Any Central/South London MTB riders - where do you go?

RC21 Posts: 166
edited April 2008 in Routes
Any Central/South London MTB riders? Where do you go that's easy to get too, to do some decent riding? Anywhere you can go on a train or ride too?

Thanks for any help/advice


  • RC21
    RC21 Posts: 166
    Anyone in London go MTB'ing?
  • xcracer
    xcracer Posts: 298
    The North (of) London hotspots are Epping Forest (a bit boggy at the moment) and Broxbourne Woods. You can ride to Epping from central London. It will take you about an hour or get a train to Chingford. You would need to get the train to Broxbourne or Bayford for Broxbourne Woods. OS Explorer 174 covers both Broxbourne and Epping.

    I'm not sure what South Londoners do. North Downs?
  • gregsd
    gregsd Posts: 328
    I think a lot of south London riders head for the North Downs/Surrey Hills area. You can get there on the train via Guildford or Dorking. There's a bike shop near Dorking called Nirvana Cycles, who do guided rides and sell maps of the area. The other option is Swinley Forest near Bracknell, which I think you could get too using the train. Failing that you could ride around Richmond Park!
  • fenella
    fenella Posts: 37
    theres a few places (only a few, mind). Epping Forest, as mentioned, is good for a blast - hardtail xc territory & you can easily link 4 or 5 hours of singletrack up - the fireroads are pretty dull, and its all pretty flat. i'd imagine its one big bog at the moment though.
    the north downs (look up peaslake) is way more fun and challenging imo, with lots of hills, interesting descents & miles of singletrack on varried terrain (if you can find it). also drains well. and fun on both a ht or fs.
    could also try swinley forest (bracknell), which is also quite fun. has lots of built singletrack trails which are much easier to find, and again its a bit more hilly.
  • fatlad
    fatlad Posts: 105
    Definately try Nirvana cycles, they do a laminated map of Holmbury hill for a few quid. Its marked out with some great little bits of singletrack that you wouldnt find otherwise, a great introduction to the area.
    If you dont ride in the rain, you dont ride
  • Tall Jon
    Tall Jon Posts: 168
    North Downs. Get a train from Clapham Junction or Balham down to Dorking and then head for the hills - Pitch hill, Leith Hill, Holmbury Hill. You can work out routes that get you there using fireroads and bridleways and then there's loads of singletrack everywhere. Google Redland trails for some route info about proper, groomed singletrack and search bikely for routes if you want ideas for some big xc circuits.

    Another option is the south downs way if you want to do some long xc
  • RC21
    RC21 Posts: 166
    Thanks for the info guys, I'll definitely be heading to Nirvana Cycles and the North/South Downs - I was going to last weekend but the weather ruined that idea. I won't be able to get down next weekend but maybe the weekend after. . . I'll let you know how i get on :)

    Thanks again for your help and advice.
  • xcracer
    xcracer Posts: 298
    I've been inspired...I'm heading down to Dorking tomorrow. I hear that they've actually got hills down! Can't wait...hope it's not too muddy!
  • RC21
    RC21 Posts: 166
    Let us know what it's like :)
  • xcracer
    xcracer Posts: 298
    Well RC21, I must say that I've had a thoroughly excellent day! Here is my report...

    I got the train from Waterloo at about 10.50 (yes I know I was a bit late getting up!). The fare was £8.60 return. I couldn't use my Network Card which was a bit annoying - so SW Trains will be getting a stiff email later on! Taking your bike on the train is a doddle. SW Trains have special spaces for bikes unlike some services where you have wedge your pride and joy in the vestibules!

    It took about 50 mins to get to Dorking and then I headed out along the Guildford Road (A25) in a westerly direction. BTW there are two bike shops (Head for the Hills & Bikehut) that I saw in Dorking if you need any bits on the way. I also went past NIrvana Cycles which I think was mentioned previously.

    Not long after passing Nirvana, I headed off the road onto a bridleway and up into the hills and woods. I didn't bother stopping for a map at Nirvana as I already had an OS map (Explorer 146) that I bought yesterday. After a couple of miles I went off to find lunch as it was getting near that time.

    I went to the Stephan Langton pub ( for lunch and it was great - if a little pricey! I can recommend the pork pie. All their food is homemade (hence the price) - even down to the bread and butter!

    After that I headed on up to Leith Hill - which is the highest point in the south of England I believe. I got off the bridleways and onto some ST. It was a bit muddy in places but not enough to spoil the ride. Some of the riding is quite technical - even on the bridleways. The views from Leith Hill are stunning BTW.

    On the way back I went via the 'Summer Lightening' trail ( It was fun but quite short. I think they have made some other trails but they don't seem to signed. I think I may have gone on them inadvertently anyway??? I then headed back down the main byway and turned off and found some more nice bridleway (one section even had a couple of drop-offs).

    I then headed for home - cycling past the Houses of Parliament, Downing St and Trafalgar Sq on my way.

    I got home about 6pm with just enough time to clean the bike before ot gets dark.

    All in all an excellent day and I will definitely be going back.
  • epicEm
    epicEm Posts: 45
    Epping is a bit boggy at the moment - or so I hear, but its great.
    When I lived in Enfield I rode there every weekend. Well, it was only a 20 min ride from my house!

    Try hooking up with these guys for the best singletrack riding. Its difficult to string it all togther without a guide.

    Have fun. 8)
    NEILHEAD Posts: 435
    we ride out from Strood in medway. You are very welcome to join us on any given sunday morning there is a fast train to rochester with a quick ten minute ride to some really nice woodland. If you Fancy it just let me know on the ride section under medway :D
    Never trust a man with facial hair.
  • marcliam
    marcliam Posts: 3
    Leith Hill is the first of three hills in a line, if you've got the energy you can bike up to Holmbury Hill which homes a few bits of excellent singletrack hidden away (some names are Telegraph Road, I should Coco and the Yoghurt Pots. There is a a section known as Barry Knows Best which runs down the other side of Holmbury Hill and drops you down into Peaslake Village (ideal for a quick snack stop).

    From here you can climb up Pitch Hill and there some great singletrack know as T1-T5 which drops you back down to Peaslake again.

    There is also WInterfold Woods which i'm told has some good singletrack, but to be honest depite living close by i've not explored this bit.

    This guy has some videos of three of the trails mentioned.

    Four points though:

    1. Many of the trails are pretty muddy at the moment so if you are travelling down probably worth waiting for drier weather.
    2. The area is very popular with MTB'ers, ramblers and hore-riders and so gets very busy.
    3. Holmbury Hill, Pitch Hill and Winterfold Woods are actually private land which has been dedicated for public use by the land-owners. Over the last year or so some problems have been building between the various users (particularly MTB'ers) which has lead to talk of the land-owners revoking this permission for MTB's and horse-riders. Fortunately, a number of bikers are now working together with the land-owners/other users to try to manage this better, but please be wary of and courteous to other users.
    4. Routes are deliberately not sign-posted to enable people to explore and find for themselves.
  • Heading out from (I think I remember) Charing Cross and you'll get to Hayes Station (Kent). Takes about 25mins?, been awhile since I've done it though.

    Come out of the station and keep going up the gentle incline (less than 5mins) and you'll find Hayes Common (a large area of open common land / woods).

    This also leads out to loads of surrounding areas, Keston, Coney Hall, Addington and further afield.

    These tend to be wooded areas with well drained paths (there are even bridleways if you insist!? :D but the "hoof prints" aren't great). Check an A2Z and you'll see it all goes green!.
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