Bristol might not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of mountain biking, but it has some great trails. All within easy reach of the city centre. We spent the day riding the Nova Trail in the Ashton Court Estate.
The Nova Trail
The Nova Trail lies within the Ashton Court Estate, just three miles from Bristol city centre and Temple Meads railway station. It is a 6.5km all weather trail, perfect for beginners to get the basics dialled but still fun for the more experienced rider with optional features to test yourself.
The trail is graded as ‘blue’ so expect some small obstacles, rocks and roots and small technical features. But everything is rollable or avoidable! There is little gradient and expect it to take around an hour to get round, allow extra time for snack stops!
Start from the Clifton Lodge Car Park and head downhill, the trail rides clockwise. The first section, the Hyper Nova, allows you to get a feeling for what is to come, with rollers and berms. Perfect for gaining confidence.
From here you pop out onto the road and head uphill before diving into the Stella Nova. Another super flowing trail. Stop for a quick snack stop then continue round Pillgrove Wood, a gentle climb followed by a tight descent through the trees on the edge of a quarry. Returning back to the picnic area you head up the steepest climb on the trail before heading back to the start along The Wall and Goram’s Drop sections.
Look at for the Super Nova descent in the middle of the trail, featuring a pumpy jumpy beginning and a rock-strewn lower section. Perfect for stepping it up to the next level! Keep an eye out for a few optional ‘red’ graded lines dotted round the trail which keep things interesting.
The kids absolutely love the Nova Trail, even the smallest on his 14inch wheeled Frog bike is able to get round and enjoy a first taste of mountain biking. The trail is a blast and has been carefully designed with all abilities in mind.
Bring a good bike with front and back brakes and off-road tyres. Make sure you always ride with a helmet.
Not got a bike? Bike hire is available on site through Pedal Progression. They also offer a range of coaching sessions and there is a small bike shop on site. Tribe Adventures also offer female specific coaching, looking to inspire confidence and friendship.
Other mountain biking trails in Bristol
Check out Leigh Woods and Fifty Acre Wood for more trails. You can find more information about the other mountain biking trails in Bristol here.
Download the trail map here