Thetford Forest

Seeing as I was over Cambridge way at the weekend I thought I’d drive the extra 40 minutes or so to Thetford Forest to check out some of the marked out mountain bike trails over there. As well as some basic routes for all the family there are a couple of purpose built MTB trails, they’re marked up as ‘black’ and ‘red’ routes according to their difficulty although it turns out this was a bit of a red herring. I set off firstly on the black route, expecting some difficult and technical trails but sadly that wasn’t the case. The route is currently quite badly eroded (from the rain?) and is basically about 12 miles of flat and very bumpy singletrack. With a bit of speed you can stand up and pump through the pot holes, bumps and roots but this soon becomes tiring. Sitting down isn’t much better and was pretty uncomfortable and tedious even with 120mm of rear suspension. The route almost redeemed itself towards the end with a short technical descent labelled ‘The Beast’ which had a few reasonably steep drops and a few nice swoopy bends.

After returning to the car park and with a little bit of time on my hands I decided to give the red route a try. This was instantly more interesting and enjoyable than the black route. It’s maintained by a bunch of guys called TIMBER and flows much smoother, with plenty of nice little banked turns, raised sections and small jumps. There is always a limit though to what can be done with a totally flat environment. Thetford Forest is completely flat so there are pretty much no descents or ascents, although it goes some way to making up for this with literally miles and miles of nice singletrack (on the red route, at least). Time only allowed for the short version of the red trail unfortunately, so I was back at the car within about 45 minutes. I’d like to have tried the longer version of the red route but I’m not sure it’s worth the 1:40 drive out there again from Milton Keynes. If I’m ever over that way again…
Overall an enjoyable couple of hours and it made a nice change from my usual local trails but not the most interesting mountain biking I’ve ever done. The trail difficulty ratings are also a tad ambitious to say the least.

2 Replies to “Thetford Forest”

  1. There is always a limit though to what can be done with a totally flat environment. Thetford Forest is completely flat

    I was wondering. I had thought that mountain biking required something that resembled mountains. My recollection of Cambridgeshire does not include anything that does.

  2. Indeed. Mountains are few and far between round this part of the world so generally I'm not too fussy, but even so Cambridgeshire still struggles to deliver much in the way of interesting inclines.

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