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The Mendip Hills is one of those places where easy routes are actually quite hard to come by. The climbs and descents are on the whole steep, and there is limited level ground to make up the miles. This is about as sedentary as it gets, with a long and steady climb from Dolebury Warren onto Black Down and on to the high point of Beacon Batch, followed by a long, drawn out descent that rations the altitude lost by mixing it in with some sumptuous semi-technical singletrack.
The opening leg makes a good warm-up before the right turn onto Back Lane, which is usually rough and rutted, not to mention chewed up by horses. If you’re going to end up pushing anywhere, it’ll be here. The continuation alongside the brook is a lot easier, although there’s a tough pull at the end before easy forest tracks take over. From Tyning’s Farm it’s a final steep push onto the bracken-covered slopes of Black Down, and with the work all done, it’s an easy cruise up to the trig point on Beacon Batch, where you finally get gravity on your side.
The descent starts sweetly enough: sandy doubletrack that throws up small jumps as it goes. And it gets even better when you reach the edge of the moor. Bumpy singletrack weaves through the bracken, alongside the wall, eventually steepening enough to have you covering the brakes, and then spilling out on the flat, sandy plateau below. But that is just the start. It now slips sweetly around the hillside, dipping into two steep-sided valleys and pulling steeply out again, before eventually meeting a broad, rough track that heads back into the woods and drops over all kinds of rocks and rubble back to the car park.