Useful map of of the Bristol trails (Ashton Court Nova trail and Leigh Woods “Yer Tiz” trail).
By Chris Hopkinson
Ever since the trails around Ashton Court were given a makeover last year we’ve been looking forward to the unveiling of the revamped trails over the road in Leigh Woods. After waiting for what felt like forever the announcement came just before Christmas that the “Yer Tiz” trail was ready to ride and a date for a club visit was added to the calendar.
Our club rides at Ashton Court have always been popular and this one was no exception. Antony from Bristol Trails Group joined us for the day. After some initial hanging around for people to find alternative parking the decision was made to split into two groups. As Tom and I had been for a cheeky ride round Yer Tiz over Christmas we chose to lead a group each. We started with a lap of Ashton Court, now known as the Nova trail.
It wasn’t long before we had the first unscheduled dismount of the day courtesy of Rafe. As nobody witnessed it we’re not exactly sure what happened and Rafe denies it. The mud and scuff marks up the side of his shorts were evidence enough. Not long after and a lack of friction between rubber and rock saw me taking an impromptu sit down mid trail.
A lap of the Nova trail done and with everyone still smiling we crossed the road and carried on to Leigh Woods. Much like the Nova, Yer Tiz follows the line of the original trails in the woods. Having been heavily armoured and surfaced is now rideable all year round instead of the mud bath it became in previous winters. Opinions always differ when existing trails get this treatment with some saying they’ve become too “sanitized”. Whatever your opinion on the matter there’s no denying something needed to be done as the area is so popular the trails were becoming increasingly eroded.
“Yer Tiz” is essentially a 2-3 mile, blue graded loop with the customary rollers, bumps and berms giving it a swoopy feel. A couple of optional red grade sections add a bit more technicality and fun to the ride and there’s an optional skills loop to further test you containing various features of increasing difficulty. It’s built as a mini loop within the main loop so can be “sessioned” as many times as required. Most of us had at least two goes at it with two or three minor tumbles between us.
The second half of the trail is basically a climb back up to the start with an optional rock causeway and a little more bermy swoopiness to keep you entertained. Everyone agreed it was a fun trail.
The group then split into three: some opting for a further lap of Yer Tiz, some heading back for another ride around the Nova and a third group going “off piste” with Antony. He took us along narrow, muddy paths in Leigh Woods, up past the fish pond in Yew Tree wood and finished with a lap of 50 Acre Wood.
Then it was back to the Ashton Court café for brews and cheesy chips, Nigel’s gingerbread men and a quick hose down before some of us headed of for the customary visit to the Nova Scotia pub for a post ride pint or two.
A lot of money has been pumped into these trails and some people are less than impressed with the result. What used to be a few trails through the woods has become a “cycling facility” and I guess if that’s not your thing then you’re not going to like it. What I do know however, is that a ride around Ashton Court, Leigh Woods and Fifty Acre Woods will never be a bad way to spend a day!
Massive thanks to everyone for turning up, Nigel for the gingerbread men and Anthony for getting us muddy.
Full resolution photos (10MP) available on request.