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Blue grade trails in the South West of England for newbie?

PsychotextPsychotext Posts: 145
edited November 2012 in Routes
I've been taking my nephew out on the green grade trails for the last couple of months and I think it's probably about time to move up to the next level.

The problem is that whilst there's an embarrassment of riches of good red grade trails near me, there's virtually no good blues, so I'm looking to head out of Wales and into England. Ideally I'm trying to keep the drive under an hour, which pretty much puts me in range of Bristol, Bath and Gloucester. I don't mind going a touch further for somewhere truly special, but it's not ideal, especially at this time of year with the amount of usable daytime reducing rapidly.

I could try and persuade him to try a red, but for the sake of my nerves it couldn't be a technically challenging red. Distance shouldn't be too much of a problem as we managed to do 40+ miles on Sunday... but he's got absolutely no confidence with techy downhills / dropoffs and the like and I don't want to scare him off!

Anyway, any assistance is greatly appreciated. I'm doing my best searching the trail map / GPS sites and looking through magazines but I'm not having a great deal of luck.

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  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    South east is Surrey, Kent etc. Bit further than you want to travel I would think but we do have some decent sidetrack.
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  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    Bloody predictive text. Singletrack even.
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  • I never did eat shredded wheat... :S
  • scottfitzscottfitz Posts: 283
  • welshkevwelshkev Posts: 9,690
    forest of dean isn't your average blue trail though imo, i'd say it's not for noobbie noobs really.

    but ashton court is a good shout.
  • Maybe I'll start with the others and see how it goes. They look good though, thanks.

    Are they relatively easy to follow or should I dig out a GPX (etc) file from somewhere?
  • scottfitzscottfitz Posts: 283
    I have ridden all 3 and are all very easy to follow. there all very man made. Holdon is good for beginners it has a Green, Blue and a skills area all very good for kids.

    Is the FOD blue hard for beginners? I don't think and of the features are harder than AC are they?
  • Shouldn't be an issue I don't think. There are two fast descents in a green we have done at Brechfa (Derwen) which seemed well suited to much harder trails that he did ok with. A bit slow, but no screaming or broken bones. :D
  • scottfitzscottfitz Posts: 283
    the blue at brechfa is too ;)
  • My main concern with that one is that it didn't seem to hold up particularly well to wet weather. It hadn't rained for days last time I visited but there were still some pretty big puddles and muddy ruts.

    Absolutely fantastic in hotter weather though.
  • welshkevwelshkev Posts: 9,690
    scottfitz wrote:

    Is the FOD blue hard for beginners? I don't think and of the features are harder than AC are they?

    I'm not sure, when I was a noob I just rode Cwmcarn cos that's where I live. There's no really testing bits but there's quite a lot of climbing at FoD for a blue trail, in my experience anyway :-)
  • scottfitzscottfitz Posts: 283
    @welshkev i based it on this of the OP
    Distance shouldn't be too much of a problem as we managed to do 40+ miles on Sunday... but he's got absolutely no confidence with techy downhills / dropoffs and the like and I don't want to scare him off!

    Anyway all the blue's are good fun, all worth a go. :D
  • welshkevwelshkev Posts: 9,690
    scottfitz wrote:
    @welshkev i based it on this of the OP
    Distance shouldn't be too much of a problem as we managed to do 40+ miles on Sunday... but he's got absolutely no confidence with techy downhills / dropoffs and the like and I don't want to scare him off!

    Anyway all the blue's are good fun, all worth a go. :D

    well in that case he'll be fine, my mate took his wife around FoD last month and she rode it all. she keeps fit but it was her first time on a bike for ages. :D
  • We did the Forest of Dean yesterday...

    The first bit was HORRIBLE. I don't think I've ever done a more tedious start to a trail in my life. I think I'd have preferred an endless fireroad to those switchbacks which were dotted with people (stopped) getting in the way on the corners and pretty much everywhere there was a space (or no space) to stop. Talking of which, the trail was insanely busy. At one point I stopped for 5 minutes to tweak some things on my bike and was passed by somewhere in the order of 40+ people. Is it usually like that? I'm used to far quieter centres in Wales.

    Once I got to the first small descent though it all improved quite considerably and got much better after that. It's strange though, it's almost like the first third of the track was designed by a completely different person to the rest of it. The final descent was excellent, but unfortunately the sheer number of people on the trail spoiled it quite a bit. I had to slow down to a virtual stop for a number of people who were inching their way down it and it was very clear to me that I was slowing down a lot of people too once I'd lost momentum. My nephew got out of the way a bunch of times for faster riders but he still enjoyed himself (in the last two thirds). He came off in the first bit thanks to trying to avoid a mothers meeting near the top of one of the steeper descents but thankfully he only suffered a few minor cuts and scratches.

    Was going to eat when we got back to the centre but they were queuing out the door so we gave it a miss and did a quick run of the family trail... which was surprisingly enjoyable. Obviously nothing technical there but I could see it as a great place for families. Even saw a doe on the way back. :)

    So... a good day in all but I don't think I'd ever go there on a weekend again. I think maybe Ashton court next depending on the weather as I think Haldon is a bit out of my range.
  • welshkevwelshkev Posts: 9,690
    Yeah it's always busy. I tend to avoid it on the weekend. It's a bit of a victim of its own success :-)
  • ashton court will be fine in the wet, it used to turn in to a bog when it rained but its sorted now, bacon rolls are good to :D
  • I'll pretend that's one of the trail features. :D
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