New trail opens at Haldon Forest Park

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Haldon Forest Park near Exeter now has a new trail. Called the Ridge Ride, it’s a 9km (6 mile) route. It’s graded red and is described as “highly technical”, incorporating rock gardens, berms and steep descents. We’ve learned to take these trail gradings with a pinch of salt – there doesn’t appear to be any baseline or standard, so the stated grades vary wildly between centres. Clearly it’s not a flat, wide gravel track though…

Haldon Forest Park Manager, Louise Bell says, “The new bike trail is going to be a huge asset to Haldon Forest Park. It will complement the existing network of trails that we have. The trail is very technical and will appeal to experienced riders whilst the other trails are more for families.”

That’s the good news. The bad news is that the existing “red” trail, opened less than four years ago, has been closed, joining the freeride area that shut down earlier this year. The old trail was seven miles long, so the new developments have actually decreased the total trail mileage by a mile.

The development of the Ridge Ride was helped by funds from Devon County Council and Devon Renaissance. It’s a pity they couldn’t have found a few quid to keep the old trail open too – Haldon Forest Park runs to 3,500 acres so we’re pretty sure there’d be room for two. Still, it’s only £1.50 to park, a new cafe opened in April, you can hire a bike on site and there’s a Go Ape ropes-and-ladders thing should you run out of trails to ride…

More details at www.forestry.gov.uk/haldonforestpark.

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