We took a trip to the Shropshire hills and what a place with such a diverse and unique riding scene! A mix of tight, technical riding in Ludlow. Paired with the steep, loose and fast tracks in the Stiperstones. Here's what we found and why you should take the time to explore this area on two wheels!
Ludlow lies at the foot of the Shropshire Hills, a quaint and quiet market town. Its been said on a silent day you can hear the woops and yeeows of the rowdy forest that overlooks the town. The forest to the west of the town is home to a maze of technical, loamy and tight tracks that will keep you entertained all day long.
Parking at Vinnalls car park we took a right up Wigmore Rd, entering the forest on the left. The first track we rode was like a pumptrack that weaved through a network of tightly packed trees. Trees came up on me fast as I pumped and flew round loose and loamy corners. The recent weather had blown down a thick layer of needles that hid loads of slippery routes looking to wash out your front wheel at any moment!
Catch Ludlow on a good day and you'll be in loam paradise. This trip the recent rain had made some of the tracks as loose as a goose...but so fun! We scoured the local woodland, riding tonnes of steep and technical tracks. The tracks aren't the longest but the local builders use the elevation so well and the peddle up is really quick so you get so much riding time in. We cruised back into Ludlow for a famous hot sandwich at Vaughan's sandwich bar, followed by a coffee and potentially the worlds largest scone from The Olive Branch cafe. Onto the Stiperstones!
Refuelled we headed North into the Shropshire hills to the Stiperstones. Home to some scary ridge lines, epic views and geographical features. The Stiperstones were formed around 480 million years ago. Shattered local quartzite rock has created heaps of jaggered rocks that peak out of the hill tops. They look epic and have crazy names like The Devil's Chair.
Parking at The Stiperstones Inn we peddled up the road and onto apparently the second highest hill in England! The views were epic and we we're so happy to be up there on a clear day!
We flowed down single track that hugged the surrounding hills. It was super fun and flowy. The trails were all natural and had plenty of rollers and grass banks to sink and pump into. One false move though and you would be tumbling down the steep hillside so we had to keep on our toes!
On our final descent we rang The Stiperstones Inn and put in our food order '....we're just dropping in, see you in 10minutes'. The track to the pub was called 'In too Steep' on Trail Forks and it sure was steep! It felt like controlled falling more than riding your bike but boy was it good! Loose rocks would fly past me as I let loose down the track, snaking between banks and heather as I picked up speed and just held on for dear life! Just as I thought I had survived the trail finishes with a steep rocky shoot which chucks you out at the pub. We finished with a well deserved bangers and mash washed down with local ale.
There's tonnes of great riding around the Shropshire hills area, with a unique riding scene and quality trail builders. We just scraped the surface of the trail network here and I can't wait to head back. If you get the chance, head into The Trailhead Bike shop in Shrewsbury, an awesome shop who organise plenty of local rides!