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Swinley Forest Mountain Bike Centre

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3.8 (43)
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User reviews

4 reviews with 3 stars

43 reviews

 
(10)
 
(25)
 
(4)
 
(2)
 
(2)
Overall rating 
 
3.8
Grin Factor 
 
4.0  (43)
Trail Variety 
 
3.6  (43)
Skills Development 
 
3.8  (43)
Trail Quality  
 
4.0  (43)
Facilities 
 
3.8  (42)
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Ratings
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
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4 results - showing 1 - 4
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Overall rating 
 
2.9
Grin Factor 
 
3.0
Trail Variety 
 
2.5
Skills Development 
 
3.0
Trail Quality  
 
3.0
Facilities 
 
3.0
Yeah worth a fair shout

User Review

Good Points

Living in the Hampshire area there's not a lot of pickings in regards to decent trail parks but this overall isn't too bad. Granted it doesn't touch BPWales but you can see potential in the place. The red run is pretty technical and fast flowing in places which is a good challenge. Good sign posting of trails - however red run does take awhile to get to.

There's a bike shop on site, but no real changing facilities.

Food is ok nothing special.
Bad Points

Currently doing a lot of logging and therefore a lot of the red trail is closed. In parts the blue trail is pretty boring and could be spiced up. Berms have taken a battering.

Gets soooo busy at the weekend

Terrible coffee.
Would you recommend?
Yes
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 2
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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Local User
Overall rating 
 
3.4
Grin Factor 
 
3.5
Trail Variety 
 
3.0
Skills Development 
 
3.5
Trail Quality  
 
4.0
Facilities 
 
3.0
I like Swinley but I'm a little tainted by the fact they are trying to make people use only the fireroads and groomed trail. There used to be maybe thousands of km of trails in there and after 5 years I was still discovering places but when they built the groomed runs they ploughed them up or felled trees over them :(

So let's talk about the groomed trails. There aren't many; 3 to be precise - a green, a blue and a red. The green is great for kids starting out but too short and the jump to blue is too much in my opinion. You often see kids and parents who don't cycle regularly struggling and blocking the way on the early part of the blue and some of it is fast. You get some silly behaviour on a busy weekend - people parking on the outside or just in the middle of corners on descents. By half way round the blue the muppetry has gone back to the lookout. That's not really a fair comment it's because the green is insufficient for novices and they probably end up put off by the blue. They need a few greens, some a decent length. The blue is good in parts but there is, in my opinion, a long tedious flat bit just before the red - it's just too twisty and the same for no particular reason and just doesn't feel right. The red isn't harder than blue really there are a couple of bits that are and some of the descents have more potential for getting it wrong but not if you exercise some self control! The best thing about the red is that you don't get people parking on it.

One thing to watch out for on blue and red is that some of the berms are too short. Once you start upping the pace you find you can run out of berm which forces a messy exit onto the straight at a funny angle. You kinda get forced off the berm before you finish turning.

In summary well worth a visit and excellent if you've not been spoilt by how it was before. Why couldn't they leave the old trails as well? I'm a bit sad by the amount of tree felling recently not sure why - is it harvested? Not sure if it's a true working forest.

User Review

Good Points
It's close to me.
It has a cafe.
Not much mud as sandy ground.
Lots of trees or there were - they keep disappearing
Bad Points
They destroyed a lot of the "natural" trails
The coffee in the cafe is awful
On a good day it's hard to park
Would you recommend?
Yes
I
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Fun at Swinley
Overall rating 
 
3.2
Grin Factor 
 
3.0
Trail Variety 
 
3.0
Skills Development 
 
4.0
Trail Quality  
 
3.0
Facilities 
 
3.0
I enjoy a ride out at Swinley. My main motivation is the exercise and having some fun. I mainly go with my boyfriend. I love riding through the forest as it is a nice escape from crazy London. It's family friendly and my children (13 and 7 year old) love coming and it pushes them both.

User Review

Good Points
Its a fun workout. And it's good for families.
Bad Points
The food in the cafe is a bit tasteless.
Would you recommend?
Yes
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
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