Last weekend over Easter I was down near Chippenham and Bath with the family. I was keen to steel some biking in. I did a search on the web and found a trail referred to as "Box Quarry Hill Wood near Corsham, Wiltshire.
So after forcing everyone to squeeze in my car packed with all my bike and gear I dropped the family to go extreme shopping in the High streets of Bath (poor misguided souls!) and I headed off or some real adventure in the side of an unknown hill.
What's weird was just how little I could find on the web on Box Woods in Wiltshire. Just a few vids on YouTube. Practically nothing on a Google search. It was like it was either a best kept secret or a forestry commission cover up or maybe just a red herring where my time may be wasted.
Luckily it wasn't.... So just a few miles out of Corsham just over the top of a hill you see a small wood with a bridleway entrance. It's dead easy to miss so look out for the triangle of grass in the middle of the road.
As you ride in there are two or three paths. If you ride to the left around the perimeter of the wood and turn back before the steep descent it will give you a chance to check out the wood on your right before taking it on. Whilst circling back you will see many little downhill runs.
It was quiet for an Easter weekend and there was one Motocross guys doing some pretty cool stunts and three other guys in full face gear and body armour. I was dressed in xc attire and felt thoroughly under-dressed and unprepared.
It takes about 20 minutes to orientate yourself. It is clearly some type of old Quarry. There are quite a few runs going down (maybe 5 or 6) but many different combinations and I am sure I missed some. The runs are very short but you have (from my dodgy memory;)..
- pretty steep ones into bombholes
- then others with a succession of lovely steep dips that are rollable and can be flown off if you want.
- then there was one with a tabletop and a big double,
- a twisty turny, rooty rocky one that ended in a shore style drop
- a pure shore one based on fallen tree trunks with chicken wire and some decent bomb holes to play in.
- The little single track in the woods actually leads off into a lot of singletrack I believe and some other hilly stuff depending which direction you go.
My main observation was it felt uncared for and maybe something that had had it's hay-day and maybe been knocked down a bit. Saying that you could easily kill a couple of hours playing or sessioning bits over and over.
From what reading I could find it was mentioned that a lot of the manufacturers do their testing there. I can not say if this is true or not but there is some opportunity for some crazy stuff to be done.
It is clearly not an authorised official mountain bike venue. Although it is accessed from bridle path territory I sense the runs coming off may contravene any organised trail building. Saying that I didn't see anything too unsafe and there where none of the all too familiar bikers keep out signs which was weird as I have also read that Box Quarry Hill Wood is a sensitive area and is protected by the local Council due to rare species of bats living in the old quarry caves and that the local Council and nearby villagers frown upon cyclists using the wood.
All in all, Box wood is a fun playground for downhill and freeriders to practice their skills due to the natural undulating terrain.
To Get There: From London, take the M4 motorway heading West. At Junction 17, exit the motorway and join the A350 South towards Chippenham, then join the A4 West towards Bath. After Corsham, at the brow of the hill turn left onto a minor road labelled "Leafy Lane". With the football fields on the right, take the next right. Box Quarry Hill Wood is the second wood on the left.
Enjoy.. sorry no pics or vids. I only had an hour and a half and just wanted to ride.. but I will see if I can get anything from the web (with permission) and post.