There is only one official trail within Guisborough Woods at present: the old black route that has had many years of wear and tear. This route is now in the process of being re-graded as red by the Forestry Commission and the members of MTB Guisborough are working alongside SingletrAction to repair, upgrade and add features to sections of the trail.
The loop is just shy of 8.5 miles long with around 1500′ of climbing in total. It consists mainly of forest fire roads with the odd rooty singletrack section along with upgraded armoured sections of trail, complete with rock gardens, towards the back end of the loop.
Starting from the Pinchinthorpe Visitor’s Centre (with Purple Mountain cafe), the ride zig-zags up into Guisborough Woods along fire roads (with lots of tempting natural trail/lines heading off at various points for those who are willing to explore and/or are riding with a local) and ends up beneath the local landmark of Highcliff Nab.
From here, there’s around half a mile of nice rooty singletrack and some testing whoops heading roughly southwest to rejoin the fire road. The toughest challenge of the route now lies ahead – the climb up the trail known as Secret Path.
Secret Path starts off with a steep lung-busting climb up a slippery logging track before flattening out and weaving in and out of the trees. From this point onwards, the technical aspect of your riding will be tested as the route climbs steeply upwards once more around a sharp double hairpin before continuing upwards over a very rocky and rooty section (correct line choice is critical!) before coming out at the top of The Unsuitables (a fire road leading onto the moors). Only around 250′ of climbing, but a good technical challenge!
Ignore the rubbly dual-track heading due west and instead aim for the opening into the woods, a little to the right of the dual-track. This shaded forest trail is a much nicer alternative to the dual-track and brings you out a little further up towards the main descents of the route.
The first downhill section is called Les’s – this is little more than a rutted logging route that the Forestry Commission has attempted to improve by putting in a couple of berms and some stone steps that can prove tricky to master. This is a trail that MTBG and SingletrAction are planning to improve over the coming months.
At the bottom of Les’s, cross the fire road and enter the little trail just to the left – this is where the bulk of the work has been done thus far – a nice little kicker leads into a rooty section through trees then a lovely little armoured section of trail complete with rock jumps, steps and some berms to help you carry speed through to the end of the trail.
You’ll once more hit a fire road, head right then look for the second trail on the left to ride a lovely little natural section that bounces you down to the fire road you first came in on. At this point, the official route follows the fire road back to the Visitor’s Centre and your riding is done.
Video provided by Dan Alton
Parking at Pinchinthorpe is free – access to the forest by bike is via the gated entrance to the right-hand side of the car park NOT via the pedestrian walkway immediately before the Visitor’s Centre building.
Guisborough Forest and Walkway Visitor Centre is in Guisborough Forest. The entrance to the visitor centre is about 300 metres along the A173 for its junction with the A171 just west of Guisborough. The entrance is signed. Guisborough is the nearest town or village.
OS Grid Reference: NZ 586152
For details of public transport visit http://www.transportdirect.info
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