Review Detail

Busy trail centre serving a big population
Overall rating 
 
3.2
Grin Factor 
 
3.0
Trail Variety 
 
3.0
Skills Development 
 
4.0
Trail Quality  
 
3.0
Facilities 
 
3.0
One of my locals which has changed a lot over the years, in particular since effectively turning it into a proper trail centre with new official trails designed by Back on Track.

User Review

Good Points
Good distance of trails considering the size of the forest and if you're into pedalling up there's some good use of the limited elevation. The up means some down, and fun sections with a number of air time options with not too much effort required, if over a bit too quick.

Green, blue and red trails. Difficulty is in the main based on distance & climbing only.

Mix of old and new trails mixes the style up a bit and variety with flowing singletrack to trails such as Labyrinth with a maze of twisty trails in a very small area.

Jump gully is a popular spot and easy for beginners to practice on. Some short DH-ish runs dotted about also.

All weather surfaces on the trails have made it far less of a bog to ride.

As a trail centre now it's hugely popular and is boosting the take up of off road cycling. It's great to see new riders, kids and families having a go.

Night riding opportunities (note car park shuts 8.30pm in summer, 6pm in winter, but you can get out once in).

Home of the Bird bikes, and you can demo them there ;)
Bad Points
Trailcenterisation (made up word) has maybe lost some of the charm it used to have. It used to be a network of trails scattered about to explore and mix up to make whatever route you liked. Now it's a formal trail network which is run by everyone in one route, direction and flow. If you're a regular you may get bored of it.

Busy at weekends during peak hours. Mainly an issue with the car park which gets crammed but you may be bumping into each other on the trails. Generally people play nicely together but there are some who seem to be obsessed with their Strava runs at times ;)

Linking fireroad sections can get boggy in the wet.

"Stickler" (Blue 10) is very tedious ;) . It always was. Pedal loads to get enough speed to go round those berms as there's no elevation to carry the speed.

The all weather surfaces are very rough "cobbly" in feel due to stones in the hard pack.

Walkers, dog walkers, families having picnics... on the trails. To be fair there are no signs preventing non riders from going on bike specific trails.

Cafe busy, slow and overpriced.

Parking fees - Won't bore you too much with my opinion of Bracknell Council cashing in with Swinley parking fees ;) . To be fair the charges aren't high for an occasional day out. Annual prices are huge though. The council also depends largely on fines for revenue from Swinley so be very careful to not overrun the time and don't park outside of bays.

Car park is a bit of a hot spot for theft. Don't leave bikes on a rack while you pop in for a coffee or use the toilets.

Infamous yellow sand! ;)
Would you recommend?
Yes
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