Ashton Court and Leigh Woods mountain bike trails are based just on the outskirts of Bristol in the South West of England. They are two MTB trails close enough to each other (just separated literally by a road) to be discussed together.
The first Ashton Court is in the country grounds of one of those old stately homes amongst a host of other outdoor activities (like golf) and the other is as the name describes a decent woodland called Leigh woods. Each of these trail heads have one mainly blue graded trail with optional red sections. For clarity that means there are two blue graded trails in total, each with red sections.
There is also a small skills area.
Ashton Court - Nova Trail (Blue with optional Red Sections)
- The Nova Trail is a blue graded (moderate ability and effort required) 6.6 km trail. It has a flowing feel with numerous twists, turns and drops that gradually build up your confidence. There is also a short 860 metre Super Nova optional red section (difficult) that steps it up a gear.
- There is a cafe associated with the bike friendly golf centre at Ashton Court and plans for a bike hire are afoot.
Leigh woods - Yer Tiz Trails (Blue)
- Leigh Woods is owned by Forestry commission and is just across the road from Ashton Court. This is a purpose built trail that takes you through mixed woodland and overlooks Avon Gorge and Clifton Suspension bridge. It is a moderate level blue grade and again has an optional red option (known as the Gert Lush section).
Leigh Woods - Keener Skills Loop
- Focused on young people the Keener skills loop is for beginners and delivers progressive skill development. This is graded blue and has some more difficult sections also. It's short as you would expect from a skills loop and is approximately 500 meters long.
- Car Parking is limited but you are a short ride from the Bristol main station.
- Being a country park and with a blue grade focus their is mixed traffic of slow riders, fast riders, dog walkers and horse riding etc so bring patience, a considerate outlook and be aware.
- Ashton Court and the country park are managed by Bristol City council and Leigh woods by the Forestry commission. These trails are set in an extensive 850 acres of parkland.
- Both these developments have been born from a history of mountain bike riding heritage over many years as testified from my mates who live down Bristol way.
- Pivotal to their success to become a purpose built trail base and a well managed facility has been the involvement of the Bristol Trails Group and 1 South West as well as Bristol City council and the Forestry Commission.
- Ashton Court and Leigh Woods are part of a larger network of trails in the South West and so forms part of this wider 1 South West project that is creating an off-road cycling region for people to enjoy adventurous off-road cycling and progress their ride. Part of this network contains trails such as The Forest of Dean and Haldon Forest amongst others.
- Some of these trails were designed by top trail builder Phil Saxena.