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Mountain biking on the Surrey, West Sussex and Hampshire borders

Someone riding a mountain bike off-road through the woods with the fields behind them
Enjoy mountain biking while protecting the landscape | © National Trust Images / John Millar

Find out where you can go mountain biking at Black Down, Woolbeding Common, Ludshott Common and Hindhead Common and the Devil’s Punch Bowl and what rules we ask you to follow.

Please stick to the official routes

We are appealing to mountain bikers not to create new trails in local nature reserves but to stick to official off-road trails, bridleways or tarmac. Structures without permission, such as jumps or ramps, will be removed.

Where can I go mountain biking?

  • Mountain bikes are permitted only on bridleways on Black Down.
  • Mountain biking is unfortunately not permitted at Woolbeding Common, as it is a designated SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) with no bridleways or permissive paths.
  • Mountain bikes are only permitted on bridleways and permissive tracks at Ludshott Common.
  • Mountain bikes are permitted only on bridleways and byways at Hindhead Commons and the Devil’s Punch Bowl.

The best way to check where you can cycle is by looking at an Ordnance Survey map and finding the green dashed lines showing a bridleway. Maps can be downloaded to your phone.

Rights of way markers, on signposts on site, are also a good guide. Stick to the blue waymarked bridleway trails and don't accidentally stray onto a yellow waymarked footpath.

Protecting vital habitats

At a time when people need the beauty and fresh air of green spaces more than ever, we are glad to be open for people to exercise. But we ask that everyone is mindful of the rare habitats they are in.

Landscapes are more susceptible to damage at colder and wetter times of year. Excessive erosion to routes doesn’t just leave a visual impact on the landscape, it also affects wildlife. Once vegetation is lost through erosion, soil and stone can quickly wash off from fragile heathland habitats.

In some areas, off-road cycling is causing the ground to be churned up and compacted, with damage to bluebell woods, heathland heathers and wildflowers, which are key food sources for butterflies.

Unofficial trails and structures

We know how important it is for people to get out in nature for exercise and wellbeing. Equally, we are hearing from neighbouring communities in the South Downs and Surrey Hills, who are concerned that new ramps, berms and downhill trails are appearing on heaths and in woodlands.

SSSIs (Sites of Special Scientific Interest) are designated as unique habitats for nature. Any new structures require licensed permission from Natural England so we are obliged in many cases to remove them.

We’re appealing to our local cycling groups and shops for their help in advising people how to find approved trails. And not to share social media content which has been filmed on unofficial downhill tracks on nature reserves.

The only way that these precious wild places will survive is if we all work together to preserve them.

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