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Britain’s 10 best bike parks

Did we miss any?

Bike parks are absolutely wonderful for introducing newcomers to the sport and providing new thrills to oldies like us. It seems that Britain has welcomed them with open arms in the past few years and they’ve started to crop up at an alarming rate.

Here are the ones we reckon you should check out from all four corners of the UK:

Bike Park Wales

What more can you say about Bike Park Wales? It’s got 18 trails ranging from Britain’s longest blue descent through to downhill runs that challenge the British Downhill Series’ best racers.

The best news of all is that it has recently received planning permission for an additional 23 trails (more than doubling it’s current number) so you can expect even more great riding to be trickled out over the next few years.

Descend Hamsterly

A bit like a hipster, Descend Hamsterly was a bike park “before it was cool”. Currently in its fifteenth year, the park offers five trails at the top that split into eight at the bottom – there’s also a 4X track to play about on if you fancy.

Despite its age, DH1 probably remains the pick of the tracks starting fast and flowy before shooting into tight, steep and techy woods.

Gawton

Gawton may be a Trek for most of us but venturing down through Devon is well worth a trip to find one of the most technical bike parks in the UK. From the high speed thrills of HSD and Proper Job to the deep tech of Egypt there’s plenty ton get your teeth in to. There’s also been a new jump trail put in recently by FEST series rider Jasper Flashman called Rattler.

We like the place so much we used it as a base for out 1:04 series where you can test yourself against the likes of Danny Hart, Josh Bryceland and Gee Atherton.

Revolution

Revolution shot to fame through the Atherton’s Quarry Line and Kye Forte’s Quartermaster, but there’s more to this place than bonkers freeride lines. Revolution offers five different trails that open out into a Boneyard-style finishing area.

It would be tempting to simply zip down the Freeride line all day but you’re missing out if you don’t attempt to tackle the black runs or even the pro level Ffar Side.

 

Antur Stiniog

Bleak, barren and foreboding, an abandoned quarry may not be the first place you would expect to find world class trails but Antur Stiniog is a venue like no other. The trails are rocky and rough with a reputation for being bike breakers but there’s plenty of fun to be had among the madness – just make sure you pack some spare tubes.

Black Mountain Cycle Centre

The Black Mountain Cycle Centre is often overshadowed by it’s more popular neighbours – the Forest of Dean and Bike Park Wales –but the fact it’s not overrun by body-armoured crowds can only be a good thing.

BMCC is  a purists experience with some seriously big jumps if you want to seek them out. It’s constantly expanding and we were seriously impressed by some of the new stuff we saw recently.

Farmer John’s

What Farmer John’s lacks in number of trails it makes up for in atmosphere and friendliness. There is really only one main track with a load of different options (including ‘Mega Steep’ and ‘Root Death’) but the layout is constantly evolving to keep it fresh.

The highlight is the annual Race Weekender though that brings fancy dress night time racing, a rave in a Red Bull tent and the North West’s fastest riders.

Flyup 417

FlyUp’s 417 project is still in its infancy but we’ve seen more than enough potential to call it one of the best bike parks in the country.The centre includes three downhill trails, a Claudio-Caluori-designed pumptrack, dirt jumps and the recently opened dual slalom and 4X track.

With plenty of land still to expand into, and some top notch facilities already in place, we can easily see FlyUp 417 becoming something very special in the near future.

Innerleithen

Innerleithen may not have been raced in the British Downhill Series since 2013 but we reckon it’s still home to some of the best downhill tracks this country has to offer.

Set in the heart of the Tweed Valley, Innerleithen provides the gravity-fed ying to Glentress’ trail yang. With four tracks to choose from there’s more than enough to keep you occupied all day – and there are even (long-term) plans to put in a ski lift. The XC loop is actually pretty good too!

Forest of Dean

The Forest of Dean hosts one of the best winter series going with its mini-downhill tracks able to survive the bleakest weather the UK winter can throw at them. Tracks like Sheepskull, Flatland and Ski Run are fully cemented in British downhill folklore and provide thrills for all levels of riding.

Also check out Launchpad, the most recent addition to the Forest of Dean and the only downhill trail in country that tailors to the needs of accessibility bikes.

 

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