Explore, then explore some more.

The weather hasn’t been kind in May. We’ve had temperatures way below seasonal norms and quite a lot of rain. This is undoubtedly one of those “expected anomalies” which enthusiasts of Global Warming Theory use to “prove” their hypothesis. Still, it will never stop a determined mountain biker so I took the mainly off road route to Brinscall Woods with the intention of exploring. My history here is that I found 2 superb downhills at either end of the woods but never looked at what lay in between. When I did I found some fabulous riding so my mission today was to ensure I’d left no stone unturned and scour the area again for any undiscovered gems.

I could tell from the start that the surface was going to be damp. In an area dominated by clay soil this will always mean that it’s slippery. Not a problem since sliding is the nirvana of mountain biking for me. I climbed the gravel fire road then rode up a quality downhill section. Here I rode a circuit 3 times. It may be short, taking only around 2 minutes to complete, but it has an exquisite, twisting descent followed by a gentle climb. The sensation of speed is fantastic, even if you’re not actually going particularly quickly. The surface is generally smooth loam, which is great for finding the limit of grip. I then moved on to my current favourite downhill, or at least the first half. I was all over the place on the slimy surface and then climbed back to the top for a different descent.

The woodland was formerly farmland until the Liverpool water company bought the area. They wanted to avoid animal and human waste from contaminating the water supply so refused to renew the leases of many small farms.
The ancient gatepost is intricately carved to provide a catch for the gate.

My second descent was not nearly as twisty or entertaining but I’m very glad that I took it. I ensured that my knowledge of this part of the woodland was complete and I can always take the better route in future. As a reward I still had the excellent second half of the descent to ride and then finished over Healey Nab with the purpose built trails. I’d strongly encourage riders to explore every rideable trail because you may find a treasure, even in an area you’ve ridden for years.

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