New Gisburn Trails & Car Park – Grand Opening

Published on: Mar 05 2013 by Jon Swift

It’s been a long time coming but we’ve finally beaten the weather and the opening of the new trail, car park and skills loops is going to happen on Saturday the 23rd of March. There’s a bit of do planned with a number of activities to mark the opening along with a super celeb to come and officially open the trails by cutting something (brake hose, gear cable, hazard tape).

On the Saturday the fencing will come down and you’ll be able to park in the new car park, next to the new skills loops, connected to the existing trails by a couple of kilometres of new singletrack. Also opening properly will be theForest Den cafe based at Stephen Park and a 2 minute walk from the new car park, post ride bacon buttie anyone? Things will kick off around 10:00am with a number of planned activities including free skills sessions on the new loops, trail building demonstrations, a trail building Olympics as well as a chance to meet and talk to the volunteers and Forestry Commission staff behind the trails. The skills sessions will guided by some of the trial building volunteers who’ve been through Trail Cycle Leader and Mountain Bike Leader, funded by the Gisburn Forest Partnership and aim to put the new skills loops to full use. If you hadn’t already heard the special guest doing the honours will be Guy Martin.

So what’s new?

New singletrack, an additional 1.3km of blue graded connecting singletrack from the end of the blue berms near to Cocklett Hill, bypassing the fireroads to take you back to the new car park. From the new car park the trail winds up to an orientation view point where you can access the skills loops or head out onto the The 8. The trail drops, twisting through the trees until you get below the skills loops where it drops into a series of six connected berms, one after another. At the bottom of the berms the trail heads back into the trees, still losing height with additional twist. A switchback corner takes you across a new banked bridge and onto the final section that spits you out onto the fire road just before split between the Bottoms Beck and The 8 trails.


If that’s not enough the new volunteer built Swoopy section opened at the end of December cutting out a significant chunk of downhill fire road. This 800m section starts off mellow, following the stream, out from under the trees, nice flowing single track until you hit a small swoop across the stream From then on things liven up a bit. Out of the swoop and into a tight twisty section between the trees, quickly followed by a rock drop (the volunteers have plans for a black graded option here in the future), cross the old railway line and hug the side of the gully above the stream, get it wrong and it’s an early bath. A second rocky drop follows, a short climb and down a another bigger swoop, up the other side, a few more swoops including one through a really nasty patch of blackthorn bushes, you really don’t want to end up in there with their inch long thorns., brings you to the mega swoop. Here you have the choice of committing to the rocky, black graded mega swoop with the berm at the bottom (you’ll need to commit to carry your speed up the other side) or take the fast red alternate line. A final fast berm drop takes you over the stream and spits you out opposite park wood.

Openning Swoopy

Finishing touches on Swoopy


New Skills Loops, three loops leading downhill give you a taste of all the feature and riding you’ll encounter out on the main trail. Starting off fairly easy on the blue graded loop there are a number of rocky sections, step ups, some weird off camber corners and ground level boardwalk to get to grips with. Also included are one or two red graded optional extras. This loop leads onto the next red graded loop with black options, obviously with feature becoming more challenging. This finally leads you onto the black loop which includes one of Gisburn’s infamous log rides, a section of rock skinnies and a fiendishly difficult series of rocky steps up on a corner. You can ride all the loops one after another or just keeping circling a loop until you’ve nailed all the features.


New Car Park, sited further into the forest and next to Stephen Park. The larger 100 space, landscaped car park should put pay for the scramble for spaces on those sunny Saturday mornings. It’s well sited for the cafe and directly linked into the trails. It can be reached by taking the next right hand turn onto the fire road after the entrance to Cocklett Hill car park. Pay and display will also be in effect, currently at £3 pounds with all proceeds going back into facilities and trail maintenance (a new toilet block is also on the cards). A pay and display machine will also be going into Cocklett Hill car park. New barriers will restrict access to the forest from the Tosside end but at £3 going to good cause it really would be rude to try and avoid paying it! If you really don’t want to pay put in three 4 hour dig days and you’ll get a free annual pass for the following year (an extra two dig days extends the pass to Whinlatter, Grizedale, Hamsterly and Kielder). Have a look on the Gisburn Volunteers page for more information.

New Cafe, The Forest Den Cafe based in Stephen Park is going to be opening. Right next to the trail head and open Wednesday to Sunday there will be food on site pre, during and post ride.

All worth waiting for, we think so, these latest developments will really put Gisburn on the map and it shouldn’t end there. The volunteers are embarking on some repair and maintenance work before starting on some new singletrack.

Submitted Comments

I’m a bit concerned about the ‘New barriers’ at the tosside entrance. If these are going to be used to restrict access to the center of the ‘8’ loop, where the freeride and DH course are situated. Its going to discourage the use of these sections due to not wanting to pedal a 42lb dh/fr bike from the new car park and back! Maybe you could consider the full spectrum of riders that visit the forest center and their needs. Is there any chance of arranging a proper parking near by? Also as anyone considered if there is an accidient on the freeride / DH sections that require ambulance access via tosside, how much the new barriers will delay them. This area does need ready access for ambulances as I have witnessed in the pass. I look forward to your reply. – Tony BurtonTony – There’s no right of way for bikes or cars up the lane from Tosside. UPM Tilhill, who are responsible for the lane are not happy with riders using it due to worries over the possibility of a timber lorry / cyclist incident and the local farmer who uses the lane regularly has problems with people blocking access to his fields.

Proper parking near to the Hope line and DH sections is unlikely for a variety of reasons, building a car park, even a small one is surprisingly expensive. Additional parking and official access into the forest would require both planning permission and the land owners consent (United Utilities own the land not the Forestry Commission). Securing permission would be time consuming and not guaranteed. Vehicles coming further into the forest also has the potential to cause conflict with other riders, walkers, horse riders and and other tenants. The Forestry Commission would also like people to park in the official car parks and pay the parking charge (all funds will be going back into trails and facilities maintenance) and minimise issues with the forest’s neighbours.

The safety concern is understandable and has been thought about. The local Mountain Rescue Team have access to the forest and in the event of an emergency can open the gates. The forest also has strong links with the Cave Rescue Organisation who attend a good number of the call outs in the forest, so access in an emergency shouldn’t be compromised. – PMBA

This is all ace, and I don’t want to add a negative comment, but I do hope this doesn’t impact too harshly on the Dog & Partridge – nice people there. – Dave HeygarthDave – a planning application to turn the D & P into a hotel is currently going through the appeals process so I don’t think the cafe will have a major impact – PMBA

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