Seven beginner jump lines

Learning to get airborne? Here are seven trail centres that’ll ease you in, up and down.

>>> How to jump on a mountain bike

1. Forest of Dean, Skills area

The Forest Of Dean skills area opened up a mere nine months ago, and since then we reckon it’s become one of the best spots to learn to jump. There are 10 tabletops in the zone that guide you expertly down the hill, plus a series of rollers you can double up and jump as your speed and confidence builds. And when you’re done there, there are now five new, big tabletops at the dropoff from the top of the hill. No wonder builder rob Breakwell said “this is as safe as it’s possible to make jumps.”

2. Bike Park Wales, Popty Ping

You can’t miss BikePark Wales if you want to get air. The A470 is the line to aim for after you’ve built up your confidence and technique, but the one to start on is the Popty Ping where a there are a dozen sumptuous tables in a row. Speed-holding berms link them too so it’s easy to hold you speed, and the line is perfectly repeatable to master the technique.

3. Coed y brenin, The Foundry

Another skills area, this one is massive though. Cross the bridge from the Coed y Brenin carpark and go past the rocky drop line and there’s a big mountain bike pump track to play on, complete with rollers you can double up and tabletops galore. The tables can be a bit of a stretch but there’s no danger in coming up short, and a few practice runs should have you reaching the downslope in no time.

4. Swinley Forest

Ride the new trails at Swinley Forest and you’ll come across dozens of places where you can double up rollers or get the bike airborne on little kickers, all without scaring yourself sh1tless. If you do want the latter though, poke about at the top of the hill (you’ll know it when you climb it), find the Labyrinth and session the tabletops and gaps.

5. Wind Hill B1KEPARK

The new Windhill bike park has some terrifying jumps, drops and step downs, features that make even pro or elite riders a little dry in the mouth. But there’s plenty for regular riders too, with half-a-dozen trails catering for green beginners to elite-level pros.

Why’s it so special about it? With sculpted turns and chiselled jumps it’s almost like riding a vast piece of modern art. There are tabletops and flowy trails that are just aching to carry you safely over and master the jumping technique.

The starting point is Blutopia, a mellow blue route that can be rolled, but nudges you towards more, ending with Viagra Fall, a pro line inspired by Chris Smith, to provide a playground for the increasing number of elite amateur and professional riders. A seventh trail, Empuru, described by builder Richard Kelly as a “game changer” is due to open shortly; 1km of red grade, it has been designed to get riders of all grades jumping.

Wind Hill has been built to cope with all weathers and the build standard, combined with free-draining soil, means it will be rideable year-round.

6. Coed Llandegla

If you’ve not been to Llandegla in recent years then it’s worth a revisit as there’s plenty more stuff in there, especially jump stuff. On the Black route there’s ‘Parallel Universe’ and on the Red there’s ‘JJ’s Jumps’ and ‘B-Line’ and last but no means least there’s the Freeride Trail finale.

7. Lee Quarry

The plucky ol’ playground of Lee Quarry in Rossendale, Lancashire is better known for its precipitous rock-hewn trails than its jumps but the final descent of the Red has a series of small doubles and larger tabletops that make for ideal jump practice. There’s also a series of jumps, tables and hips leading into Skills Area on the upper plateau that it worth messing about on.