Hurstwood Trails

The trail at Hurstwood is currently very short totalling around a kilometre of trail with a 600m fire road return to start. If you’re just starting out with your mountain bike or you’ve got a younger MTBer in the family it’s an ideal place to get some confidence riding a man made trail, getting to grips with short slopes and berms.

However a number of longer routes lead out from the Hurstwood car park meaning you can have a play on the purpose built trail and then get out and explore the natural riding the area has to offer.

Length 1.6km
Ascent 38m
Grading – Blue

HurstwoodFrom the car park head out through the top gate and bear right onto the tarmac road heading up to the reservoir (you’ll see the end of the trail opposite you). Spin up the fire road, you’ll see the trail crossing the road about two thirds of the way up and continue until you get close to the reservoir dam. The start of the trail will be on your right hand side.

HurstwoodIt starts off nice and gentle leading up between the trees before starting to drop and going through a series of gently bermed corners. As you pick up speed you’ll come to nice right handed berm followed by a short slope and a little trail feature. This first section the culminates in a sharp right handed berm which brings you back to the road.

Hurstwood8The trail then continues across the road weaving between the tree and through a nice little bomb hole. The character of the trail changes a little on this side of the road becoming a little more challenging in places but with a additional grin factor. Still trending downhill it’s easy to pick up speed as you pass through a small dip before coming to the trickiest section of the trail. A steep drop takes you down and part way back up again before pitching you into a steep right handed berm and back off down the trail.

Hurstwood9A couple of small berms and another dip take you onwards to a sharp upward slope (keep pedalling). More speeder bike nipping between the trees follows before bringing you to the trails finale.

A right handed berm is followed by a left handed berm shepherding you down the last slope and to shoot you back out onto the road at the bottom.

Turn left for another run? Yes you will, this time try and keep it a little tighter and a little faster.


There’s plenty of other longer riding also on offer from Hurstwood, here’s a couple of suggested routes incorporating the Hurstwood Trail.

Longer Route 1 – Pennine Bridleway and Rams Clough

Distance 7km                                 Map
Ascent 188m                                 .gpx file

DamA short but varied ride up past Hurstwood reservoir on the Mary Towneley Loop. There’s a bit of climbing and descending, surfaced bridleways, ‘natural bridleways’ and double track. A great little tastier of what mountain biking can be.

Start from the Hurstwood car park and head up the tarmac road to the reservoir gate. Follow the track up the right hand side of the reservoir and keep going until you reach a T junction. Turn right at the T junction and continue climbing. Where the track you are on turns sharpley left there is a permissive bridleway running off to the right. If you stay on the track it’ll make a right hand turn as you cross a small stream, you’ve gone too far!

The bridleway is usually fairly visible although doesn’t have an armoured surface so can be very muddy in places (not great after lots of rain). Follow the trail back down the valley until you catch sight of Cant Clough reservoir. The bridleway runs down the northern edge of the reservoir (although there’s also a surfaced track just above). When you get to the dam take the track to right and follow it back to the Dam on Hurstwood reservoir. You’re now at the start of the Hurstwood trail and warmed up for a couple of laps.

Longer Route 2 – Coal Clough Wind farm to Hurstwood and Back

Distance 8.5km                               Map
Ascent 202m                                  .gpx File

HW StreamThis route starts at the Coal Clough wind farm and uses a fantastic section of the Mary Towneley Loop to get across to the Hurstwood trail before retracing it steps back to the Coal Clough car park.

From the car park head out right on the road until you come to the signs for the Mary Towneley loop on your right. Follow the trail to Sheddon Clough, this is a lovely section of trail, generally dry and smooth with a few rockier (but not difficult) sections thrown in, and it’s downhill! At the bottom you’ll get to a stream crossing, it is ride able (take care if it’s been raining a lot as the stream can be quite fast flowing) but if you’d rather avoid a dunking it may be advisable to get off and hop across on the rocks.

The trail continues on past the stream on clear double track climbing up to the dam for Cant Clough reservoir which you cross. At the far side of the reservoir go through the gate on your right and up the track with your back to the reservoir. Follow this track down the other side to the Hurstwood dam and go through the gate on your right. This brings you to the start of the Hurstwood trail ready for a couple of laps. When you’ve had enough retrace your route back to the car.

Longer Route 3 – Duke’s Cut and Gorple Stones

Distance 25.8km                            Map
Ascent 580m                                 .gpx File

DukesA much more demanding route taking you up onto the open moors crossing a variety of terrain. There are some fantastic views from this route and it is rideable all year around although it can get very exposed on the higher sections so be prepared.

Starting from the car park at Hurstwood follow the tarmac road up to the dam. At the dam take the track to your right signposted as the Mary Towneley Loop. Follow this track across the dam for Cant Clough reservoir and head up to the wind farm at Coal Clough. Where the trail meets the road turn left and follow the road. After a couple of kilometres you’ll see a road branching off to the left, the entrance to Duke’s Cut is just after this on your right. There’s also a radio mast which is a good land mark.

Follow the double track until you get to a gate with the bridleway dropping away to your left. Go through the gate and follow the trail down the hill to another gate. Follow this double track until you reach a tarmac road. Turn right onto the road. At the end of this road turn left and follow the tarmac lane up the steep hill to a junction with another road. Turn left again and follow the tarmac.

GorpleThe tarmac eventually runs out and you go through a gate following the double track onto the open moor. The track takes you down to the dam for Gorple Lower reservoir which you cross. Follow the two lines of concrete down to the road and turn left following the road back up to Widdop reservoir. Leave the road and cross the dam to follow the track around the southern edge of the reservoir. The track climbs steeply as it leaves the reservoir switch backing up to Gorple Gate where it levels out. Stay on the track past Gorple stones and descend, watch out for the water bars on the way down.

When you get to the junction with another track turn left to Hurstwood reservoir. The track takes you back to the dam and the start of the Hurstwood trail. If you’ve got the energy  a few laps will round the ride off nicely.


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