A guide to mountain biking in Swinley Forest
Just an hour outside of London, you’ll find Swinley Forest trail centre in Bracknell, Surrey. One of the best trail centres in the south of England, Swinley Forest offers fast, flowing trails that are ideal in all weathers.
If you’re an enthusiastic cyclist who also has a passion for nature then you’ll love mountain biking in Swinley Forest. The forest is designated as a Special Protection Area and is home to a number of rare European ground nesting birds, with each of the man-made trails navigating their way through the contours of the forest without disturbing the Woodlark, Nightjar, Dartford Warbler and more.
With more than 20km of all-weather mountain bike trails in Swinley Forest you have the opportunity to try everything from novice trails through to advanced downhill blasts for more experienced riders. Swinley Forest is a great location for beginners, families and competitive riders with green, blue and red routes to get the adrenaline pumping.
Before You Arrive
If it’s your first time mountain biking in Swinley Forest then it’s important to make sure you have everything you need to tackle the trails safely. The same is true if you’re an experienced, competitive rider – you should never get complacent – so here are our recommendations for what to take with you to get the most out of your time in the forest.
- Safety Equipment – this should never be under-estimated. The terrain can change dramatically across the seasons, even overnight in some cases, so be sure to take everything with you. This includes helmet, gloves, knee and elbow pads; and in some cases, more advanced riders would benefit from a full-face helmet which can provide extra protection against high-speed crashes.
- Puncture Repair Kit – having your session curtailed by a puncture is the last thing anyone would want, so kit yourself out with what you need to patch your tyre up so you can get back to the trail centre.
- Waterproof Clothing – the weather in the UK can be horrendous at times so be sure to pack your waterproof coat and trousers. Being cold and wet can really spoil the fun!
- Mobile Phone – you don’t need your phone to stay on top of what’s happening on social media, but to get you out of trouble in the case of emergency. In the forest, you might not have much signal at times, but you’ll be able to call for help if you or another rider is seriously hurt.
- GPS Tracker / Map – whether mounted on your handlebars or tucked inside your rucksack, a GPS tracker or up-to-date ordnance survey map can help you to pinpoint your location if you manage to get lost on one of the trails.
- Nutrition – when you’re battling your way through the forest you can use calories quickly meaning it’s vital to keep your energy up. Pack plenty of high-energy foods including cereal bars and water to keep you going.
- Protection & Medication – if you’re taking any medication be sure to take it with you while on your ride. Similarly, the weather can (occasionally) be nice here in the UK, so be sure to pack your sunglasses and sun cream.
Mountain Bike Trails in Swinley Forest
Beginner Mountain Bike Trails in Swinley Forest
Name: The Green Trail
Distance: 1.2km (1 mile)
Terrain: With only a few shallow climbs and descents, the Green Trail is the ideal place to get to grips with Swinley Forest. Perfect for beginners and families it offers short sections where you can accelerate across the occasionally loose and muddy ground.
Advanced Mountain Bike Trails in Swinley Forest
Name: The Blue Trail
Distance: 10.1km (6.25 miles)
Terrain: Taking in an undulating, free-flowing and picturesque section of Swinley Forest; the blue trail is suitable for those with plenty of energy and basic off-road skills. With plenty of obstacles and loose terrain to negotiate, as well as some short and steep sectors, it’ll give you a good workout as well as plenty of adrenaline!
Expert Mountain Bike Trails in Swinley Forest
Name: The Red Trail
Distance: 13km (8 miles)
Terrain: As you might expect from the most technically difficult trail in the forest, there are plenty of changing sections on the Red Trail. Wih a range of climbs and descents, rocks, cambers and water crossings to test your skill you’ll need to be an experienced and confident off-road rider to tackle it.
Download the map for all three of the Swinley Forest trails here
Swinley Forest Mountain Bike Events in 2018
There have not been any new MTB events announced for 2018 as yet, however, we recommend to keep your eye on the events page over at More Dirt for any updates.
Check out the full range of the very latest mountain bikes, clothing and equipment at GO Outdoors today.