Surrey hills mountain bike trails consists of a set of trails that criss cross the North Downs. 4 of the most popular and well known are Leith Hill, Holmbury Hill, Pitch Hill and Winterfold hill. Each can all be ridden individually or looped together. These set of hills are a combination of natural and purpose built single-track in a great countryside setting.
Summer Lightning has just had a major extension built over the last few months and although not fully open it soft launched in February 2014. This new Summer Lightning trail when fully open starts just below the iconic Leith Hill Tower and runs to connect up to the old Summer Lightning section. It's a red graded trail that will provide a fast and flowing alternative to the congested bridleway descent that's the option at present. The full trail will be around 9km and the new extension forms around 4km of this. For the soft launch 2 sections of the new trail, either side of Coldharbour cricket pitch have been made rideable and are open.
The two top sections though of this new trail which are complete have been put on hold pending questions raised over their legality. Surrey County council are investigating a complaint by the British Horse Society who have said the path is too close to existing bridleways and the potential combination of horses and cyclists could be fatal. The British Horse Society (BHS) maintains that the route is being built without “public consultation or lawful consent. The local mountain bike groups are in dialogue with all parties.
The Trails Overview
Being the highest point in the North Downs you would expect it to be the best riding accessible to London and Home counties riders. The thing is you would not expect it to be quite as good as it is. There are many miles of single track (all non way marked) and the opportunity to mix and match and piece together trails is something else. The trails are predominately managed by Hurtwood Trails who do a good job also of communicating all the latest trail developments and conditions. The trails are diverse and you will find berms, drops, roots, switchbacks and steep technical descents all in abundance.
There are quite a few places to start like Peaslake, Nirvana Cycles in Westcot, Leith Hill Tower and many more dotted along the way. Some of the trails worth checking out are Barry Knows Best, Yoghurt Pots, Deliverance, the Quarry and Summer Lightning to name but a few.
- Leith hill is probably the steepest of the three hills and home to The Tower the highest point on Leith Hill as well as the highest point in the North downs. Hence there are tough climbs and some really rewarding descents. You will be surpised how steep it can get! NB although facilites are limited there is a neat litle kiosk for tea and cake at the top on The Tower. Some of the famous more carved trails here are Summer Lighting (twisty singletrack with low berms), Deliverance (very steep), The Quarry (for jumping and drops) Crooked Furrow, Regurgitator & Waggledance. Nirvana Cycles in Westcot is a decent shop and a common place to start. They have maps and also organise informal rides on the weekends including their renowned Jump class.
- Holmbury Hill is another great hill and can be started from the village of Peaslake. Famous here is the village store for more tea and cake and a good friendly bike shop Pedal and Spoke run by Howard (who sold me my Butcher) where you can hire bikes, buy gear and get some good advice. Both places are unmissable due the constant swarm of bikers around them. There is a biker friendly pub just opposite the store also. Famous trails here are Barry Knows Best (tight flowing singletrack that is worth doing twice) which traverses down the final descent with roots galore reminiscent of a Welsh trail centre and the Yoghurt Pots (which has just had an upgrade and makeover) full of rolling dips as you descend and the Telegraph Row which is a neat bit of fast and very tight singletrack on a less steep decline but still lets you drive speed (keep pedalling mind).
- Pitch Hill is the final of the hills and as rewarding as the others with the same abundance of singletrack and thrills. Famous trails are Supernova (quite technical)and the set of trails know as the T Trails (rooty and flowy and some are quite technical and others involved a fair bit of pedalling).
- A great resource for detailed trail guides for each of the hills can be found at the Surrey Hills MTBer website here
Clubs and Groups
- Hurtwood Trails are the MTB volunteer group responsible for trail development on the Hurtwood Estate in Surrey Hills.
- VC Goldalming Haslemer Surrey Hills Cycling
- Redhill Cycling Club
- Muddy Moles
- Love to Ride
- The Summer Lightning project is being managed by Ian Warby from CTC, built by Olie Burton from Track Lines with Richard Kelly from All Biked Up leading the hand build team and coordinating the volunteers working on the trail.
- If you have ridden any of the mountain bike trails in the Surrey Hills then why not share your experience with the community and favourite the trail, post some pics, vids or a short review.