Cross Country (XC)

Old school rock and roll

The Story

The cross country (XC) loop was developed in the late ‘90s to be a ’Silverstone’ of a trail: make it tough, technical and uncompromising, but loved by those that relish a challenge – a little piece of traditional Alpine riding in the Home Counties. Viewed with suspicion at the time, it was arguably one of a few class-leading trails that lead to the amazing trail centres we now have throughout England, Scotland and Wales.

Since those heady days there have been plenty of tweaks, but nothing in that philosophy has changed. It’s still tough, technical and unforgiving, and now ironically viewed with suspicion by those used to flowing, manufactured trails. However, if you like tough, technical and natural riding, you’ll love this.

The Trail

The cross-country loop is separated into two distinct halves with a combined length of approximately 5 miles/6 ½ km.

The first half is made almost entirely of undulating singletrack, swooping and climbing on a fun trail littered with technical challenges. This half can be ridden as an individual loop, or continue into the Red Run, which forms part of the loop’s main descent.

Forking right halfway down sends you up a short, sharp climb, which leads into a steep and swooping piece of trail before weaving through bermed, flowing turns to the bottom of the Hill (and avoids the Red Run’s more technical end).

A short, sharp, chalky climb leads you into a fast trail descending alongside the golf course – look out for balls and prepare for the sharp turn at the end!

The climb back up is a hard grind of alpine-esque switchbacks that will have you digging into the energy reserves. Past the ghost hut and either round the long or short loop, you’re nearly at the top. Then it’s more winding singletrack to take you back to the start.

(Should you feel up to it, Surface 2 Air or the Black Run can be substituted in place of the Red.)

Is this trail for you?

The Cross Country loop is classified as a Moderate mountain bike trail for competent to expert riders.

Trail surface types

  • Constructed trails and/or natural features
  • Challenging sections
  • Includes potential for exposure and/or risk
  • Regular use and underlying chalk/clay surface makes sections very slippery when wet.

Gradients and technical trail features (TTFs)

  • Include a range of small medium and large TTFs including steep downhill gradients, off-camber sections, roots and a boardwalk.

Suggested fitness level

  • A higher level of fitness and stamina, but technical skills are also important. It may be short, but it’s tough!
What we recommend

We advise a helmet, gloves and body armour. Flint and trees are the enemy of flesh and bones!

For your own safety

Do not ride alone.

Red Run

Keep a look out for the right turn!