Eastridge Woods – 21st January
Eastridge woods… Wow, what a gem! And only just over an hours drive from Coventry.
I knew it existed, but had never been before, then a conversation at Haughmond Hill, an article in Januarys MBR and finally another conversation, this time on the Woburn ride made me determined to get over there. A heavy work schedule from Saturday evening onward meant Saturday morning was the only time I could get over there. A post on the GT forum, meant Gray Moon came along too.
We arrived at about 8:15 having left Coventry at 7, unloaded the bikes and headed off to ride the red ‘Revelation’ trail, it’s only 5 miles long but the plan was to ride it twice then maybe do a bit of exploring. The first section out of the car park was a hard work, a combination of cold legs and muddy conditions made for heavy going, but we soon got onto a graded climb that let us gain some height more easily.
A nice combination of small descents and ascents followed, as we passed the top of the two Downhill tracks. Soon we came to ‘Topography’ a steep descent with lots of turns and rooty sections which really kept you on your toes. The trail then turns and heads along the side of the hill, an excellent combination of small climbs, and descents with some really nasty looking off camber roots that are easy to clear if you ride them confidently, but hesitate and they’ll have you off.
We kept on the red and came a split in the trail with a sign stating that the trail was under construction. We took the right fork and ended up on a fireroad, we were not 100% sure this was the right way, but the presence of MTB tyre tracks gave us the confidence to keep going. Slowly we realised we must be heading in the wrong direction as we were riding underneath the trail we’d been on previously. We’d got plenty of time so decided to carry on anyway. We suddenly emerged from the wood into a small valley and on the far side there seemed to be some kind of mine. We decided to take a look, and found it was what was left of Snailbeach Lead Mine.
We had a look round and climbed the hill to the Cornish beam engine house, and then up to the Resting Hill chimney. On our way up we’d noticed a sign saying ‘Welcome to the Stiperstones’ so we realised we’d left Eastridge completely, so we then headed back to Eastridge, trying to gain some height as we did so. We ended up back at the top of ‘Topography’ so we rode the trail again from this point, turning left instead of right when we got to the ‘Trail under construction’ sign. this took us round the North side of the woods and dropped us down ‘Indigo Illusion’ a really nice rocky descent with some stuning switchbacks.
A short section of fireroad and we were back at the car…. load the bikes up, get changed and 1h 15m later we were back in Coventry.
Eastridge….. “I’ll be back”
Ride – #13 Bike – Gary Fisher Paragon 29er
Miles – 10.7 Total 2012 miles – 223.7