Salisbury Plain in south England is not somewhere synonymous with big hills or mountain biking, you’re more likely to see a tank roll past than a downhill bike. All that is changing though thanks to the guys down at Tidworth Bike Park. They had an open day recently so myself and DMR bikes rider Olly Wilkins and Identiti rider Chris Smith went down to see what was going on…
From Dirt Issue 138 – August 2013
Words by Jacob Gibbins. Photos by Jacob Gibbins.
The park has taken some 2 to 3 years worth of negotiations to get built and made official, and it’s CTC (the cycling charity) who actually holds the lease, with Tidworth Freeriders managing the woods on their behalf. The trails are 100% hand dug, but don’t read that to mean they all small, there is clearly years and years of spade work gone into this site.
The general feel of the place is really nice, a good size hill, with tracks around the one–minute mark that feel a really good length for how easy the push to the top is. There’s a good gradient and a variety of different kinds of trees and ground. The soil is pretty similar to the popular Aston Hill chalk for the most part, but only mainly on the well ridden jump lines. Over in the woods it’s more pine needle loam and dust (we did get lucky with the weather).
A playful short travel slopestyle bike would be perfect for the place, but there were people on BMXs riding some of the jumps near the bottom right up to full DH bikes. This really is a spot you can ride pretty much whatever bike you have and have lots of fun doing so. In the words of Olly ‘for a relativity small space Tidworth has a remarkable amount of stuff going on and big potential for sure’.
In terms of what’s there, everything from lines of 2’ tabletops to learn on, DH tracks with about 15 perfect berms in a row, drifty flat turns, tight tech stuff, 30 foot step–downs, and a full set of BMX trails… this place seems to have everything for a good day out.
With the local town five minutes drive away with places to eat, super markets etc., and it only being two hours from London (an hour and a half from Bristol) it’s in a great spot for anyone down in the south of England and somewhere I can see getting a lot of use over the coming years.
The most ‘stand out’ thing about the place though isn’t the wealth of great tracks, surprisingly good hill, and seemingly magical push up/downhill ratio, but the super strong local scene and just how dedicated the locals are to making Tidworth such a great place to ride. A great example of what hard work and dedication can do.
For more information on how to ride there and what’s going on just Google ‘Tidworth Freeride’ and see either their website or the Facebook page.