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7stanes

Mountain Bike Trails

Understanding Trail Grades

Trail grades are split between those for cross-country single track trails and those for bike parks and forest roads.

This is to highlight that forest roads can be of variable difficulty and are not part of a progression on to green and blue level single track trails.

Similarly, orange-graded extreme bike parks are not simply a progression on from single track grades.

Explanations for each of the gradings are given below the symbol tables.

Use the details below with the trails at a glance and trail profiles information to help you choose an appropriate trail to ride on.

These are a general indication of difficulty - there are easier and more tricky options available within each grade. The Trails at a glance page lists the 7stanes trails in rough order of difficulty within each grade.

For a quick and easy overview of what is available at each of the 7stanes from trail grade to facilities download our 7stanes fact sheet.

Is This For You?

Find the right cross-country single track trail grade for your abilities

Grade Suitable For Trail
grade symbol
Green: Easy
Beginners in good health with basic bike skills.
Most types of bike.
Relatively flat & wide.
grade symbol
Blue: Moderate
Riders in good health with basic off-road riding skills.
Basic mountain bikes.
Some "single-track" sections & small obstacles of root & rock.
grade symbol
Red: Difficult
Proficient mountain bikers with good off-road riding skills & fitness.
Good mountain bikes.
Challenging climbs, tricky descents & technical features such as drop-off's and large rocks.
grade symbol
Black: Severe
Expert mountain bikers with high level of fitness.
Quality off-road mountain bikes.
Greater challenge & difficulty. Expect large & unavoidable features.
warning-sign-(1).png Mountain biking is a potentially hazardous activity carrying a significant risk

Is This For You?

Find the right non single track trail grade for your abilities

Grade Suitable For Trail
Forest Roads & Similar Cyclists in good health.
Map reading useful (routes not always marked).
Most bike.
Gradients can vary.
Surfaces may be uneven or potholed in places.
Look out for vehicles & other users.
grade symbol
Extreme: Downhill Trails
Dirt Jumps
Freeride areas
Extreme level riders with expert technical skills & good fitness. Technical bike skills important. Jumping ability obligatory. Extreme levels of exposure & risk. Large features.
warning-sign-(1).png Mountain biking is a potentially hazardous activity carrying a significant risk

The Grades Explained

Cross country singletrack trail grades

Green grade - Easy trails

  • Green grade trails are suitable for: Beginners or novice cyclists.
  • Bike required: Most bikes and mountain bike hybrids are suitable.
  • Trail and surface types: These will be relatively flat and wide. Trail surface might be loose, uneven or muddy at times. Might include short flowing singletrack-style sections. Some green routes can take trailers.
  • Gradients and technical trail features: Climbs and descents are mostly shallow. No challenging features.
  • Suggested fitness level: Suitable for most people in good health.

 

Blue grade - Moderate trails

  • Blue grade trails are suitable for: Intermediate cyclists or mountain bikers with basic off-road riding skills.
  • Bike required: Basic mountain bike or mountain bike hybrid.
  • Trail and surface types: As for 'green', plus specially constructed singletrack trails. Trail surface might include small obstacles of root and rock.
  • Gradients and technical trail features: Most gradients are moderate but might include short steep sections. Includes small technical trail features (such as roots and rock).
  • Suggested fitness level: A good standard of fitness can help.

 

Red grade - Difficult trails

  • Red grade trails are suitable for: Proficient mountain bikers with good off-roading skills.
  • Bike required: Quality off-road mountain bikes.
  • Trail and surface types: Steeper and tougher, mostly singletrack with technical sections. Expect very variable surface types.
  • Gradients and technical trail features: A wide range of climbs and descents of a challenging nature will be present. Expect boardwalks, berms, large rocks, medium steps, drop-offs, cambers and water crossings.
  • Suggested fitness level: A higher level of fitness and stamina is required.

 

Black grade - Severe trails

  • Black grade trails are suitable for: Expert mountain bike users, used to physically demanding routes.
  • Bike required: A good quality off-road mountain bike is needed.
  • Trail and surface types: As for 'red', but with an expectation of greater challenge and continuous difficulty. Can include any useable trail and might include exposed open hill sections.
  • Gradients and technical trail features: Expect large, committing and unavoidable technical trail features. Sections will be challenging and variable. Might also have 'downhill' style sections.
  • Suggested fitness level: Suitable for very active people used to prolonged effort.

 

Non-singletrack trail grades

Orange grade - Extreme - Bike park, Downhill trails, Dirt jumps, Free ride areas

  • Orange grade trails are suitable for: Riders aspiring to an elite level of technical ability; incorporates everything from full on downhill riding to 'big air' jumps.
  • Bike required: A good quality mountain bike is needed.
  • Trail and surface types: Severe constructed trails and/or natural features. All sections will be challenging. Includes extreme levels of exposure or risk. Jumping ability obligatory.
  • Gradients and technical trail features: Will include a range of small, medium and large technical trail features, including downhill trails, freeride sections and mandatory jumps.
  • Suggested fitness level: A good standard of fitness is recommended.

 

Forest road and similar

  • NG grade trails are suitable for: A wide range of cyclists.
  • Bike required: Most bikes and mountain bike hybrids are suitable.
  • Trail and surface types: Relatively flat and wide. The trail surface might be loose, uneven or muddy at times. These roads might be also be used by vehicles and others including horse riders and dog walkers.
  • Gradients and technical trail features: Gradients can be very variable and might include short, steep sections. Occasional potholes might be present. Routes might not be waymarked or signposted.
  • Suggested fitness level: A good standard of fitness can help.

 

warning-sign-(1).png

Mountain biking is a potentially hazardous activity carrying a significant risk. It should only be undertaken with a full understanding of all inherent risks.

Riding Safely

Have a look at the video below which takes you through some basic aspects of riding safely.

There's also information on the forestry commission your safety page.

Find more information on the Forest Cycling Code and information on Visitor Safety and Mountain Biking while on the National Forest Estate at the links above.

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