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Cycling in the Forest of Dean

Posted on 02nd October 2015

Now that autumn has officially arrived, it’s time to embrace the new season, and what better way to do so than getting out on your bike? Yes, cycling in summer can be fun, but when there are leaves on the ground and a little bit of mud too, you can’t help but feel a little bit more adventurous.

Start of Cycle Trail

Image Credit: 38 Degrees (flickr.com)

The Forest of Dean has plenty to offer keen cyclists, as well as mountain bikers, so if you’re considering a cottage holiday in the Forest of Dean, make sure to bring along your bicycle on the roof racks, or continue reading to find out where they are available for hire.

Get started

Before you’ve even left home, it’s important not to forget your bicycle pump and spare inner tubes, just in case you happen to run into any problems. You’ll also want to make sure you have appropriate clothes, such as a helmet and trousers clips, although Lycra is optional! As an extra, you may want to bring a rucksack too, so you can carry bits and bobs such as a packed lunch.

Cycle Helmets

Image Credit: Maria Morri (flickr.com)

For those of you unable to bring along your own bike, there are a number of places where you can hire them, whether this is for the day or the entire duration of your stay. Pedalabikeaway have a large fleet of regularly replaced hire bikes and are based at Cannop on the head of the cycle trails in the forest. From children’s bikes and tandems, to mountain bikes and power-assisted bikes, there will be a model suitable for you.


Image credit: Nelson Braillard (flickr.com)

Where to go

The routes you take will all depend on your personal preferences. Are you heading to the Forest of Dean in half term and would like a family-friendly trail? If so, then why not try the gentle and traffic-free Family Trail, which is hard stoned for 11 miles and safe for all ages. Beginners can also get a feel for mountain biking on the skills loop, as well as develop an off-road technique.

Cycling in the Forest

Image credit: Sam Saunders (flickr.com)

Alternatively, if you fancy a challenge, use the waymarked single track on the famous Verderers’ Trail, which was designed and built by Rowan Sorrell’s ‘Back on Track’ team. The seven-mile track can be viewed here and incorporates a variety of conditions, including moderate climbs, narrow sections and rolling humps.

Cycling Action

Image credit: Dai Williams (flickr.com)

Advanced bikers will also be well catered for with the full-on downhill routes, ranging from the original Ski Run and Sheepskull, to the Corkscrew and Cougar Root. Often used by World Cup Riders, even those who have not brought bikes along to their holiday cottage in the Forest of Dean can come to the downhill routes and watch the professionals in awe.


Throughout the year there are a limited number of ten events held at the Cannop Cycle Centre in conjunction with the Forestry Commission and external parties. This is because any more than this seriously erodes the trails due to the nature of the events and the amount of participants that often take part. Should your stay in a cottage coincide with one of the popular events, we recommend getting involved as they provide a great atmosphere in a beautiful setting.

The Centre

Image credit: Sam Saunders (flickr.com)

One event which draws large crowds every year is the Wild Boar Chase, which offers mountain bikers a number of routes ranging from 21-45 miles. The next event to take place in the Forest of Dean is the Mini Enduro round three on October 18th 2015, which happens over one day and can be entered here.

Guided tours

If you’re on a group holiday, you may wish to organise a tour with a British Cycling Qualified mountain bike guide to help show you the ropes. All guides are fully trained and will have plenty of local knowledge to keep you entertained along the way. You will be given a choice as to the type of ride you require, which varies from easy to moderate to difficult. It’s a brilliant idea for groups of friends, as well as stag and hen weekends, and is guaranteed to provide lots of fun.


Image credit: Robert Tadlock (flickr.com)