Oakwell Hall near Leeds is the latest in a growing breed of small-scale trail projects
Oakwell hall is a purpose-built trail in Leeds is the ideal place for younger riders to hone their skills before taking on harder trails.
There’s a new mountain bike trail lurking in the woods on the southern outskirts of Leeds. It’s tiny, it’s sandwiched between Ikea and the M62 motorway, but it’s important because it represents the new breed of built trails growing up all over the country. It also happens to be an absolute blast to ride.
Blue-graded and 1.3km this new trail is nestled in a little urban oasis and country park called Oakwell Hall, Birstall. If you’re local you must be wondering what MTB Gods are shining down from on high with Leeds Urban Bike Park growing all the time down the road, and now this loop popping up on your doorstep. Both sites are easily linked for those who fancy a bit more of an explore.
Threading through small trees in rolling terrain, the Oakwell Hall trail is a proper little blast with a mini-DH pump track feel. It’s smooth enough for everyone from a toddler on a balance bike to an advanced rider looking to generate maximum speed from the series of bermed, linked turns. Although the final flat out finish shown here might be a bit too hectic for little ones.
The short circuit consists of an extremely easy to pedal climb that quickly pays back with two separate downhill sections linking constantly banked turns, with corners that flow really well and are surprisingly high speed and fun for such a mellow gradient. It smartly packs as much as possible into a compact footprint and is well made so shredders can hit berms hard and improving riders or kids can practice leaning, building speed and tackling rollers to develop extra skills for harder trails elsewhere.
Like the other new stuff locally, it’s great an area that’s not previously had many purpose built trails or much riding for kids to get stuck into is getting a boost. There’s also a great (and cheap) little café on site and bridleway access to a playpark for families.
If you’re wondering who to thank, Gordon McMinn and the local Ride Kirklees advocacy group did the hard work before trail builders Biketrack came over from Sheffield and designed and installed their now-signature, swoopy, weather proof trail. And long may these small-scale projects driven by passionate local mountain bikers keep improving our sport all over the country.