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Nestled in the heart of the legendary Sherwood Forest, Sherwood Pines Forest Park offers more than just a leafy canopy and echoes of folklore; it’s a haven for mountain bikers of all stripes. From the laughter of families embarking on their first trail to the focused expressions of seasoned bikers navigating a challenging bend, the park is alive with the spirit of adventure.
At Sherwood Pines, the MTB trails are as diverse as the riders they attract. Whether you’re looking for a serene ride through ancient woodlands on the Maid Marion Family Cycle Route or the adrenaline rush of the red-graded Outlaw Trail, there’s a path here that seems tailor-made for your wheels. And it’s not just about the trails; the park is a full-service biking destination complete with bike hire, a welcoming café to refuel, and ample parking for your convenience.
As you pedal through Sherwood Pines, you’re not just riding in any forest—you’re part of a storied landscape that has captivated imaginations for centuries. Sherwood Forest’s natural beauty is the perfect backdrop for a day of mountain biking, where every trail promises a new discovery.
So, whether you’re a local rider looking for a great day out or a visitor eager to explore the famed forest tracks, our comprehensive guide to the Sherwood Pines MTB trails is your starting point for an unforgettable journey on two wheels.
Sherwood Pines MTB Trails
At the heart of the East Midlands, Sherwood Pines stands as a beacon for mountain biking enthusiasts. With a network of trails that cater to every level of experience, the Sherwood Pines Trail Centre is a hub of two-wheeled activity, seamlessly integrating with the National Cycle Network Route to offer a gateway to the wider world of off-road adventure.
Here, the trails are meticulously crafted to honour the skill spectrum of mountain bikers. The Maid Marion Family Cycle Route offers a gentle introduction to the sport, providing an easy family trail that weaves through the forest’s enchanting scenery. For those seeking a bit more thrill, the Robin Hood Adventure Trail ups the ante with a series of engaging features set along a blue route that promises fun and a touch of challenge.
Progressing in difficulty, The Outlaw Trail, known to many by its former name, the Kitchener Trail, presents a red route that demands more from its riders. It’s a trail where British cycling’s competitive spirit thrives, with technical trail features that have been the proving grounds for many local riders. For the daredevils, the Dirt Jump and Downhill Areas await, offering a place to push limits and perfect those gravity-defying moves.
And for those who seek to refine their technique, the Skills Loop is an essential stop. It’s a place where cyclists of all abilities can practice and improve, ensuring that their next time on the trails will be even more rewarding.
Maid Marion Family Cycle Trail
A Gentle Journey Through Sherwood’s Heart
- Length: 3 miles (approx.)
- Grade: Green (Easy)
- Terrain: Smooth forest paths with minimal inclines.
Designed as an easy family trail, the Maid Marion route is the quintessential introduction to the joys of cycling in Sherwood Pines. It’s a short walk in the cycling world, perfect for young riders or those new to the saddle. The path is wide, well-maintained, and dotted with benches for restful pauses, ensuring a leisurely ride amidst the whispering pines.
Robin Hood Adventure Trail
A Moderately Merry Adventure
- Length: 6 miles (approx.)
- Grade: Blue (Moderate)
- Terrain: A mix of compacted gravel paths and natural forest tracks.
The Robin Hood Adventure Trail invites riders with a bit more confidence to test their mettle. It’s a blue route that weaves through the forest with a series of rolling hills and gentle technical features, like shallow berms and small rollers, perfect for developing skills and confidence. It’s an adventure trail that promises both fun and a touch of challenge without being too daunting.
The Outlaw Trail (formerly known as the Kitchener Trail)
For the Intrepid Spirits Seeking a Challenge
- Length: 13 miles (approx.)
- Grade: Red (Difficult)
- Terrain: A combination of tight singletrack, challenging climbs, and technical descents.
The Outlaw Trail is the crown jewel of the Sherwood Pines MTB trails for the experienced mountain biker. It’s a red route that demands technical prowess and stamina, featuring sections that will test your handling skills with roots, drops, and rock gardens. The trail is a testament to the hard work of British cycling enthusiasts and offers a great experience for those looking to push their limits. It’s a fantastic trail that rewards the brave with exhilarating descents and a sense of accomplishment.
Dirt Jump and Downhill Area
Adrenaline and Airtime Await
A dedicated zone with a series of jumps, from tabletops to doubles, and a downhill run designed to challenge and thrill.
The Dirt Jump and Downhill Area is where mountain bikers can truly let loose. The downhill zone is a red trail, packed with features that demand skill and nerve. It’s a place where local riders and visitors alike can push their boundaries, practice jumps, and perfect their downhill technique. The area is a hub of excitement, often buzzing with the energy of riders psyching themselves up for the next run.
A circuit with a variety of technical features, including rock gardens, drops, and see-saws.
The Skills Loop at Sherwood Pines is a great resource for riders of all abilities. It’s a concentrated course where you can practice technical skills in a safe and controlled environment. Whether you’re a beginner looking to get a feel for different trail features or an advanced rider fine-tuning your technique, the Skills Loop is tailored to facilitate growth and confidence in your riding ability.
Facilities Near the Sherwood Pines MTB Trails
Sherwood Pines isn’t just about the trails; it’s a full-service mountain biking destination designed to cater to every need of the biking enthusiast. Here’s what you can expect in terms of facilities:
Parking and Accessibility
- Car Park: Ample parking is available, with easy access to the trailheads. The car park is well-signposted from the main road, ensuring a stress-free start to your day. Use postcode NG21 9JL for the main car park.
- Accessibility: The visitor centre and main facilities are fully accessible, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the beauty of Sherwood Pines.
Bike Hire and Shop
- Sherwood Pines Cycles: Located at the heart of the trail centre, here you can hire a range of bikes, from beginner models to high-end demo bikes. Whether you’re looking to try mountain biking for the first time or want to test out a potential new purchase, they have you covered.
- Shop: The on-site shop stocks a wide range of biking essentials and spares. From inner tubes to hydration packs, you’ll find everything you need for a day on the trails.
Café and Refreshments
- Café: After a hard ride, refuel at the café with a selection of hot and cold refreshments, snacks, and meals. The café is a hub where cyclists gather to share stories of their rides and plan their next adventure.
- Picnic Areas: For those who prefer to bring their own food, there are several picnic areas dotted around the park, perfect for a family lunch or a quick snack between rides.
- Visitor Centre: The visitor centre is not just a place to find more information about the trails; it’s also where you can learn about the forest and its history. Interactive displays and helpful staff make it a must-visit for families and curious riders.
- Toilets and Showers: Clean toilet facilities and showers are available so you can freshen up after a day of riding.
- Other Activities: Sherwood Pines is also home to walking paths, play areas for children, and even a Go Ape! high ropes course, making it an enjoyable destination for the whole family.
Planning Your Visit to Sherwood Pines
A trip to Sherwood Pines is an adventure waiting to happen, and a little preparation can ensure that your visit is as smooth as it is enjoyable. Here’s how to make the most of your mountain biking experience:
When to Visit
- Best Times: The trails at Sherwood Pines are open year-round, but the best riding conditions are typically from late spring to early autumn when the weather is milder and the trails are dry.
- Avoiding Crowds: Weekdays are usually less busy than weekends. If you prefer a quieter ride, aim for an early morning start.
What to Take
- Essential Gear: A helmet is a must, and gloves are highly recommended. Also, consider knee and elbow pads if you’re planning to tackle the more technical trails or the Dirt Jump and Downhill Area.
- Preparation: Check your bike beforehand or rent one from Sherwood Pines Cycles. Ensure your tires are properly inflated and your brakes are in good working order.
- Weather Considerations: The weather can be changeable, so dress in layers and bring waterproof gear just in case. The forest provides some shelter, but it’s best to be prepared for all conditions.
Making the Most of Your Time
- Trail Planning: Decide in advance which trails you want to tackle based on your skill level and energy. It’s better to enjoy a few trails fully than to rush through them all.
- Facilities: Make use of the bike repair stations for any last-minute tweaks. The visitor centre can provide updates on trail conditions and any events that might affect your visit.
- Local Knowledge: Chat with the staff at the bike hire or in the café for insider tips on the best trails and current conditions.
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Make it a Weekend Adventure
Why limit your Sherwood Pines experience to a single day when you can turn it into a full weekend of outdoor exploration? With so much to see and do in the surrounding area, a weekend stay gives you the perfect opportunity to delve deeper into the heart of Britain’s legendary forest and beyond.
So, pack your bags, grab your bike, and set off for a weekend that promises to be full of discovery and adventure.