Tag Archives: stroud

Hills and Thrills

Gary Palmer leads this epic ride in the Stroud area. This will be a big day in the saddle, with a beauty of a climb at the end.

There will be at least one pub stop and maybe a cafe stop later on, if it’s still open!

There will be some great single track, and some big (road) climbs. If the weather is poor we can shorten the ride – we’ll just go with the flow. The pace will be steady, but please consider the 39 mile distance before committing to this ride.

We will be starting at the Shortwood carpark, near Haresfield beacon, nearest post code for car park is GL6 6PP.

Directions from Stroud: 3 miles north-west of Stroud, between A419 and A46. Follow Whiteshill/Edge road from Stroud. 1 mile after Whiteshill village at the top of the hill take a left hand turn, signposted Haresfield. Follow this lane for approximately half a mile and Shortwood carpark is on your left hand side.

There is a £3.50 all day parking charge at this carpark but you can sometimes park outside on the side of the road. Please be at the car park by 9.45 for 10.00am start.

Haresfield Challenge

Gary Palmer will lead this challenging ride in the Stroud area on June 15th.

The ride will start at the Shortwood Car Park, near Haresfield Beacon. The route will be about 25 miles with approximately 2500ft of climbing. The climbing and descending can be a bit technical at times so this is probably not a ride for novices.

There is no café en route but there is a pub which we could call in to to rehydrate if people want to. Bring plenty to eat and drink during the day.

Start: Shortwood Car Park, near Haresfield beacon, nearest post code for car park is GL6 6PP. 

Directions from Stroud: 3 miles north-west of Stroud, between A419 and A46. Follow Whiteshill/Edge road from Stroud. 1 mile after Whiteshill village at the top of the hill take a left hand turn, signposted Haresfield. Follow this lane for approximately half a mile and Shortwood carpark is on your left hand side.

There is a £3.50 all day parking charge at this carpark but you can sometimes park outside on the side of the road.

National Trust directions:


Going back to my roots

We will be starting at Shortwood car park, (this is not Shortwood football club Nailsworth)
The route will be about 15 miles, lets see how we feel, we might want to do some bits twice. There will be single track, bomb holes, drop offs, road links and of course a nice bit of climbing. If its not absolutely chucking it down and reasonably dry, there is a pub we can stop at half way round
There will be smiles per miles
3 miles (4.8km) north-west of Stroud, between A419 and A46. Follow Whiteshill/Edge road from Stroud. One mile (1.6km) after Whiteshill village at the top of the hill take left-hand turn signposted to Haresfield. Follow this lane for approx. ½ mile (0.8km) and Shortwood car park is on left-hand side. Take care as it’s a narrow entrance
Parking: Shortwood car park (National Trust, grid ref SO832086)
SatNav: Postcode for car park is GL6 6PP

A Good Weekend to Ride Your Bike

mendips_0001_Layer 11

We’ve had a dry week and the forecast for the weekend looks good. While it’s not quite summer it does offer a good chance to get out on your bike before we get hit by more wet weather.

The club are heading Stroud way to sample the delights of the local singletrack.  Capably led by our very own Gary Palmer.  While not novice friendly this is a perfect ride for those wanting to try riding natural singletrack and is a cracking route.

Painswick ride

If you cannot join us other options are our very own Croft trail and the local hills.

Wherever you ride this weekend have a good ride!

Slippery When Wet


Gary Palmer is leading this challenging ride which will include some nice single track, bombholes, slippy roots and some tasty climbing.

The distance will be about 17 miles and should take about 3.5 hours. Although this is a relatively short ride, Gary stresses that the distance does not reflect the effort required to complete it!

If conditions are good, and people are willing, there will be the option to extend the ride. Gary will update here/Facebook on conditions and route as we get closer to the date.

Directions to the Haresfield Beacon Carpark: 3 miles (4.8km) north-west of Stroud, between A419 and A46. Follow Whiteshill/Edge road from Stroud. One mile (1.6km) after Whiteshill village at the top of the hill take left-hand turn signposted to Haresfield. Follow this lane for approx. ½ mile (0.8km) and Shortwood car park is on left-hand side. Take care as it’s a narrow entrance.


Gary’s Hills of Plenty

2013_05_06 Stroud Recce Ride 188

Gary Palmer will be leading this 21 mile ride across the badlands of Stroud. The ride is 21 miles long has 2400 ft of climbing. There are some rocky descents and some testing climbs (great scenery though!) As a guide, Gary’s recce ride took 3 hours


With technically difficult parts, as well as the stamina required, this ride is probably not suitable for a novice rider.


Directions to Chalford Sports Club

Ride report: Stroud ride

Big puddle on bridleway
Big puddle.

After several weeks of rain and with storms forecast then things were looking promising for this ride. The route promised several fun descents and few sets of steps – see the recce write up.  

Despite the weather the ride went ahead as advertised. On the day only Tom and Gary turned up so they checked out some more route options for future rides. Read all about it on Tom’s blog.

All these routes are definitely worth another try when (if) it stops raining.

Keep an eye on the calendar for upcoming events. We’ve got a south Cotswold epic already fully scoped out plus a north epic to be trialled soon.

Step by Step we Nailed the Ride (Tom’s “Nailsworth It ride”)

By Tim Norris – copied from his blog.

Riding some steps near Selsley common.

After 6 hours of riding and around 1200m climbing (occasionally on foot) we finished what turned into an epic ride at around 4.30pm. We gathered back at the cars in the now pouring rain and agreed it had been a tough ride with something for everyone. The first few rides I went on with MB Swindon that weren’t at a trail centre, were typically cross country rides – start at 10am and finish maybe 4 hours later having pedaled and pushed and puffed and wheezed 30-40km around some mildly hilly part of Wiltshire or South Wales. This kind of ride can become a bit tedious in my opinion and its great to break up a long ride with fun obstacles to challenge and test your abilities or your nerve. This ride delivered in abundance.

Bomb hole jump on Minchinhampton Common


Tom lead us around 40km of woodland and Cotswold countryside linking up as many sets of steps, bomb holes and sketchy and slippery descents that he could cram in to keep us all firmly on our toes. Every mile or so there was an obstacle that many rode, some went around and most riders had a laugh at – usually at the expense of someone else!

I am sure that no-one will disagree that the ride yesterday around Nailsworth had a bit of a random feel to it. This didn’t make it any less enjoyable – but after seeing Tom Stickland’s GPX for his previous ride, we couldn’t help but feel the wrong turns were just so he could hit a 40k target for the ride!  Some poetic license is being used here of course as our diversions were only minor ones – apart from the larger ones where there appeared to be no particular path or trail. “we need to get to that wall over there” “the original way down will be impassable today”.  Being totally fair the diversions were mainly because we were having so much fun, usually going down a hill of some sort that we missed a gate or hidden path – and a lot of woodland looks very much like the next piece of woodland!

Rocky chute near Avening.

The descents on this ride were great fun – we even pushed back up a few to ride them again, including one that looked like a stream bed but I think was just a drainage channel. We would normally steer clear of large slippery rocks and stones – but having just ridden down a long rocky descent the site of another section was too much to pass up.

It’s possible we rode down 7 or 8 sets of steps on this ride – I lost count. None were particularly dangerous as its just a matter of pointing the bike down and letting gravity and the suspension deal with the rest. Apart from the last set that only Tom, Graham and myself rode to (the rest of the group sensibly decided that they had had enough) – this set of greasy, wet wooden steps went around a corner and all three of us had a slippery moment trying to negotiate them. If this wasn’t enough Graham spotted a drop in to the same car park  – “that looks like it might be fun”.  The three of us pushed up the bank and had a look – it didn’t look like much fun from the top but we weren’t going to be beaten. Finding the line without catching a pedal was going to be tricky. After much discussion and a few false starts we all did it – the last obstacle of the day can go one way or another and after a hilariously out of control descent by Tom we decided that enough was enough – we had survived unscathed and it was time to head back.

Mountain biking on Minchinhampton Common.

After such a great summer I had almost forgotten what it was like to slide sideways down a muddy bank, find that my brakes don’t work on wet grass, or twitch a little as my front wheel gives on a muddy corner; but I am glad that I dragged myself out for this ride. My first instinct on Sunday morning was to roll over and go back to sleep, but I realised if I bailed on a ride in September because it was a bit wet, what on earth was I going to do for the next 6 months!

The conditions weren’t actually that bad and the weather was kind to us until the very end of the ride where Mother Nature tried to give us some not so subtle hints to clear off home and have some a shower!

I was discussing with a friend on Saturday night different forms of exercise and how I could  probably work my body as much in a gym for an hour as I do committing most of a day to a mountain bike ride. I set out 3 years ago to get a bike and get fit – but getting fitter and burning calories has become a secondary benefit of this exercise.

Now I ride my bike for the scenery, fun, social and the memories.

Riding steps near Stroud.

2013_09_15 Nailsworth It Ride 049

Some photos from the ride recce (done in May!)

Course map: 12.6km (7.8miles) / 72m of ascent: OS MapGPX. View on Bikehike.co.uk.

Ride report: Painful Painswick with Gary Palmer (+ Video)

By Gary Palmer. Photos by Tom Stickland, Gary Palmer, Gary Yeates and Pete Toop.

I got to the leisure centre car park in Stroud at 9.30 ish and there were already some guys there. Keen me thinks.

The weather definitely looked like it was going to be kind to us. What a relief because this ride in the wet is nothing short of torture. It wasn’t too long before there were 17 mountain bikers kitted up and ready to take off. Off we went through the streets of Stroud and up the Slad Valley.

Mountain biking Stroud

We climbed up a stony track and back out on to the Stroud to Birdlip road.  I knew this was going to be a boring old start to the ride but apart from getting an uplift (maybe next time) this was going to be the quickest way to get to the highest point.

At last we got into the woods just outside Birdlip and this where the fun would start. Off we went down some quite nice flowing single track and still managed to find some little uphill bits to keep the heart pumping. Half way along this section we came across our first bomb hole of the day where the braver members of the group threw themselves off and over the edge.

This self preservation kick of mine is getting out of hand at the moment, I was taking notes of how Phil seems to jump over or down everything. Just you wait till I get my automatic self inflating jacket.

Quarry drop in Buckholt Wood near Cranham

Riding down steep slope near Cranham

The next bit is one of my favourite bits: fast and twisty with a couple of bits where you can get some air between the wheels. We had a short wait at the bottom for a puncture and chain breakage.

Then all 16 of us started to make our way over to Cooper’s Hill. There’s a bit of climbing involved in this bit so I decided to stay well behind and make sure everybody made it (ha ha). When I eventually caught up I interrupted a lecture on the benefits of yoga and how it can benefit your mountain biking –  there were only 13 students asleep.

Mountain biking near Stroud.

Off again, this section turned out to be quite boggy which I didn’t mind seeing as three weeks before the whole ride was like it. We eventually arrived at Cooper’s Hill where we stood on the edge and wondered why those crazy Gloucester folk throw themselves over the edge to catch a cheese. We would have given it a try but Jerome forgot to pack the Camembert.

The view here is quite dramatic and on a clear day you can see right across to the Malvern Hills, there was too much haze from the heat today but apparently they are still there.

Cooper's Hill near Gloucester. Cheese rolling location.

Abandoned bikes

It wasn’t long before we had another mechanical, I think we had 4 chain breaks on this ride. It might pay to rename it the chain buster. I knew what was coming up next: the hill of all hills. I did mention to a few guys that I had only seen two people ever make it up in one. Well, that seemed motivation enough, total respect to you guys for riding it and fair play to everyone else that pushed their bikes up there. I must start using some positive self talk and see how that works (“this does not hurt, no this does not hurt”).

Cracking bit of downhill single track next. Sensing a good photo opportunity a few of the paparazzi took off to get themselves in a good position and this turned out to be very fruitful exercise. I take this opportunity to apologise to Paul for laughing at his misfortune, cracking bit of tree felling though and to Tom for riding down there on his front wheel, pure skills. 

Riding a bomb hole near Cranham

2013_03_02 Painful Painswick Beacon Ride 130

Mountain bike crash near Cranham MTB fail at Cranham

When we eventually got to the bottom of this piece we said good bye to Tom & Richard and made our way into Painswick woods for  more climbing of the worst kind; littered with roots. I’m really impressed with my winter riding boots they walk really well (just as well). A short break at the top then off for some more downhill single track.  I made a mistake and Tom (big boss Tom) shot pass me (see video). I just managed to shout turn left  and we both missed the turning and decided to carry on and see where it took us, pretty good I  must admit apart from it took us further down the hill (more climbing). At the bottom of this track we came across a National Trust Ranger and what a refreshing change he was, good attitude.

After our bonus climb I made a decision to go back to where we should have turned left just so we could do another little bomb hole and a steep hill with great photo opportunities. 

Steep slope near Cranham

Mountain biking badger

The route took us past a small village called Edge (Can’t imagine why it’s called that) and up another long hill.  At the top we are really close to being back home so we go the opposite way and take on a good drop off and some nice single track. Then we make our way along the Cotswold way and tackle the Haresfield beacon climb (another stretch of the walking boots for me) and we all meet at the car park at the top.

At this point I asked everyone if they were up to doing a bonus bit promising it would only be another mile or so. If I ever do that again somebody shoot me.

Stroud mountain bike ride map

Standish woods has some good twisty single track in it and I think was enjoyed by all. We got to the place that we did the extra bit for and sat down and contemplated riding down the crazy stuff in the quarry. There were tired legs and eyes so only Mike & Chas took off on their adventure, we didn’t even have the energy to go and watch them. Chas & Dave back (i mean Mike) and we headed back home.

That was a great ride, everybody stayed together, the weather was spot on and some good fun was had by all.

Cheers Lads.

OS MapGPX. See www.bikehike.co.uk for a great way to create and view maps.

See photos and map from a similar ride with Bigfoot MBC.