Hamsterley Forest MTB Trails and Descend Hamsterley
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Hamsterley Forest MTB Trails and Descend Hamsterley

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Location

Country
County/State
Trail, Centre or Base
Address
Redford, Bishop Auckland, County Durham, DL13 3NL
Directions
XC: Follow the signs to Hamsterley Forest from the A68 at Witton-le-Wear, 5 miles north of West Auckland. Turn right in Hamsterley village following the brown tourist signs, turn left in hamlet of Bedburn to enter the forest and access the forest drive. The visitor centre is located at the bottom of the hill on the right.
Descend Hamsterley: Post Code: DL13 3QN, we are 5 miles past Hamsterley Village - 4th on right going towards woodland - Windybank Road, dont turn into main forest, carparking at top of track.
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Hamsterley Forest mountain bike trails and Descend Hamsterley Bike Park are set in the 2000 hectares of Hamsterley Forest, near Bishop Auckland, County Durham in the North East of England. There is both a well-established xc trail set up as well as a renowned downhill and 4X  bike park scene. 

There are three XC tracks (black, red and blue) managed by the Hamsterley TrailBlazers. The volunteer community is always busy developing and maintaining the trails and in spring 2014 a new section of trail called the Pikes Teeth opened. Since then in 2015 they have also added sections such as OddSox and extended Boneshaker and 2 Wheels & Trolls. In 2016 they got funding for @7 more miles of trail and at the end of the year opened a new red section Polty's Last Blast. In 2017 they opened K Line with lots of big jumps on the red trail.

There is also Descend Bike Park which is a specific Downhill and 4X area run by Descend Hamsterley which accommodates everyone from beginners to full-on experts and professionals. It has 5 downhill runs with 8 optional bottom sections that run out from them. The top sections are fast and flowy with optional chicken runs and the bottom sections are much more technical, steep, rocky and rooty. 

Cross Country (XC)

The Blue Trail

  • The blue trail is 9 miles long and is for experienced cyclists. It starts from the Visitors Centre and it gets quite steep in places to the extent that unaccustomed folk may often walk. You can take this trail at your own pace and the first stretch is on a wide, purpose built cycle track. From Grove house is it mainly on loose surfaced forest road. A final couple of miles back to the Visitors Centre is on the tarmac.  It takes around 2 hours to complete.

The Red Trail

  • The 14.5-mile red graded trail has some pretty prolonged up and downs so good fitness is a must as is technical competence. It starts from Bedburn Car Park and takes about 2.5 hours to complete. The route starts off with the Blue trail to the Grove where it then splits off on a mix of forest road and singletrack. As a result of some recent investment, it is now in a neat figure of eight loop (they joined two sections together). The route then retraces a short climb past Descend Bike Park before returning to the start at Bedburn via some pretty awesome single track sections. 

The Black Trail 

  • The black trail is 8 miles long and graded severe. The terrain is mostly narrow, rooty singletrack with drops and very steep sections. This trail has very steep technical climbs, flowing single track and numerous rooty descents.

Downhill

DH1

  • The DH1 was the first downhill track built at Hamsterley. The top section is fast and flowing with bomb holes, step-downs and a big tabletop. After the road jump it steps it up a gear and there are numerous drops, big rock gardens, loads of rocks, and steep shoots.

DH1 - The Shoot

  • This is an alternative line of the above. After the road jump you split of the track at the 2nd left, which leads you off a small drop and into a rock littered steep track, after the path there is a bit of a flatter section that is quite tight, then you go over a big off camber rock into a very steep shoot that joins back onto the main track at the bottom switchbacks.

DH2 - Black Magic

  • Starting from the start ramp the beginning of this track follows the line of DH1 until just after the first bomb hole where you turn left into the trees before the double, once through the root-riddled trees, there is the run into the big bomb hole jump, after this the track is fast with a few flat corners then bearing right into a rocky shoot and across the road. once across the road this track becomes a lot more technical, mainly rooty and steep with some tricky of camber turns and a few drops, the bottom of the track finishing with a drop into a steep shoot or the chicken line around the drop.

DH2 - The Edge

  • Starting from the start ramp this track follows the same line as the Black Magic trail left after the first bomb hole into the trees then through the big bomb hole, once out of the bomb hole follow the track as the Black Magic trail just before this trail bears off to the right follow the edge trail around a slightly off-camber left turn, this takes you to the bottom of the dual course. Down the bottom of the duel takes you across the road and into the bottom section of The Edge trail. once you enter the bottom section it becomes pretty dark and narrow with some off camber roots and rocks, you drop down a steep little shoot onto the path with a couple line choices, across the path and into the next bit is more of the same with a few rocks and roots on a narrow trail, through a little rocky section then onto the Northshore, once off the NorthShore the trail becomes a lot rougher and rocky, careful not to get too close to the edge. A steep rough shoot through the trees finishes this trail and brings you out behind the last berm on the Black Magic Trail. 

Skills Area - The Dual Track 

  • Head 2 head from the start ramp step down to get the line and hit 2 table tops, ride 2 berms right then left. Jump or manual the small doubles pick your line and cut your mate up at the crossover. Gather speed round the sweeping right-hand berm and hit a pair of 4X type table tops, land the downslope and blast the berm to hit the finish line first.

4X

  • The 4X track starts with a big roll in followed by three tabletop jumps which lead to a banked corner, from here there are multiple line choices with singles, doubles, triples and a couple of rhythm sections. It is 550 metres long, 6 metres wide and very fast.

Other Stuff

  • Downhill Day Pass and uplift prices - see the site.
  • Refreshments available from the cabin.

Useful Sites

Other Stuff 

  • In 2014 they took 2nd place in Trail of the Year for England and also a third place for UK Bike Park.

Share 

  • If you have ridden either the Cross Country or the Downhill trails at Hamsterley Forest and Descend Bike Park then please come and share your experiences with the rest of the community and write a review or post some pictures or videos to the listing.

Resources

News

February 07, 2017
82 visits
December 11, 2016
22 visits

Photos

Transmission

Map

Swap Start/End

User reviews

43 reviews

 
(32)
 
(8)
 
(3)
2 stars
 
(0)
1 star
 
(0)
Overall rating 
 
4.5
Grin Factor 
 
4.7  (43)
Trail Variety 
 
4.6  (43)
Skills Development 
 
4.6  (43)
Trail Quality  
 
4.6  (43)
Facilities 
 
3.7  (43)
Overall rating 
 
3.4
Grin Factor 
 
3.5
Trail Variety 
 
2.5
Skills Development 
 
3.5
Trail Quality  
 
3.5
Facilities 
 
4.5

#itsgoodbutitsneechopwell

User Review

Good Points
Fantastic skimming pond right near the car park . Although it was frozen on the day we were there
Would you recommend?
Yes
E(
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 1
Overall rating 
 
4.6
Grin Factor 
 
5.0
Trail Variety 
 
5.0
Skills Development 
 
4.0
Trail Quality  
 
4.5
Facilities 
 
4.0

Great trails

User Review

Would you recommend?
Yes
S
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 1 0
brilliant
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Grin Factor 
 
5.0
Trail Variety 
 
5.0
Skills Development 
 
5.0
Trail Quality  
 
5.0
Facilities 
 
5.0

u want it its there

User Review

Good Points
friendly staff good banter with other riders variety of riders xc DH etc free cakes hot coffee meet a world champion ,,were else does that
Bad Points
erm....no one carries up the trails
Would you recommend?
Yes
GL
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 1 0
Brilliant place for all level of mountain bikers
Overall rating 
 
4.5
Grin Factor 
 
5.0
Trail Variety 
 
4.0
Skills Development 
 
5.0
Trail Quality  
 
4.0
Facilities 
 
4.0

The best selection of trails in the North East for its size.

User Review

Good Points
Great range of man-made trails, suitable for all ages and abilities, which are challenging, fun, and it's a very popular venue throughout the year. Nice to have the old school tracks on the moors, and the other non-purpose-built trails inside forest, to use as well. The Hamsterley Trailblazers group do great work on opening cool new sections of trail, and there's a decent number of XC and DH events held throughout the year.
Bad Points
More/longer blue levels trails would be nice for beginners and kids. The red trail isn't worth doing in its entirety as it's a bit dull (best to combine the purpose built parts of it with the black, which is not too hard for any moderately capable biker), and it would be better with less fire roads and more purpose built single track. Skills loop obstacles need refurbishing/renewing.
Would you recommend?
Yes
T
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 1 0
The best volunteer built & funded trails in the UK
Overall rating 
 
4.8
Grin Factor 
 
5.0
Trail Variety 
 
5.0
Skills Development 
 
5.0
Trail Quality  
 
5.0
Facilities 
 
3.0

I love this place. The Trailblazers are awesome and should be supported by us to help them continue their amazing efforts.

User Review

Good Points
Led by the Hamsterley Trailblazers who are a pioneering group of dedicated volunteers, this forest is going from strength to strength. Raising their own funding and building the trails themselves there is an awesome variety of well maintained grin enhancing trails, with the most recent 'K-Line' receiving a massive amount of praise and interest across the mountain biking community.
An amazing gem in the North East of England made possible by this incredible bunch of volunteers. So incredible they were awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Service this year for their efforts.
Bad Points
The Forestry Commission needs to invest. The quality of services do not meet the same standards as other more high profile FC sites.
Would you recommend?
Yes
BA
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 1
Hamsterly
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Grin Factor 
 
5.0
Trail Variety 
 
4.5
Skills Development 
 
4.0
Trail Quality  
 
5.0
Facilities 
 
5.0

Great trails which are always being looked after and expanded

User Review

Would you recommend?
Yes
J
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
Worth a visit
Overall rating 
 
4.5
Grin Factor 
 
4.5
Trail Variety 
 
4.0
Skills Development 
 
5.0
Trail Quality  
 
5.0
Facilities 
 
4.0

I go up most Wednesdays as I have that day off, fantastic as it is like my own personal bike park. Great value and lots of smiles for the miles.

User Review

Good Points
Skills loop is excellent. Lots of excellent trails to suit most riders of all different skill levels. New trails being built are spot on. Cheap parking also, even better if you live close by and get a year pass. Go up there mid week and you have the place to yourself.
Bad Points
Hard to find your way around unless you have knowledge of the forest, so better signs would be a help. I would love to get my confidence up on the jumps, so a jump practice track would be smashing, I know there is a one at descent but that costs extra.
Would you recommend?
Yes
D
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
Hamsterly trail review
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Grin Factor 
 
5.0
Trail Variety 
 
5.0
Skills Development 
 
5.0
Trail Quality  
 
5.0
Facilities 
 
4.5

Iv been going for 3 years now and regard it as my local trail centra and love it if I have to travel an hr it's still great

User Review

Good Points
You have variety of trails to suit all skill levels.
The lads are a very friendly and are willing to help new people to the forest
DH descent park is well run and the down hill tails are amazing
Bad Points
Bike shop is useless
Could do with more trail signs
Would you recommend?
Yes
PH
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
Something for everyone
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Grin Factor 
 
5.0
Trail Variety 
 
5.0
Skills Development 
 
5.0
Trail Quality  
 
4.5
Facilities 
 
3.5

A thriving trail network that I hope continues to expand!

User Review

Good Points
Ongoing development of trails means that every year fresh new official trails are opening. This has helped build a good range of trails, with huge variety when you factor in the natural trails and Danny Hart's Descend Bike park. Locals are a friendly bunch and the trails are well maintained.
Bad Points
Facilities are a little lacking. On site bike shop not the best stocked (in part due to string of break ins) Signage not the best, short cuts to the best trail sections could be handy.
Would you recommend?
Yes
AR
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
Look and you will find
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Grin Factor 
 
5.0
Trail Variety 
 
5.0
Skills Development 
 
5.0
Trail Quality  
 
5.0
Facilities 
 
4.5

A great mountain biking facility.

User Review

Good Points
Masses of variety. Plenty of sign posted, surfaced trails. More trails being built. Loads of natural stuff to find. Options to head out beyond the forest.
Bad Points
Signage could be better to link to best bits of built trail.
Would you recommend?
Yes
S
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
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