Why a sort of review? Cos I only “sort of” rode there.
Being a little pushed for time but also being in the neighbourhood of one of the first “trail centres” I heard of when I started mountain biking a few years ago, meant that I had to give it some sort of a visit. And the sun was shining so it would have been rude not to, even if I was only able to stay for an hour or so. So here goes:
Bucket list is a strong word, but Lee Quarry has been on my list ever since I started mountain biking – only around 6 years ago. It must have been featured in a magazine at the time and it struck me as a cool looking place. As I am from the valleys of South Wales, I am used to and appreciate a rugged industrial landscape and my heart is warmed and my soul fed when I see the scarred countryside re-purposed for leisure and tourism. I also love the look of a play ground for me and my bike!
I followed my SatNat to Bacup and the postcode given on the PMBA website and I arrived in a deserted lay by of sorts with some litter, a mattress and piles of hardcore (no not that!). Was this really the right place? A battered old sign marked a gap in the grass and bushes, with a vague map on it. I looked like the right place, so I kitted up and rode off.
After a very early start and a long day of driving and meetings, I really didn’t need to be greeted with a long loose stoney climb? I know every descent starts with some sort of payment from my legs and lungs so I climbed.
There was nobody here to ask the way or advice so I was totally in the hands of the sign posts. This was Ok, but the trail is sort of made up of a number of loops and there are a few forks in the track from time to time that don’t really give you any clue where they go or why. At one point I followed a sign up a climb and a descent down to the same spot – there was no obvious continuation from here and I was surprised not to find some fool on his 20th loop wondering how to escape the infinity! 🙂 I muddled on and found a way onwards – sort of.
I started along a track that looked like it could take me back to the car park and asked some girls on horses if I was headed the right way and was told:
“If you want to go that way then yes. If you want the other route then no” – Brilliant!
Thankfully the Red and Black graded sections were clearly marked so there were no technical surprises on the trail. Though I think these could just have easily been marked as Blue and Red, as the Black sections didn’t really require any significant commitment or speed in my opinion.
I was limited on time so didn’t really have the opportunity to explore the extended Crag Quarry loop – though I didn’t see a sign that showed me how to navigate there anyway! I spent my time sessioning some little runs and jumps and generally had a really good time playing on my own, on my bike in the sun.
There’s plenty to do here and with some decent weather its a really nice spot to be, I can imagine it to be pretty bleak in the winter or on a wet day as there is not 1 spot of shelter.
The whole area is like a great big skills loop, with neatly crafted features set out in easily repeatable sections. There’s also a pump track, more suited to smaller wheels (BMX) I think, some trials obstacles and just about anything you could expect really including some unofficial short cuts that add some gnar and real Black grading to some sections. The final flowy trail down off the hill side is great fun and given some more time I’d have loved to have had another go.
If this was a little closer I’d go back in a heart beat to session some of my fave bits and to explore some of the wider area that I missed. Since my visit to Hebden Bridge last year I’ve always wanted to plan a weekend up here – maybe Lee Quarry could be the perfect excuse to make the trip back up (Bacup LOL ) ….
My trip to Trouser Town last year – https://timfromwales.blog/2016/05/12/tuesday-night-in-trouser-town/
Anyway, here’s a quick video of my visit (warning I am topless for a few brief seconds)…
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