Bikemagic Trail Guide: Bristol's Ashton Court & Leigh Woods

Destination: Ashton Court and Leigh Woods, Bristol

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I had hair and was a student in Bristol. One fateful day, my trusty Raleigh Winner five-speed road bike gave up the ghost on Blackboy Hill and I bought a new fangled Muddy Fox mountain bike.

With my new off-road steed I’d regularly skid and slide around Leigh Woods, terrifying dog walkers and falling off a lot. In the intervening 17 years, more than £400,000 has been spent, trails have been built, I now have no hair but I still fall off a lot. Just a 10 minutes spin from the town centre, if you’re in Brizzle, it’s well worth getting your tyres dirty at Ashton Court and Leigh Woods.

Bikemagic’s David Arthur shreds the Ashton Court trails

How to get there

Parking is fairly limited at Ashton Court so leave your car in town and use the ride out as a warm-up. There’s a pump track on route as an incentive. If you must drive, both Ashton Court and Leigh Woods can be accessed from the A369 Abbots Leigh Road, 15 minutes from Junction 19 of the M5.

Sat Nav: BS41 9JN

Facilities

Visitor centre with a cafe at the main house but I’d recommend saving your hunger for a trip to to the Mud Dock cafe.

Bristol Bikefest 2012 a Mountain Biking video by bikemagic

Trails

Starting in Ashton Court (home to popular events like the Bristol Bikefest), the main trail is the blue grade 6.6km Nova Trail. It’s a fun, flowing trail and, although you’ll still get splattered in the wet, it’s not the quagmire it was in the past. There are various red-graded branch offs but nothing too technical.

The red Super Nova extension adds on just shy of a kilometre and includes some fun lumps, bumps, berms, rock gardens and drops. In Leigh Woods, you’ve got the 3.6km blue grade Yer Tiz trail. It’s a real blast that’s enough fun at speed for more experienced riders but can be pootled round by the less confident. The 200m long red grade Gert Lush extension is narrow with some fairly challenging technical features and a good introduction to red grade trails. There’s also the 525m Keener Skills loop that caters for riders of all abilities wanting to hone their trail technique.

Regular trail building sessions are held by the Bristol Trails Group

Nearest bike shop

Mud Dock, Bristol

Other info

Re-hydrate with a half of Exhibition Cider at the infamous Coronation Tap in Clifton

Useful links

1SouthWest Cycle Adventure trail guide
Forest of Avon
Bristol Trails Group Facebook page
Better by Bike cycling website for Bristol, Bath, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire
Forestry Commission – Leigh Woods
Bristol City Council – Ashton Court Estate 

Location Map:

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  1. Matt Crook

    well, that’s a blast from the past – I set up the Bristol Trails Group with Anthony some 9 or 10 years ago, great to see that they’re still at it and that Leigh Woods finally has some official trails. Makes the loss of the 100ft long wooden walkway a bit easier to take – it still stings though :)

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