Kitiara Pascoe – Exploring Haldon’s Bike Trails
Haldon Forest Park is a fantastic example of why Forestry England is the unsung hero of our everyday experiences with nature. A managed, 3,500 acre woodland, Haldon makes it about as easy to get outside in stunning landscape as humanly possible. The forest is filled with bike trails for every ability. They’re colour-coded too, preventing hardcore riders from mowing down kids on their first mountain bike ride. The green trail languishes along the top and is mostly flat with staggering views across the Exe estuary and Exeter itself.
The blue trail is split into two with one being longer and more technical than the other. The longer of the two is a pure joy to ride and the shorter is an ideal warm-up and warm-down loop.
The red trail makes you work hard and you’d certainly want to be confident on the blues before embarking on it. With treacherous rocks and slippery tree roots, it’s glorious but you wouldn’t want to be distracted. The black, as far as I’m told, is quite short. I haven’t done it because I’d like to keep my bones in one piece but I’m open to the possibility.
Swooping around the bends of the blue trail is about as close you can get to flying while attached to the earth. The trail alternates between open views and dark forest where you weave between trees and bump through rocky puddles.
As it starts at the top and winds its way gradually down via long switchbacks, there isn’t much uphilling until the end and even that’s fairly gentle.
Haldon is much more than a place to walk the dog in the sunshine. It’s an expertly managed trails system. So dig out your bike, put on clothes that don’t mind mud and I’ll see you out there.
All content by Kitiara Pascoe