Forest of Dean Trail Spotlight - 18 Months Of Graft Makes Gold

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The Cannop Cycle centre has just renamed itself to the Forest of Dean Cycle Centre so we thought it be a good time to take a look at some of the investments Forestry England has made in the last 18 months to the benefit of us mountain bikers. In total it is around £200,000 (including around £9,000 from a fundraiser driven by the Dean Trail Volunteers (DTV) that has gone into refurbishing this iconic centre in Gloucestershire across the Verderers trail, the skills area, and the downhill tracks of Countdown and Launchpad.

So, let’s look at what’s being going on one by one:


This is my personal favourite blue in the UK. It seems I'm not alone in thinking this as it was voted the best Blue Trail in England by Mountain Biking UK in 2021. It offers a fun ride for both intermediate and experienced riders. It has flowing corners, big berms, and rollover features. There is a gentle climb through the forest with some tricky challenges along the way. 

The Verderers has had significant work. The final descent, known as the Dragon's Tail, was resurfaced in 2020 giving it a fast, smooth finish that will leave you coming back for more. Further sections in the middle have been refurbished in 2021 also. Check out the videos below to get a feel for what's on offer.

Final Descent:

Middle Section:

Launchpad and Countdown:

Launchpad opened in 2014 (collaboration between DTV and Rough Riderz originally). It literally cut new ground as it was the only trail of its kind in the UK specifically designed for four-wheeled gravity bikes. I’d be interested to know if this has been emulated elsewhere since? Countdown was later added by DTV as a top section to Launchpad, both are popular with riders of all abilities. The recent refurbishment has been carried out in partnership with DTV and will future-proof the trails so they can continue to be enjoyed for years to come, by riders on both two and four wheels. Both are one orange dot graded downhill tracks.



What else?

In a busy month the trail welcomes 50,000 riders. It’s popular and for good reason. Alongside these tracks described above the Forest of Dean has the Freeminer red trail, a green family cycle trail, a skills area, a pump track, a kid-friendly skills loop aswell as the orange graded Sallowvallets Downhill area a decent selection of one dot, two dot and three dot trails.

What you need to know:

Forest of Dean trails are free to ride but there is a pay and display car park and a decent cafe and shop. Best option is membership which costs just £40 a year and the money you spend is invested back into the trails. Your membership covers car parking. There is a push up track for the downhill Sallowvallets area and a bookable uplift which is managed by Flyup Downhill who also manage the Flyup 417 BikePark in Cheltenham. To find out about mountain bike hire, contact the on-site bike hire and shop Pedalabikeaway.

Finally we hope your appetite is set to check this place out. What’s clear is the more folk dig the more that they find as the old adage goes that “there is gold in them thar hills”. So check out and support your local trail building collective like the Dean Trail Volunteers in the Forest of Dean. You can check out the Forest of Dean MTB trail listing here on the site and make sure to come back and write a review or add some pictures or videos. As always check out their site specific Facebook page before going to check conditions and any opening notices.

Time to start a new discussion or just leave a comment?