Swinley Forest is a vast area of privately owned and managed woodland of which certain parts are used by the military for training. Swinley boasts a superb selection of both natural and made made singletrack trails, with some epic descents and if you go looking for them some grueling climbs too. Swinley is just a maze after maze of tracks, meaning every visit you can find and ride new trails creating almost limitless route options. To ride at Swinley Forest you must purchase either a day riding pass (£3.00 per rider) from the Lookout Discovery Centre reception desk upon arrival or alternatively you can purchase an annual pass instead.
Twenty-four of us hit the trails on a sunny Winter morning. A great group of riders turned up for the day including some brand new faces, some regulars, club members, some new club referrals and two BucksMTB staff ride leaders.
Very early on the group got split by a mechanical fault or two, but after regrouping we took in a fantastic twenty mile route through Swinley's maze of singletrack trails taking in some of the infamous favourite local tracks including the Tank Traps and the Labyrinth. For a lot of riders in our group it was their first visit to Swinley and they instantly fell in love with the place, the trails and the trail conditions. Swinley during the winter is great as a lot of the woodland is pine woodland with sand based trials meaning it stays reasonably dry and rideable all year round.
After a few sessions of peoples favourite trails, some granny ring racing, some "box game" racing, some tech fixes, punctures and some climbing challenges between the group we rounded out the day with a ride of the infamous Labyrinth trail, a superbly long epic singletrack trail taking in climbs, descents, berms, singletrack, jumps, drops and more; this trail is a real treat and the trail builders have done a superb job of making the most of the space and the terrain.
Back at the Lookout it was time for tea, cake and the swopping of war stories before wishing each other all a good Christmas before heading off to brave the festive time traffic.
If you missed this ride we have both a Boxing Day and New Years Day ride, if not news of our January group ride event will be coming very soon.
BucksMTB Club Chairman & Ride Leader