Friday afternoon...I was sitting at work counting down the hours till the weekend, the van was packed and I was ready for a weekend of guiding in Exmoor. But what to do tonight..perhaps an adventure was on the cards… I looked at my phone...Quick check of the weather and I was in for Cheddar Gorge!
5pm came around and I was out the door and on my way to cheddar. Home of succulent cave aged cheese and spectacular views.
We arrived in cheddar at 8pm, quick stop at the chippy to pick up dinner and we were heading up. We climbed the South side of the gorge, the start was fairly technical climb but good to stretch the legs after a day sitting at the desk.
The sunset came and went and we still had a descent to reach our bed for the night. We chose to head down the bridle path that crossed the gorge and heads over the road to the North side. Our eyes gleaming as we came across a technical rout covered descent that would easily home to some off priest tracks in Morzine. With light nearly gone we squinted our way down, wishing we had packed lights but enjoying the technical natural descent. O man was it fun!
We climbed up the road, careful not to be mowed down by the boy racers of cheddar testing out their new 2 strokes. We climbed up the back and over to the top of the South side again. Luckily the weather was on our side and we bedded down under the stars for the night.
We woke up at sunrise and climbed up to the West side of the gorge, looped over to the top. The views were amazing, we could see over to the Quantocks and the beaches at Bridgwater Bay. Our final descent started down a wide open track, with tonnes of line choice and a wicked couple of natural features, finishing with a technical rocky descent.
We finished at the car park at 8 and that was that...off to Exmoor. I’l be sure to be back to Cheddar soon!
After a winter spent dreaming of dusty trails, Trail Unknown started the 2018 summer season off with a guided weekend linking some of the best natural trails the UK has to offer in the hilly heaven of Devon that is Exmoor National Park.
The idea of Trail Unknown is to find an amazingly beautiful area in the UK such as a national park or area of outstanding natural beauty, where we know there is a mysterious maze of magnificent single track. We put on a professional local guide who knows how to link the most talked about and least talked about tracks in the area. We get a load of awesome riders to join us who are supposedly customers but feel like mates, provide lunch from local produce and enjoy a full weekend of the best riding ever with not a worry in sight. We even throw in a cheeky uplift from a local farmer sometimes. For 50 squidders a day, you can't go wrong.
It all began on Friday morning, meeting in the quaint English town of Porlock. Now if you've never been there, you must think of mega old pubs, colourful tea houses, little cottages, sea views, friendly old people who make delicious cheese and cider, deer, the second highest point in the south of England, soo many trails, and dreamy combes. A combe 'is a short valley or hollow on a hillside or coastline, especially in Southern England.' Exmoor is full of magical combes that twist and turn with the hill, where the ancient woodland is epic and the ground is just like the best ground ever to ride, so loose and yet with so much grip. Oh baby, it's all about the combes..
The riding in Exmoor is such a treat and blessed by over 500 meters of altitude at the legendary Dunkery Becon. From there you have a huge selection of sweeping trails from the open moorland that take you all the way down to sea level, through many a combe and sometimes with a few cheeky stream crossings that are always a fun challenge.
With no set path to any of our trips (it's in the name - Trail Unknown), we ride something for everyone. The beauty of natural style riding is that you ride the tracks at whatever speed you like, however playfully you like and it will always put a big muddy smile on your face.
After a morning enjoying the hills, what more could you want than to turn up to a serene spot with lunch laid out ready for you? Because that's the kind of service you get with Trail Unknown. Cake and all.
Where else could you finish the weekend but at the tea house for some scones, clotted cream and jam. A massive thank you to Dan French for a fantastic weekend of tasty trail selection, to Mark Brewer at Exmoor MTB Uplifts, to Joey Millward at Millward Media for the pics and videos, and to everyone who came and made it one of the best Trail Unknown weekends so far. If you'd like to join us on our next trip, see our dates below.
Hugo and Tom are trail hunting fanatics, travelling around the UK to find the best and most beautiful wild riding locations for their mountain bikes. We write about our findings and provide professionally guided mountain bike trips to our favourite spots. We're also big believers in outdoor education for children.