Hamsterley Forest MTB Trails and Descend Hamsterley, England

Hamsterley Forest MTB Trails and Descend Hamsterley, England

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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 cross country trail set up as well as a renowned downhill and 4X  bike park scene. 

There are three XC tracks (black, red any 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.

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 (14.5km) 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. The final couple of miles back to the Visitors Centre is on tarmac.  It takes around 2 hours to complete and you can find the trail map here.

The Red Trail

  • The 12.5 mile (20km) 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. You can find the trail map here.

The Black Trail 

  • The black trail is 7 miles (11km) 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. You can find the trail map here.

Downhill

DH1

  • The DH1 was the first downhill track built at Hamsterley. The top section is fast and flowing with bombholes, stepdowns 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 Duel Track 

  • Head 2 head from the start ramp step down 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 cross over. Gather speed round the sweeping right-hand berm and hit a pair of 4X type table tops, land the down slope and blast the berm to hit the finish line first.

4X

  • The 4X track starts with a big roll in followed by three table top 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 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 short review or post some pictures or videos to the listing.

Resources

Photos

Transmission
singletrack

Location

Swap Start/End

User reviews

29 reviews

 
(19)
 
(8)
 
(2)
2 stars
 
(0)
1 star
 
(0)
Overall rating 
 
4.5
 
4.7  (29)
 
4.5  (29)
 
4.6  (29)
 
4.5  (29)
 
3.6  (29)
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Ratings (the higher the better)
Grin Factor
Level of fun had, or to be had
Trail Variety
Variety of specific trail or overall trail centre. Mix of obstacles, berms, jumps, drops, shore etc.
Skills Development
Did it develop or push your skills and leave you with more to come back and learn
Trail Quality
Are the trails well built /maintained using sustainable techniques?
Facilities
From cafe post ride grub to bike wash. Did it meet your expectations?
User Review
Comments
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Overall rating 
 
4.7
Grin Factor 
 
5.0
Trail Variety 
 
5.0
Skills Development 
 
4.5
Trail Quality  
 
4.5
Facilities 
 
4.5

Awsome riding

but great place cant argue

User Review

Good Points
evertone is friendly helpful and always good banter i do mainly enduro trails but have a good laugh when i attempt the downhill, Tracks for everyone go mad or go slow go with family or a group of beginners anyone will advise and help you along the way
Bad Points
always been a bug bear of mine ...no where to fill up your camel sack ,,on hot long climbs hurrendous ,,just a personnel thing
Would you recommend?
Yes
Was this review helpful to you? 
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Grin Factor 
 
5.0
Trail Variety 
 
4.0
Skills Development 
 
5.0
Trail Quality  
 
5.0
Facilities 
 
4.0

Red trail

We only did the red route so can only comment on that but the forest it's self along with the trails, seemed very well maintained and really is a beautiful place. It felt like almost the entire first half of the trail was uphill, and just pretty mellow, almost boring fireroads with only one small section being anywhere near close to a technical climb.
However once you reach the top it is more the worthwide, with one of, in my opinion, the best built, flowing and fun trails in England. The seem to flatter you riding and be a real confidence builder. Will definitely be returning, was well worth staying over night and the 2.5 hour drive there and back.

User Review

Good Points
All the down hill sections 10/10
Good car park
Fun just watching the DH riders in the descent park
Bad Points
Very limited technical climbs
Would you recommend?
Yes
Was this review helpful to you? 
(Updated: August 24, 2016)
Overall rating 
 
4.8
Grin Factor 
 
5.0
Trail Variety 
 
5.0
Skills Development 
 
5.0
Trail Quality  
 
5.0
Facilities 
 
3.5

The North East's best trail centre

Always expanding volunteer-led trail network with a bit of everything. Great fun XC trails with challenging features and flowing singletrack. Uphill mainly fireroad to allow limited funds to go into the downs! Great scene developing and very busy. Skills loop is great for kids and grown-ups. Well maintained, all-year-round riding.

DH facilities are top drawer.

User Review

Good Points
Expanding network of trails
Fun all-weather riding
Excellent DH centre
Bad Points
No showers
Cafe hours not all that useful
Would you recommend?
Yes
Was this review helpful to you? 
Overall rating 
 
3.4
Grin Factor 
 
3.0
Trail Variety 
 
3.0
Skills Development 
 
3.5
Trail Quality  
 
4.0
Facilities 
 
4.0

Hamsterley red & black

Good place to ride, enjoyed the red & black bar the long dull fire road drag on the red which went on for ages with no reward. Will shortcut the red up to the transmission section next time. The descents were good, the pikes teeth on the black was excelkent fun - fast, rooty with some jumps. Some decent climbs await you on the Red and black but bar the dull fireroad bit they paid off. Loved accelerator section and we did that a few times.

Great cafe and loafs of stuff for the minis to do while you ride.

User Review

Good Points
Descents on the red & black are good especially the black pikes teeth & red accelerator
Good cafe
Cheap parking
Excellent techie climbs on the black (route66)
Bad Points
Too much dull fireroad on the red, both up & down
Would you recommend?
Yes
Was this review helpful to you? 
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Grin Factor 
 
4.5
Trail Variety 
 
4.5
Skills Development 
 
5.0
Trail Quality  
 
5.0
Facilities 
 
4.0

Excellent for all types of mountain biking, never get bored, cheap to park. once you have been you will go back.

User Review

Good Points
it is all good
Bad Points
toilets could do with up date.
Would you recommend?
Yes
Was this review helpful to you? 
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Grin Factor 
 
4.5
Trail Variety 
 
4.5
Skills Development 
 
4.5
Trail Quality  
 
4.5
Facilities 
 
2.5

Something for everyone with some challenging trail and technical DH. Plenty to keep you going.

User Review

Good Points
Good mix of natural and trail centre feel. Good natural stuff in the forest too. No wasted climbing (fire road descents) DH tracks are a lot of fun too and the uplift service is great.
Would you recommend?
Yes
Was this review helpful to you? 
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Grin Factor 
 
5.0
Trail Variety 
 
5.0
Skills Development 
 
5.0
Trail Quality  
 
5.0
Facilities 
 
5.0

love this place

Love the fact i can be riding 10 min after leaving the house nice and varied trails but local knowledge helps.

User Review

Good Points
Fair balance of climbing and descent holds up in bad weather
Bad Points
Limited facilities for anyone traveling to forest
Would you recommend?
Yes
Was this review helpful to you? 
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Grin Factor 
 
5.0
Trail Variety 
 
5.0
Skills Development 
 
5.0
Trail Quality  
 
4.5
Facilities 
 
3.5

A bit of everything

Whatever type of mountain biking your into Hamsterley has it , Downhill, uphill , off piste , Red/Black and Blue.
If you fancy getting lost then head out across the moors and go for miles and miles.

User Review

Good Points
Various types of trail
Huge area to explore
Sheltered when it's windy
Bike crime not an issue like Sherwood pines and Cannock
Great skills course
Parking only £3!!
Bad Points
Toilet facilities poor.
No showers changing facilities like Glentress.
Walkers don't seem happy without straying into mountain bike routes!!
Would you recommend?
Yes
Was this review helpful to you? 
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Grin Factor 
 
5.0
Trail Variety 
 
4.5
Skills Development 
 
5.0
Trail Quality  
 
4.0
Facilities 
 
2.0

Good for riding

User Review

Good Points
Plenty of trails to give a full weekend of riding
Bad Points
increase in parking charges on bank holiday weekends
Would you recommend?
Yes
Was this review helpful to you? 
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Grin Factor 
 
4.0
Trail Variety 
 
3.0
Skills Development 
 
4.0
Trail Quality  
 
4.0
Facilities 
 
3.0

User Review

Good Points
Great location. Good trails catering for all skill levels. Full credit to the TrailBlazers even though it would seam the Hamsterley riders are trying to push their way in by looks of it judging by the comments on their facebook page. Decsend looks decent even though I have never ridden it as DH is not my thing.
Bad Points
Facilities could do with some upgrading. Toilets changing rooms etc.
Would you recommend?
Yes
Was this review helpful to you? 
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