I set off for an early start to meet some friends and ride at the Forest of Dean. The newly extended Freeminer trail was our main reason for visiting as well as riding the extremely popular Verderers.
I got to the trail center and parked up at 7.56am – first car in the car park which costs £3.50 at this time of the year. We had arranged to meet at 9.30 but I had decided to get there early and do some riding on my own and to specifically familiarise myself with the extension to the Freeminer loop. I hadn’t been to the FOD (Forest of Dean) for a while and I was keen to refresh my memories.
It was real treat to be at the car park on my own and be the only rider on the trail. The FOD trails are really popular and can get quite busy at the weekend – a full car park by 10am is not unusual so this was great! The loop is only about 4 miles (6km) but there are some steep climbs and loads of technical features. Roots and switchbacks challenge you on the way up and drops and fast berms entertain you on the way down. And in between there are some great little jumps and table tops! The Table Tops is a new highlight section of this trail. It allows riders of all abilities to ride a technical trail full of easily rollable features, but for the adventurous you can make some more of it and get some air beneath your tyres which I tried to do with mixed success. This isn’t a fault of the trail just limits in my abilities and confidence. However, this section of the trail has since been closed for some urgent repair work such as been its interest from the more adventurous trail riders.
The Freeminer Trail really has a bit of everything combining the table tops, berms and a few wooden boardwalk sections with some great natural features including the brilliant final twisty rooty gully and a few stretches of singletrack – you have a short but feature packed trail that takes about 40 mins to get around. During that 40 mins you get a great work out on the bike – swapping between climbing and descending (a dropper post is certainly handy here) and with plenty of opportunities to jump and drop for all abilities.
I loved it and it looked awesome in the low morning sunshine.
For more info on the trail and how to get there check the link below:
This review was first written with slightly less words on Tim’s personal blog on the 5th October.