Route for a Berkshire bike ride at Swinley Forest
PUBLISHED: 11:45 03 September 2019
A chance to explore Swinley Forest, just south of Bracknell, with some mountain biking
Swinley Forest is an area of woodland owned by the Crown Estate south-west of Windsor Great Park. The area is undulating and was once part of Windsor Forest. Now planted with mostly Scots Pine, the names of the hills indicate areas pf previous moorland. The forest contains a number of earthworks that were built as training grounds for the Napoleonic Wars towards the very end of the 18th century and the forest has been used for filming for blockbusters such as Harry Potter.
The forest area is surrounded by Bracknell to the north, Bagshot and Camberley to the south and Sandhurst to the west. You can sometimes hear the noise of military training at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.
The forest is good for mountain biking and contains a number of designated bike trails (Green, Blue and Red) in addition to straight fire roads. This bike ride combines the intermediate trail (Blue) with some straight sections and is approximately 10 miles or 16 kilometres, however there are many ways to adapt the ride as you see fit, and maps and route signs are plentiful at the centre.
- Start/finish: The Look Out Discovery Centre, Nine Mile Ride, Bracknell, Berkshire RG12 7QW
- Distance: 10 miles/16 km +
- Terrain: Straight tracks and purpose-built undulating bike forest trails
- Refreshments: Coffee shop at The Look Out or eateries in Bagshot
- SatNav postcode: RG12 7QW. The Look Out is 3 miles from Bracknell town centre and not far from Junction 3 of the M3 and Junction 10 of the M4. There is car parking at The Look Out April to September
1 (SU 87560 66128) Starting from the visitor centre look for the signs for the forest bike trails and locate the Blue trail. The cycle hub at The Look Out Discovery Centre rents out bikes if you don't have your own (you will need a mountain bike for these rides). The trails are marked with colours. Green (beginners), Blue (intermediate) and Red (advanced). This ride follows the straight cycle trails back to the centre, the ride is circular, anti-clockwise and there is the option of stopping off at the village of Bagshot on the ride down.
This trail is numbered and follows a winding route through the woodland with some ups and downs and straight sections. Follow the numbered sections 1-12 South between Gormoor Farm, Gravel Hill and Pudding Hill until you follow a section close to Windsor Ride. You will reach an intersection called Lower Star Post.
2 (SU 87513 64028) From Lower Star Post coming south close to Windsor Ride take the third track left and follow this until you get to Bagshot Heath. Follow the straight track uphill north east until you get to Vicarage Lane Track (you could at this point follow the track right, which would take you to the village of Bagshot). Turn left and follow the straight track north- west turning left and then right, which will take you on a long straight leg towards Penny Hill, and then turn left again which will take you towards The Look Out Discovery Centre and the end of the ride.
Swinley 1 (The trails are numbered and colour coded).
Swinley 2 & 3 (The straight road tracks make a contrast to the off-road forest sections but can still be hilly).
- The best walks in Berkshire - With the North Wessex Downs, Windsor's Long Walk and a whole host of beautiful towns and villages, Berkshire is an amazing place for a stroll