Gisburn Forest 

Riding - Gisburn Forest

Trail marker post at Gisburn Forest

This Weather Widget is provided by the Met Office


Key Information:

Gisburn Forest Bike Trails LogoGisburn Forest, set in the Bowland Forest area of outstanding natural beauty is home to a cracking selection of trail centre single track riding whilst still maintain a natural, wild feel.

Home of the now famous berms of Hully Gully and the tight and twisty lines of Homebaked make this a great destination for those seeking a good XC challenge, but there also plenty for those who like to get their wheels off the ground on the Hope Line and DH lines.

How to Get Here:
    Trail marker post at Gisburn Forest

For Sat Nav:

Stephen Park (new car park) - BB7 4TS
Dog & Partridge - BD23 4SQ

From the South / West:

Head past Clitheroe on the A59. Take the left hand turn signposted Sawley (on the hill with the crawler lane). Go through Sawley (passing the ruins of the Abbey) going over the bridge crossing the river Ribble. After the bridge keep right. After approximately 3km turn sharp left behind the Copy Nook Hotel onto Barret Hill Brow. Take care as the road becomes progressively narrower from here on and is singletrack in places. Keep right through the houses onto Holden Lane. Follow this road up on to the moors, at the fork junction keep right onto Dugdale Lane. Drop down the other side to the cross roads. Go straight across and the fire road to the Hub car park will be on your right after approximately 1km (after Cocklet Hill car park).

From the North:

Come in on the A65 from Skipton. In Long Preston turn right on to the B6478 passing the station. Continue on this road through Wigglesworth. Bear right at the fork junction onto Becks Brow and continue onto Tosside. After passing through Tosside after approximately 1km you will come to a cross roads. Turn right and the fire road to the Hub car park will be on your right after approximately 1km (after Cocklet Hill car park).

From the East:

Come in on the A59 passing through the Village of Gisburn. Turn right just before Gisburn Auction market onto a minor road (Mill Lane) sign posted for Bolton by Bowland. Continue on to and through Bolton By Bowland. Approximately half a kilometre after Bolton By Bowland turn sharp right at the Copy Nook Hotel onto Barret Hill Brow. Take care as the road becomes progressively narrower from here on and is singletrack in places. Keep right through the houses onto Holden Lane. Follow this road up on to the moors, at the fork junction keep right onto Dugdale Lane. Drop down the other side to the cross roads. Go straight across and the fire road to the Hub car park will be on your right after approximately 1km (after Cocklet Hill car park).

Hully Gully Gisburn


Trail Map

Trail Status:

18-01-14  Hully Gully is as usual suffering from the weather, it does at this time every year.  If possible it's worth avoiding if it's been wet, use the alternate red descent. The rest of trails are in good condition..

Trail Closures

All the trails are open, but please keep off any new trails still under construction. Also be aware of the construction work in the main car park.

Please be aware that the woodwork sections can slippery, especially when when it's been sleeting / snowing. Conditions up near Whelpstone Crag can also be significantly less benign than lower down the trail. Some sections such as Home Baked can be dark an hour before more open fire roads. 

Emergency / Mobile Reception:

The forest has very little mobile phone coverage, Whelpstone Crag and the top of the Hope line have limited reception on some networks.

Cocklett Hill Car Park grid ref is SD 745550, in the event of emergency ring 999.


Gisburn discovery pass logoParking charges are in force as of the start of 2014. It cost 3.00 to park all day and 1.50 for one hour. All car parks have coin operated pay and display machines. Annual passes are available from the FC website.


Toilets are currently under cosntruction in the main hub car park and toilets are available in the cafe for patrons of the cafe..


Gisburn now has it's own on site cafe, the Forest Den Cafe at Stephen Park. The next closest place for good food is the Dog and Partridge in Tosside.

Bike Shop:

The Dog and Partridge in Tosside carries a range of spares and other biking essentials as well as being a dealer for Hope products. Bike shops can also be found in Clitheroe (Pedal Power) and Skipton (The Bicycle Shop).


The Dog and Partridge in Tosside provides excellent B & B accommodation with direct access to the trails.

Bike Hire:

Cycle Adventure will deliver bikes directly to the forest by prior arrangement.

Key Contact:

Martin Colledge, Beat Forester.

18.01.14 - Gisburn Car Parking Charges

Gisburn Parking MeterIt's taken awhile (won't bore you with the details) but parking charges are now fully in force at Gisburn Forest in all the car parks. The meters in School Lane, Cocklett Hill and The Hub went live just before Christmas with annual passes becoming available on line this week.

It costs 3.00 to park all day in any of the car parks with a reduce rate of 1.50 for stays of an hour or less (just enough time to do a lap of the bottom loop or drop into the Forest Den cafe for a coffee and slab of cake).

All funds from the car parking charges will go back into the local management of the mountain bike trails and new facilities (see below for details of these) so you know when you pay you're supporting the trails you are riding rather than filling the national Forestry Commission coffers. 

The machines only take coins so bring some change (we asked about making them accept cards but the extra infrastructure required to hook the machines up to the phone network cost too much). The charges are in force 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year so that means you do still need to pay for quiet night rides (you're still using the trails after all).

Gisburn discovery pass logoFor those of you who ride regularly you can buy and annual discovery pass from the Forestry Commission website. Annual passes cost 30, so if you plan on visiting more than ten times in the year you're quids in and are cheaper than the passes for other forests like Grizedale or Whinlatter that cost 40. Passes can be bought at any time of the year and are valid for twelve months from when they are bought. You can register two vehicles to each pass bought and can transfer the pass between vehicles, the FC will even provide 2 free permit holders if you ask nicely (you can't park both vehicles at the same time though! If you need to take both vehicles you'll need to buy a second pass or parking ticket on the day). More details of the scheme can be found on the FC website in the FAQ section.

Trail building volunteer parking pass 2013If you still don't fancy paying you can earn a free parking pass by helping with the trail building. Hours logged this year will count towards a pass in 2015. Anyone who has clocked up 12 hours (3 dig days) or more gets an annual pass to park at Gisburn. For those that clock up twenty hours or more (5 dig days) a parking pass covering Gisburn, Hamsterly, Kielder, Whinlatter and Grizedale is provided(you can't buy these and buying the individual passes would set you back a whopping 150). Bargain really.

If you want to come and help build the trails at Gisburn you'd be very welcome. Dig days are scheduled for the second Sunday in each month (next planned dig day will be Sunday the 9th of February). Everything is provided except your lunch. If you ride regularly at Gisburn it's now doubly worth your time as you get to help design the trails and now get free parking. If you want more details and to be put on the mailing list email Jon Swift at or take a look at the Gisburn volunteers page on the PMBA site.

Final point on the parking, PLEASE DO NOT PARK ON THE ROAD OR BLOCK ANY OF THE ACCESS GATES. Just because a gate doesn't look like it's being used doesn't mean it's not needed to rescue an injured rider. Please also note there is no legal access to the forest from the Dog & Partridge. The track leading into the forest is privately owned (not by the FC) and the only access rights on the track are on foot (it's a footpath not a bridleway). The land owner is not happy about riders accessing the forest that way. Indiscriminate parking either in Tosside or on the lane is likely to wind up the locals as well. As said above money from the parking will go back into the trails and support the volunteers. Significant money is already spent from the annual budget to provide materials and pay for contractors to move gravel to build locations which makes the volunteers job a lot easier so they can concentrate on building trails rather the moving gravel. The money from the parking will make the trails more sustainable going forward.

New Faciltities - Posh Toilets

In the original plans submitted for the hub car park there was an intention to site a temporary toilet block permanently on site. This got vetoed by the people funding the developments (in a good way) who said they didn't want to spoil all the improvements in facilities by sticking a nasty toilet block in the middle. So funding has been secured and planning approved for a permanent stone built toilet block. Waiting for this to happen was one of the many reasons for delaying the introduction of the parking charges so that those that don't ride in the forest also got some benefit from paying.

Gisburn new toilet block

PMBA members can click on the images to access more detailed .pdf files of the plans.

Gisburn toilet location plan.Work has now started on the toilets between the hub carpark and the Forest Den cafe, please take care when riding through this area and use the diversionary routes put in place for your safety.

The toilets will be stone built with a glass front (porch not cubicles!). They are being built on the surfaced area at the end of the car park where you exit to get onto the trails. There will be three cubicles for ladies, one disabled cubicle and one for men plus a separate room with three urinals. Unfortunately no showers but to be honest you usually get wet enough riding at Gisburn anyway. There has been talk of bike washing facilities but we don't have any detail on that at the moment.

This latest investment is the final piece in the jigsaw to making Gisburn a fully fledged trail centre with all mod cons. All this has been done through the determination and effort of the Gisburn FC team and in particular the Beat Forester, Martin Colledge.


Other News

13.01.14 - Gisburn Volunteers 2014
- Gisburn Trail Builders Update
01.10.13 - Escape to Gisburn - Did You Make It?
- Gisburn Opening - By 'eck Chief it Were a Tad Damp
It's On, It's Off, It's On - Gisburn New Trails Opening
New Gisburn Trails & Car Park - Grand Opening
25.10.12 - Gisburn on NorthWest Tonight
Free Car Parking for Volunteers at Gisburn & Beyond
- Gisburn on NorthWest Tonight
Free Car Parking for Volunteers at Gisburn & Beyond

25.02.12 - Gisburn Car Park Is Go
16.02.12 - Temporary Gisburn Trail Closures
15.11.11 -
Gisburn Forest Wins MBR Readers Trail of the Year
26.10.11 -
MBR Online Trail Centre Poll
23.10.11 -
Gisburn Update
07.09.11 -
Tim Royle Video 'Gisburn Forest - The new Hope Trail'
29.08.11 -
Hope Freeride Trail and Other Gisburn News
27.07.11 -
Gisburn Mid Week Digs
03.07.11 - Gisburn Gets Planning Permission For Extra Facilities
21.06.11 - Gisburn Facilities Expansion - Your Views Needed
05.06.11 - Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue At Gisburn
13.05.11 -
Gisburn Forest News
26.04.11 -
Expansion Plans for Gisburn Forest
06.04.11 -
Gisburn Repairs Updates
17.03.11 -
Pay and Display is Coming to Gisburn
03.03.11 - Dig Day at Gisburn, New Trail Section
13.02.11 - New Trail Section Open at Gisburn

12.02.11 -
MBR Trail Review
01.02.11 - New Trails Planned at Gisburn
09.01.11 - Gisburn Update

Gisburn VolunteersVolunteers

There's plenty of opportunity for helping build and maintain the trails at Gisburn. There's a group that meets on the second Sunday of each month, heavily supported by the forestry commission team including the head forester.

If you ride Gisburn, come and put a day or two back into the trails, you never know you might even enjoy the building as much as the riding. For more info visit the Gisburn Volunteers page on this site.

'If you build it they will ride it'(usually before you've finished it)'


The Trails

There are two main trails within the forest.

Blue Graded 'Bottoms Beck' at approximately 9.5km. 1 to 1.5 hours.

Red Graded 'The 8' at approximately 18km with a number of black graded options. 2 to 3hours depending on fitness and the amount of time playing.

In addition there is the Hope Line featuring a number of table tops and drop offs and a dedicated downhill line including multiple drops in excess of 4 feet.

There also many kilometres of fire roads within the forest.

History of the Trails

Gisburn has undergone a massive evolution in it's trails over the last few years and is continuing to develop. For a long time there were three pretty basic and mainly fire road routes, good for stretching the legs but not the most exciting riding (you can download a copy of the old trails map here). At the other end of the scale was the downhill sections and cheeky trails that the locals had been quietly building and using. This changed in 2008 when Martin Colledge, the Beat Forester for Gisburn with help from Nigel Pilling started to hand build some new singletrack. They quickly realised they needed help and a volunteer group was set up to speed the trail construction. At this point a master plan was born with the expert guidance of Rowen Sorrel from Back on Track. Possible lines were were walked and marked out (you may still see odd pieces of Marzocchi tape hanging from the trees) and a master map of how the trails could look was created.

In 2009 a significant injection of cash from Sport England ( 60k), along with 60k provided by Forest of Bowland AONB, Ribble Valley BC, Ribble Valley Strategic Partnership, UU and the FC meant things could really start to change. The FC also contributed the equivalent of another 60k in materials. This all allowed contractors to add around 6km of singletrack to the 1km the volunteers had already laid. Since then the volunteers have continued to build and have now opened a total of 2.5km of hand built trail. Hope Technologies have also been involved and generously funded the Hope Line.

Walking digger at Gisburn

The trails continue to evolve with ambitious plans for a new car park with better facilities, skills loops and a pump track. Plans also exist for ever more singletrack, extending the existing trail north beyond Hully Gully and to remove even more of the fire road. Whilst Martin continues to provide the gravel the volunteers will continue to build.

The Trails

The 8 - Red Trail

The 8 is split into two distinctive loops, the bottom one has extensive sections of volunteer built singletrack and shares some of the blue route. The top loop was contractor built and has bigger features.

Ed Oxley rides the Homebaked staircaseLeaving Cocklett Hill car park will give you the chance to warm up with some mellow singletrack and fire road taking you across the reservoir causeway and bringing you out on the first section of volunteer built singletrack. Circle takes you away from the fire road and gradually climbs up through the forest, initially following a stream but then diving into the woods in a tight twisty upward climb with a couple of small step ups and roots to contend with. Having had a taster of the volunteer built stuff you've got a short fire road climb to the start of Homebaked proper. For many riders this is their favourite section, as it was hand built there was no need to clear a path through the trees for machinery keeping it very tight and often very dark. A short rocky qualifier section quickly leads you into the trees and then back out to follow the line of a wall (this is the part a full suss can really help). You plunge back into the forest after this, the trees are very close together and this section is often more like riding in twilight than daylight. Those with oversize bars beware, there is one point with literal only inches to spare either side. There are few sections in other trails centres with a similar feel. A short steep rocky climb takes you back into the light before a another couple of hundred metres get you to the top.

From here it's downhill, it's tight, it's twisty, it's fast, there's berms, there's roots and not a lot of room for error (think speeder bikes from return of the Jedi without the teddy bears). The highlight (or nemesis) for many is the rocky staircase near the end. It's a lot grippier than it looks, honest! Speed here is really your friend although it doesn't always feel like it. Once you've negotiated the final few yards you'll drop back onto the fire road but almost immediately you drop back onto the trees for one final shot of singletrack culminating in a second steep rocky drop (or a chicken run over the bridge if your nerves have had it).

A fire road climb now ensues taking you up to the crossing point or middle of the 8. It's now decision time, you can nip off the fire road and have a play on the woodwork or save that for the return leg. Personally I refer to tackle it with fresh legs! A section of boardwalk leads into the trees and onto the first log ride, this one being at ground level to get your eye. A tight switch back with a nasty root follows (you'll know the one if you've ridden it) before the log ride proper.

from stephen hall on Vimeo.

This section is graded black and will really test your nerve and balance. At four feet off the ground it's not one to get wrong. If you don't fancy making the turn in the middle there is a chicken run off the end of the first log (and a chicken run around both logs).

Clear the logs and there are a couple of short narrow bridges to contend with, both requiring a bit of speed to get onto them. Then it's downhill, across the board walk and back onto the fire road.

If you enjoyed this section you can do it all over again on the return leg. 

Moving on up the fire road takes you to a steep climb up to the Quarry and the top of the Hope Line.

The Hope Line gives you another opportunity to stop and play, just remember you've got to come up that fire road again.

Onwards on 'The 8' takes you to the start of the upper loop. Tthrough the quarry negotiating a number of rocky step ups and back into the trees and onto one of Gisburn's unique singing boardwalk sections built using split larch logs. Grippy in most conditions but worthy of respect if it's icey.

Into an area of clear fell next with the singletrack becoming a line of monolithic rock slabs end to end, need to keep you momentum up here. Back into the trees again for a section of berms finishing in steep switch backing climb.

The trail now climbs upwards to reach Whelpstone Crag.  Resembling a 4X course there's multiple line choices here and the opportunity to session the best line. Here you'll also find a number of black line options and the infamous slab. With a gradient in excess of 45 degrees and a rocky run out it's another test of nerves and control. Possibly best not attempted if the the winds up as it's pretty exposed up here.

rider on the slab

After playing on the hill top you drop down through a series of superb sandy berms to reach one of the star attractions, Hully Gully. This section is also known as the roller coaster. Graded black (for good reason) it starts with a qualifier drop in followed by a few small berms before hitting the gully proper and the BIG berms which are over 30ft tall. Let the bike take you, lay off the brakes and don't try and stop at the top of the berms and you'll find yourself flying up the valley side. It can get a tad slippery when wet, you've been warned. Surviving those throws into a serious of sharp drops on various surfaces, there's not a lot of room for error on this section as the trail clings to the side of the gully with a good 20ft drop into the stream below on your right. Finally you're flung flinging you out through the ruined farm buildings at the bottom ready for a couple of water crossings. These can be deep and fast in the winter and after heavy rain!

Hully Gully

If you don't fancy defying gravity on the berms there is a red graded alternative if you carry on down the fire road which is still a fast ride to the bottom.

After the adrenaline there's a leg buring fire road climb to take back up to the Bottoms?! Swift singletrack takes you to the rooty goodness of the drop to the stream. A steep climb up the other side takes you to more new berms enhancing some of the old singletrack before returning to the log rides again (if you've still got the bottle and legs to have a second go).

A gentle fire road pootle brings you to a fast down hill fire road. What a waste of gradient, or at least that's what the volunteers thought. Singletrack is currently being built to remove all of this fire road section which is likely to open in late 2012. It'll start off mellow and meandering before becoming more like the end of Hully Gully, clinging to the side of the river gully, swooping up and down the banks before crossing the stream to exit opposite the blue. For now though you'll have to wait for construction to be completed, but it should be worth the wait. The blue awaits with more sweeping berms and a couple of bridges before coming back onto the final fire road climb. Singletrack then skirts around Stephen Park to take you across another boardwalk section and the climb up to the final descent. As if you haven't already had enough berms the run into the car park is a series of left and right berms running into each other one after another.

Bottoms Beck - Blue Trail

The blue graded Bottoms Beck route initially follows the same route as the red but quickly diverts down some blue graded singletrack taking you down and around Dalehead Church before bringing you back to the red route to cross Stocks reservoir.

Out onto Eggberry road, the blue trail contours around valley sides above the stream feeding the reservoir following this ancient and bumpy road. As the fire road starts to climb the trail diverts onto a section of old railway constructed to bring stone down to dam during the construction of reservoir.

This gentle section of singletrack brings you out at the bottom of the fire road climb up to the crossing point of 'The 8'. As an alternative more demanding route the singletrack on the Circle and Homebaked sections can be ridden instead of Eggberry road.

Once onto the flat of 'The 8' crossing the fire road the trail heads out to the East of the forest until you come to a fork in the fire roads. Taking the right hand fork, the fire road gradually gets steeper and speeds pick up as you head back down to the stream. The trail now heads back towards the car park taking in the two sections of blue graded singletrack shared with the red trail. The first starts with a series of berms with the gradient in your favour before trending more uphill. A couple of bridge crossings and some tight switch backs bring you back to the fire road which runs parallel above this section of trail.

Singletrack then skirts around Stephen Park to take you across another boardwalk section, wider and flatter than the boardwalk on the red, it never the less requires concentration. The penalty for not quite getting it right is a soft, albeit rather wet landing in the swamp it crosses. The singletrack then climbs back up the hill, switch backing amongst the trees to line you up for the final bermed descent to the car park. The berms can be taken slowly or ridden flat out what ever your preference.


We're proud of what's been created at Gisburn but we're always happy to hear your feedback, good, bad and ugly. If you've got something to share with us about Gisburn let us know (and we'll put the comments on the site for others to see as well).

Absolutely love this place and very well done to all involved in this project! - Manny
Wow...that was great! Thanks for awesome weekend guys. I will definitely come back...this time with hand shovel, combat pants and wellingtons ready to work!. - Shedan
Did Gisburn for the first time last sunday, wet and bloody freezing but everything open some really good bits of trail, Hully Gully particularly good as is Hope line and new section in progress looks good!. - Mikkola on Bikeradar
Favourite bit of Gisburn is defo Bottoms run. Although it gets really boggy on the rooty section before the trees. And Hombaked last section is fantastic.
- bwfc4eva868 on Bikeradar
in my opinion the singletrack at gisburn is very good tight and twisty through the trees, and some technical features.... the new hope freeride line is fun and has almost everything you could ask for jumps drops and twisty singletrack...
- Delcol on Bikeradar
Stunning stunning stunning trail... well done to everyone that has worked to improve it! The 2 sections I hated were the fireroad climb, now bypassed by possibly one of my favourite climbs - Circle trail? And the trail up to the Crag is outstanding, completely changed since last time I rode there! Used to be unrideable!
- The Northern Monkey on Bikeradar
Was at Gisbrun for my first time on Wednesday and I loved every minute of it - some real challenges and a great laugh! Loved Hully Gully and the steep muddy descent after the bit of fire road (Bottoms?), some nice step downs there that made my tyre choice of Swamp Thing on the front the right decision! Also loved the North Shore sections that are scattered all over the place.
- Prouster on Bikeradar
Found the new section of trail after nearly losing my trainers in the bog! Had to persevere once I'd started though. That trail is gonna be the bees knees once it's completed, I wasn't expecting it to be so ...... big, if that makes sense. Thought it would be on more of a level. Had to chicken out of the big rock descent, but I'll beat that eventually I reckon. If the whole new section is like that, it'll be a real highlight!
- frankspencer1979 on Bikeradar
Rode the new section a few days ago. Brilliant. Loved it. This place is fast becoming the best trail centre in the uk. Loved that severe cobbles bit on the new section. I can see some one straight lining it at the bottom and going straight over the edge into the air and down to the stream though. 
- kenton on Bikeradar

Forestry Commission - Gisburn Page

Gisburn Forest Bikes

Gisburn Bike Trails

Gisburn Forest Facebook Page

Gisburn Forest Riders / Builders Facebook Group

Forest of Bowland Cycling Routes

Adrenaline Gateway

Mary Townley Loop    

Healey Nab

Billinge Woods
Lee & Cragg Quarries
Pennine Bridleway
West Pennine Moors