TRAIL REVIEW: The Croft Trail
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A lot of Swindon has been built from scratch in new housing estates, and while cycling in general is well catered for with dedicated cycle paths everywhere, it’s nearly all tarmac with few opportunities for offroad cycling. Fortunately there is a brilliant dedicated trail in Swindon, with some really excellent riding.
The Croft Trail is 3 mile loop of waymarked woodland trail, with a beginner (blue) and
more technical (red) routes located opposite the Nationwide headquarters off Piper Way. There is a free car park on site and it is only a mile from the train station as well.
The trail is on council land and has been built and maintained by the members of MBSwindon club, who have done a brilliant job constructing a varied and exciting playground on what is actually a very small plot of land. You can see from the map below quite how well they have used all of the land available!
I’ve used quite a few superlatives already, but having ridden quite a few parts of the UK, this trail really stacks up well against others. There are burms, jumps, rock sections, wooden ramps and elevated sections, downhill runs with/without jumps, tight singletrack downhills, rocky uphill climbs and more gradual elevations – a real wishlist of riding. The surface is good quality and is all-weather as well – some fast tyres will see you round most of the year.
It’s always hard to describe a full trail, but fortunately it has been filmed, so here is a video of a lap of the trail. it’s slightly out of date, as there have been some new bits added since, but it gives you a great idea of the quality of what’s on offer.
Having been out of mountain biking for several years, and only done one road route this year, this was the second ride I did, and I loved every minute of it. It really gave me the mountain biking bug back straight away, and I went back as soon as I could. Unfortunately I was far too excited the second time and crashed on the first corner (well some bits are challenging, honest!), but it was only a minor spill and I managed 3 laps in the end. I will be going back as much as I can though – it’s a true asset to Swindon, having such quality riding quickly accessible at any time.
The trail is free to ride, but it is built by volunteers of MBSwindon, so if you do ride it regularly please think about joining the club. It’s a very reasonable joining fee and the club has lots of information, organised rides and discounts as well – you’ll probably make back your membership fee the first time you shop. There is a link to the club’s page on the trail below.