Destination: Hamsterley, County Durham
There’s quality riding for almost every type of rider at Hamsterley. From mile munching lycra clad XC whippets to full-on gnarly downhill dudes, the only people who really miss out, with the green grade trail now shut for being to steep and rough, are families looking for a flat, short and gentle tootle around the woods.
How to get there
The forest is signposted off the A68, north of West Auckland. Cars are charged £3 each (£5 on bank holiday weekends) on the Forest Drive to access the forest and its facilities.
Sat Nav: DL13 3NL
Visitor centre with toilets and a tea room.
With the green trail now defunct, the 15km blue is Hamsterley’s opening gambit. There’s a bit of singletrack at the start but it’s mostly wide stony tracks. The red extends the blue up to 22km and, although there are some slightly technical bits and bobs, it's mainly more wide track fare and it’s the distance, climbing and potentially wind that make it a challenge.
The 11 km black is an entirely different matter and a fun, if short, technical blast. You’re either climbing or descending and mostly on steep ground. Descend Hamsterley is the dedicated downhill area and has its own car park and manager. Carry straight on through Hamsterley Village and the car park is on your right after about three miles.
Check out the Facebook page for more information about uplift services and the runs.
Nearest bike shop
Wood N Wheels (on-site) www.woodnwheels.org.uk
This is Danny Hart's stomping ground so, if you’re lucky, you might get to see him ripping up the trails.