This one’s a route of three halves, and that’s despite it being quite modest in length. There’s a whole load of variety in these 15 miles: speed, singletrack, trees, open moor, horrible technical climbs, amazing views, dirt, stone, roots, whoops, woes, scrumpy and cheese.
For the cruisers and carvers there’s the open moorland of Black Down, which as well as having lots of cutesy flora and fauna and wild ponies and stuff also has a great speedy descent that will have your eyes watering and your grinning teeth covered in midges.
The moorland gives way to the woodland playground of Rowberrow Warren. Our route passes quite simply through the forest, but there are plenty of fun singletrack detours to be had if you’re confident of being able to get back on track.
After a cruise back over Black Down and some pleasant tarmac bashing, it’s time to finish with the last dash down the Cheddar Gorge trail. First, though, comes the small matter of getting up to the top of the descent. Did someone say ‘hike-a-bike’? Anyway, it’s over pretty quick, thankfully.
The descent down the gorge hillside starts wide, free and speedy. Take the main track for an all-out drag race, or scurry off to the skinnier trails towards the cliffs (“Now try your brakes” etc).
Then you’ll enter a middle section of fabulously engaging dirt, rock and root as the treeline appears and then envelopes your senses.
The final section down skinny, skittish, ivy-laden singletrack is perhaps the best bit. The Mendips confirm that variety is indeed the spice of our riding life.