These are ideal for a quick blast, and can also help you learn new skills like pumping (gaining speed from the trail without pedalling) and getting airborne. The tracks range from pocket-sized loops, like Brunel Way and Hillfields, to full-on mini 4X courses like Stockwood. Click on each pin on the map for more details.                                                                                                                                                        There are also tracks at Odd Down in Bath, and Castle Batch and Jubilee Park in Weston-Super-Mare.

Route guide

Bourton and Beyond

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A 20-mile loop round some of the better natural riding south of Bristol, taking in man-made trails, some forest singletrack, and some fast rocky bridleways. From Bristol you head out through Ashton Court, take in some woodsy (unofficial) singletrack in Wraxall Piece and Ashton Hill Plantation, and head over to Bourton Combe, before looping bak towards Bristol.

Leigh Woods link

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It’s possible to ride to and from 50 Acre Wood and Leigh Woods via Snake’s Well Wood, behind Abbots Pool. Please be aware that the off-road section uses permissive trails which are also heavily used by horses.

Traffic-free route to the trails

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Ride from Temple Meads station (or the city centre) to the start of the Nova trail in Ashton Court, via the newly-created Festival Way cycle path. Great for anyone who wants to take the young ‘uns riding, or just fancies a chilled-out way to the trailhead.

The Thursday night CX loop

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This 25-mile loop features quite a bit of bike path and road, and the off-road stuff isn’t that technical, so it’s ideal for a CX bike, or a racey mountain bike.            Starting with the Pill Path and the Gordano Valley, the first bit of proper off-road comes with a descent from Cadbury Camp Lane to Tickenham. Then there’s a bit of road hacking over to Brockley Combe, a sudden technical climb that’s nigh-on uncleanable, and a fun descent through Bourton Combe. At this point you can either spin back along the road via Long Ashton, or climb up and finish with a bit of the Ashton Court trails.