Review by: Imperial on 5 August 2013
A shared route. It doesn't work.
I spent a frustrating, if short, time on this route.
A route shared with walkers and horse riders. Anyone think that is going to work? No, of course not. The majority of my 40 minutes riding this route was spent slowing down to avoid hitting dogs and their owners and slowing down and waiting to pass groups of walkers who do not want to give you any space. It doesn't help that some sections are very narrow and that the path runs in both directions the whole way.
The signage is poor, even by Forestry Commission standards. Several times I arrived at junctions that had no signs and had no choice but to guess. It's another forest where a coloured trail branches in various directions but there are no maps at junctions, so you have no reference point to make a decision which way to go.
Ride wise....boring. It suffers the Chopwell curse that the start is down down down and more down. Then up up up and more up. And that is it. Chopwell sorely needs a few quid investment to run a road down the valley with one or two more car parks so cyclists can choose to set off from either the bottom or part way up the valley. There's just no enjoyment, because your off roaring downhill with no chance for warming up and your first pedalling is to come all the way back up the valley. Not fun.
Oh...did I mention the horse 'mess''? Everywhere. I know regular bridleways are open to walkers/cyclists/horses, but Chopwell is more of a park than true countryside. It isn't right for this amount of excrement to be literally all over paths that walkers and cyclists will go through. It's everywhere.
I combined this 'ride' (aka dog/person dodging) with the red trail (all 5 minutes of it) and the only conclusion I can reach is that the cycling facilities are no more than a token gesture. I don't know if they either do not really want us there or are heavily restricted in the use of the wood for dedicated cycle paths, but I will not be going back. Why bother packing the car to carry the bike all the way here for around 1.5hrs poor cycling on shared paths when I can add a simple 30 mins extra to my drive and head to Hamsterley for a full day out on three grades of mile upon mile of cycle-only trails?
Review by: oodboo on 21 August 2009
Easy trail for novice riders
This trail is easy to navigate with no difficult sections. There are one or two climbs but nothing too hard. Chopwell has a lot more to offer the experienced rider if you know where to find it.