Mountain Biking in Forest of Dean

A guide to mountain biking in Forest of Dean 

As one of the UK’s most picturesque and rural locations, the Forest of Dean is a haven for walkers and cyclists alike. With rolling hills and picturesque countryside all around the Forest is the oldest oak forest in the country and features a number of great mountain bike trails and events catering to riders of all abilities and ages.

In this guide we’ll be providing you with all you need to know about mountain biking in the Forest of Dean including the types of trails available to test your skills, the equipment you’ll need and how to sign up to the next event.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Billinger

Before You Arrive

As it is such a rural part of the British countryside the Forest of Dean is filled with all kinds of obstacles and potential hazards. The woodland itself is enough of a challenge, but if you’re to make the most of your experience mountain biking in the Forest of Dean then you’ll need to be prepared. Here are our suggestions for a few essentials to take with you:

  • Helmet, knee and elbow pads – safety is of paramount importance so make sure that you don’t just have them with you, ensure that you’ve got them on whenever you get on your bike.
  • Puncture repair kit – there is nothing worse than suffering a puncture in the middle of the Forest, miles from your campsite or hotel. Carry a good quality puncture repair kit so that you can repair the tyre(s) and keep riding.
  • Waterproof clothing – the weather can change in an instant so be sure to take, and wear, your waterproof clothing to stay as warm and dry as possible.
  • Mobile phone – you should have a mobile phone with you enabling you to contact emergency services if you suffer an accident.
  • GPS tracker / map – in order to find out where you are on your chosen trail you’ll need either a GPS tracker or a traditional map to find your way.
  • Food and drink – if it’s a long-distance trail then you’ll need to take food and drink with you to keep hydrated and your energy levels up.
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses and medication – you’d be amazed how easy it can be to burn while riding. Apply sunscreen and wear sunglasses when necessary so you can see where you’re going, and be sure to take any essential medication you need to take.


Experts Top Tips

Before you tackle any of the Forest of Dean trails it’s worth taking note of what a few experts and experienced riders have to say. Their experiences could prove to be invaluable and with many hours spent tackling the various trails who better to listen to?

Angela from Fly Up Downhill advises riders to always remember your safety equipment including helmet and gloves, as well as packing plenty of water and food such as energy bars in order to get you through a long and challenging day out on the trails.

More great advice comes from Max Darkins at Rough Ride Guide who advises all riders to pack a spare inner tube and a pump just in case you sustain a puncture while you’re out on the trail – there’s nothing worse than finding yourself stranded in the middle of the Forest of Dean without a bike to ride and miles from the centre.


Mountain Bike Trails in Forest of Dean

We’ve compiled a list of the most popular routes and trails to try in Forest of Dean ranging from beginner to advanced and expert:


Beginner Mountain Bike Trails

Name: The Family Trail
Distance: 11-miles
Terrain: Gravel tracks and short climbs. With connecting routes to local villages the Family Trail is suitable for all ages and abilities.

Download the trail map here


Video courtesy of  Peter Kershaw

Name: The Verderer’s Trail
Distance: 7-miles
Terrain: All-weather surface with fast, flowing corners. Gradually winds uphill before a steep descent to the cycle centre.

Download the trail map here


Video courtesy of robertharriman

Advanced Mountain Bike Trails

Name: The Ski Run
Distance: 353 metres
Terrain: The first and most infamous downhill trail in the Forest of Dean. Short but packed with rocks, roots, turns and jumps.

Download the trail map here


Video courtesy of rjshield

Name: The Corkscrew
Distance: 727 metres
Terrain: A short, sharp downhill section that leads into a series of roots and a swooping turn before finishing with a high jump.

Download the trail map here


Video courtesy of Tom Zandt-Valentine

Expert Mountain Bike Trails

Name: Endo
Distance: 335 metres
Terrain: Following a sharp descent down a gravel trail riders face tight switchbacks with jumps over roots before a steep drop to finish.

Download the trail map here


Video courtesy of Tom Zandt-Valentine

Name: Sheep Skull
Distance: 778 metres
Terrain: A steep downhill route from start to finish filled with jumps, thick roots and sweeping turns.

Download the trail map here


Video courtesy of Liam Sheppard

More information on all of the trails, organised rides and top tips for tackling the various routes can be found at the Royal Dean Forest Cycling Club website.


Mountain Bike Events in the Forest of Dean in 2017

Once you’ve had a look at the mountain bike trails in the Forest of Dean and you’re feeling relatively confident, you may be interested in entering one of the many events being staged at the venue throughout the year. If so, take a look through the calendar below to find the perfect event for you this year (These events are suitable for experienced riders only):







  • Haibike Mini Enduro Series 2017, Round 3
    • Date: 22nd October 2017
    • Closing Date for Entries:
    • Event Type: Gravity Endurance
    • Venue: Forest of Dean Mountain Bike Trails
    • Cost of Entry: £
    • For more details visit:


  • 661 Mini Downhill, Round 1
    • Date: 3rd December 2017
    • Closing Date for Entries: 2nd December 2017
    • Event Type: Downhill
    • Venue: Forest of Dean Mountain Bike Trails
    • Cost of Entry: £40
    • For more details visit:


Whether you’re entering yourself into one of the many exhilarating mountain bike events taking place in the Forest of Dean this year or you’re just looking to test your skills on some of the trails it’s vital to have the right bike and safety equipment for the job. Check out the full range of the very latest mountain bikes, clothing and equipment at GO Outdoors today.