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Trails through the trees at Grenoside Woods

Illustration by Alys at Eleven.

It's hard to believe that Grenoside Woods was almost lost to the local community in 2011. Put up for sale, a concerted effort was required to raise the million pounds necessary to ensure this haven of peace and tranquility would continue to be a sanctuary for locals and visitors from further afield alike. Mountain bikers have been enthusiastic fans of Grenoside Woods for years and it has slowly been transformed into an amazing venue for mountain biking, with three dedicated and well-maintained trails.

The transformation was brought about thanks to Peaty's Steel City Downhill race. This annual event was first held in 2011 to raise awareness and money for Sheffield Wildlife Trust’s purchase of the woodland. With the woods saved, the trust set about turning the woods back to nature while addressing all its users’ needs. The race has continued to raise money and all profits are invested straight back into building and maintaining Greno's mountain bike trails, which are now managed by Ride Sheffield.

Grenoside Woods is effectively Steve Peat's back garden and training ground. Back in 1995 a national downhill race was held in the woods on a long, pedally track running parallel to the current Steel City track. At the time, Steve Peat was riding for local team Langsett Cycles – which is still going strong today – alongside his mate Will Longden.

The first trail was the eponymous Steel City track, built for the second year of the race. It flows from top to bottom, with a gap jump, berms and rock gardens to keep things interesting. There are B line options around all significant features, keeping it accessible to intermediate riders. In 2015 the track was completely resurfaced making it fast and smooth, and a second optional line was added with a double jump and tricky off camber corner.

To riders right of Steel City, just off the main push up track, sits Pub Run – so named as it direct riders back toward Greno village and the liquid treats therein. This trail has changed massively over the years as berms and jumps have been added, but it still maintains many of its rough and rocky features and challenges riders to find a smooth line.

On the other side of Steel City is DH3, which is suitable for more advanced riders. The top section has several large jumps that require speed and skill to clear. The lower section features a variety of tricky corners and jumps, which keeps things challenging.

It’s possible to have a great time at Greno on any well-maintained bike, even a hard-tail – a downhill rig is definitely not required. There's a fully signposted loop, or you can pick and choose from the downhill trails. With easy access to Wheata and Wharncliffe woods, it's a popular destination so the car park at the top of the often gets busy at weekends.

Written by Nick Hamilton

13.08.2015

Information

Location: Grenoside, S35 8NY.
Parking: Forestry Commission car park on Woodhead Road.
Where to eat & drink: Proper chips and a sip of real ale at The Old Red Lion, 210 Main Street, S35 8PR.
Useful links: Sheffield Wildlife Trust.

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