Biking the Clent Hills
They can be tough climbs on the Clent Hills, but the rewarding views and extensive bridleway network make it worth the exercise.
The Clent Hills have an extensive network of 27 bridleways which are shared by walkers, dog walkers, horses, and cyclists. From fast dry and stony tracks requiring a sharp eye and concentration, to muddy woodland slogs demanding perseverance. Be aware though, that all routes can be very busy at times with horses and walkers, so a bell and polite call to other users is recommended.
Bridleways are marked with a standard rights of way blue arrow.
MTB (mountain bike) trails:
During lockdown, we have seen a twenty-fold increase of visitors to the Clent Hills during the traditionally quieter winter period. We try to accommodate all visitors to the Hills, whether on foot, by bike or by horseback. Everyone is welcome within current government guidelines.
There are 27 bridleways across the Clent Hills which are all open to cyclists, which are shared amongst all visitors, on foot, on bike and on horseback.
There have been unofficial trails created in conservation areas by visitors. The trail at Walton Hill is an unofficial cycle trail, which has been created by cyclists without permission. Its use has led to significant environmental damage, including severe erosion which has caused flooding of neighbouring roads and local houses and the disturbance of an active Badger’s sett which carries legal penalties.
While carrying out our winter tree conservation work, we have addressed the issues created by the unofficial trail by introducing gullies and making catchment areas using the felled trees, which are left to create deadwood habitats.
We put up signs advising of the work and the reasons why we needed to take these steps. We have also been speaking to members of the local cycling community about the change so they understand the reasons why and would ask the wider MTB community to get in touch so we can communicate and work towards a resolution.
Unauthorised bike trails will be actively closed and rehabilitated to protect public safety, mitigate visitor risk and to protect the environment. We have a duty of care to remove trails that we consider to be a risk.
We fully understand the need for people to get outside and enjoy the fresh air but when lots of us do this this can have a huge impact on local communities, so if an area looks busy or socially distancing appears difficult, we ask visitors to return at a quieter time. We request that people do not disturb the wildlife that call the Hills their home and are within our duty of care. We continue to urge people to follow government guidelines and to keep to their local green spaces for exercise.
For more information please contact ClentHills@nationaltrust.org.uk