Longleat lions and ladder drops
Longleat’s new Wind Hill B1KEPARK riding spot in Wiltshire sees blue routes, freeride stuff, downhill runs, ladder drops and plenty of natural features too.
The popularity of bike parks looks set to continue but it’s fair to say that Wind Hill B1KEPARK on the Longleat Estate has something about it that sets it apart. Almost sculptural in construction it is clearly engineered yet somehow seems to sit well in the landscape. That’s probably down to the motocross honed eye of the builder Chris ‘Rocket’ Rose but also testament to the thousands of volunteer man hours that followed the path of the digger to hand-finish the trail so that not only is the build quality extremely high, by the time next Spring role around there are parts that will look like they’re carved though a sea of blue bells.
But back up a few years and Longleat was a destination for locals to create informal trails and features of their own. The building eventually was pulled together under the auspices of the legendary Black Canon Collective. But even with membership required to ride, a build and maintenance programme based on volunteers wasn’t sustainable and the location fell into disuse.
Fast forward to 2016 and following a phone call from long-time local rider Chris Smith, Richard Kelly of B1KEPARK made the trip to Longleat. It didn’t take five minutes to realise what a great location it was. “It became clear that this spot was too good to give up on and offered untapped potential that is rare to find,” said Kelly. Supported by the management of the first B1KEPARK at Tidworth and the remaining local riders and builders a plan was evolved essentially to to tidy up the existing network and add a blue trail. Once on the ground all that went out of the window as the unique mix of build and ride experience working on the site began to see how truly special this place could be.
A six-week schedule rolled out to six months as originally identified corridors developed organically as the team worked their way down the trails. Right now there are six trails, part of the realised vision of a progressive park with a pathway that caters for everyone from relatively inexperienced riders to the world’s elite. The starting point is Blutopia, a mellow blue route that can be rolled but nudges you towards more, ending with Viagra Fall- Proline inspired by Chris Smith to provide a playground for the increasing number of elite amateur and professional riders. A seventh trail Empuru, described by Richard Kelly as a ‘game changer’ is due to open shortly, 1km of red grade, it has been designed to get rides 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. The riding complements its sister park Tidworth Freeride and is the fourth in the B1KEPARK group. To ride the network you need to join, which is free but with different access option from pay-as-you-ride day rate to full benefits of access-all-areas.
For the latest info check out facebook.com/windhillb1kepark
The team at B1KE have brought you many a fun place-to-play on your mountain bike and this new Wind Hill B1KEPARK has been in the pipeline for a good number of months now.
The Wind Hill B1KEPARK is in the Longleat Estate in Wiltshire situated in a compact area of woodland. You may have heard of the Black Cannon or Allotment trails in days gone by. The new Wind Hill project supplants those.
There’s a wide variety of trails on offer, ranging from easy flowing Blue stuff through to full-bore Freeride and Downhill runs.
Wind Hill B1KEPARK riding
- Pro and Pro2 Lines – supersized features for skilled dirt jumpers
- Flow Trail – as it says
- Downhill trails – three currently with more planned
- Dual Line – race yer mate
- Expert Line – Chris Smith designed radness
Pro rider Chris Smith has been involved with B1KE for many a bikepark and this place is no exception, so you can be certain that the trails will be typically fun-stuffed and well-made.
If you’re interested in riding Wind Hill B1KEPARK then the best thing to do is head to the www.b1ke.com website and register. Sign up as a free member (or go all-in a become a full member if you want), this will mean you will be registered to ride before you even get there. Sorted.
The site is pay-to-ride. Either by joining B1KE as a ‘Free-2-ride member’ and buying a day pass, or by buying an annual ‘Full B1KEPARK membership’ which will cover you to ride at any of B1KE’s sites at no further cost.
The above is one of them thar new-fangled ‘Facebook Live’ vids so apologies if it looks jerky and unedited (because it is!) but it is a nice vid that captures the team’s excitement and the general vibe of Wind Hill B1KEPARK.