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Kielder builds UK's longest downhill track

Kielder builds UK's longest downhill track


Building England’s one of longest downhill mountain biking routes on Deadwater Fell, Kielder, Northumberland


The race is on. Trail builders are embarking on an ambitious attempt to build the longest competition downhill route in the Kielder Forest.

The planned two mile route should be finished by October in the Kielder Water & Forest Park. The Forestry Commission is working with Northern Downhill on the exciting new trail, which will have its starting line on the 2,000 foot Northumbrian summit of Deadwater Fell.

“It will be the biggest vertical drop of any downhill trail built in England,” said Philip Grimes from Northern Downhill.  “It will be a major challenge getting it done, but the potential to create something really special in Kielder is the incentive.”

Britain is a hotbed for downhill biking and the current world champion, Danny Hart, comes from Redcar in North East England.  He cut his teeth in another Forestry Commission woodland – Hamsterley Forest, near Bishop Auckland.

Alex MacLennan, Recreation and  Public Affairs Manager (North East) with Forestry Commission, said: “Kielder lends itself to superlatives and the new trail will be a spectacular addition to the mountain biking scene in Britain.  The forest park already boasts the country’s longest family and intermediate bike routes, the highest cross country trail and the toughest endurance event, helping to make it a prime mountain bike venue. Hosting downhill events throughout the winter each year is key in attracting attract more visitors to the area at a traditionally quiet time of year”

Northern Downhill is staging five races in northern Britain this year, culminating in a final joust for prizes at Kielder on 20 and 21 October, when the new trail – which will be used for competitions only – will be employed for the first time.  Bike fans are being urged to join weekend trail building sessions.  To find out more contact Philip Grimes on

More details of bike routes at Kielder can be found at

  1. Dave

    So let me get this straight in my head, they are building the longest tarck in the UK (and hopefully the best), they want people to help dig / make it, but then it wont be open to the general public !!!!!!
    Now somehow I think they are missing a trick here, why wont there be a uplift service or at least have it open to the public and if it is only open on certain days for ‘Racing only’ then how do they intend to draw more people / riders to the area!

    Surely by opening to the public they can raise more cash by charging to use it (I for one would travel all the way up North to use it) and then they would have more funds to put back into biking!


    1. Ruaridh


      You are a twat.

      Ruaridh Wells

      1. Dave

        I guess I not the only twat, I take you race and its a case of ‘im alright Jack’ as I will be using it.

        Just in case your thinking I turn up and ride other peoples stuff ‘WRONG’

        We have bulit no end of runs and good quaility Northshore stuff at out local woods and we let anyone use it, Enough said!
        Yous the TWAT

  2. Steve

    I agree Dave they want help to build it and to keep the public off it ??? WTF. Talk about having your cake and eating it.

    I must be a TWAT as well eh Ruaridh ?


  3. Dale

    I live very near kielder but choose to go to glentress/innerleithen etc as kielder have missed a trick, i even ended up argueing with one of the guys there who after expressing my dissapointment told me off as ” its not all about berms and jumps you know” so this downhill thing does,nt surprise me, dam shame as i think kielder has the potential to be the best in the country. I am an old twat by the way whos been biking since MAG 10,s were a new thang

  4. Alan

    The trail I hear is subject to conditions of use due to conservation reasons. The trail will be open 3 or 4 times a year during autumn and winter but not from the spring summer, thought downhillers liked cooler weather…..

    Kielderhead is international area of conservation protection and a local told me the FC and NDH have worked well together to work with the constraints and still got a cracking route…

  5. James

    I agree – I’m another Kielder local and think they’ve completely lost the plot here. It goes against all the principles of access that FC are meant to adhere to. However, I think the real issue here isn’t FC and certainly not NDH – this is down to Natural England, who are once again the villain of the peice!! They’ve blocked FC time and again at Kielder and at Thrunton, where a chairlift was on the cards. Despite Natural England’s supposed remit to help people use the outdoors for recreation, what it ususally means is rambling. They pretty much hate mountain bikes, even though the evidence points to bikes and trails being very low impact environmentally (less than hikers!). My advice – write to NE’s regional office in Newcastle and demand an explanation! If they get enough complaints, they will buckle under the bad publicity. We’ll have to fight to get our trails and FC are on our side.

  6. paul forsythe

    trail only open 3 or 4 times a year, race use only……….waste of money…………….waste of time. dogshit!!!!!!!

    1. Phil NDH

      Sorry guys only just found these messages.
      Hopefully I can clear up some of the confusion.
      Carl and myself set up Northern Downhill over 5 years ago as we knew the potential for downhill at Kielder.
      Deadwater fell is part of the Kielderhead site of special scientific interest (sssi) and does have one of the highest levels of protection in europe. Working in partnership with the Forestry Commission and Natural England we have managed to negotiate an acceptable route that can be accessed for race only. Although not ideal we feel it is a big step in the right direction. NDH would love the route to be a permanent feature as much as the rest of you, but you have to walk before we run and this is our chance to show locals and partners we are worthy and appreciate what we have been offered. NDH and our hardcore crew of friends have been clearing the route by hand and to very little expense other than petrol and tools. Please try to see a positive to what we are doing I am certain the end result will be worth our effort!
      cheers Phil NDH


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