Mud, glorious mud! It’s one of the best things about trail riding and ABR Mike Beddows has sussed out two particularly mucky routes in Mid Wales and North Yorkshire
Mike Beddows, 35, is from Runcorn, but he’s a Yorkshireman at heart. He likes trail riding and wild camping and dislikes tarmac. This year, Mike’s planning to trail ride across England from coast to coast. He dreams of circumnavigating Australia with his wife, once the kids have all grown up
Green lane 15: North Yorkshire
Farm Trails 2.3 miles
I haven’t been able to find any recognised names for the trails detailed here, so I’ve dubbed them ‘Farm Trails’ as the routes pass close to Biggin House, Briscoe, Moorgate and Kitter farms.
This is the first set of green lanes that I’ve given the maximum ABR difficulty rating of 5. Under no circumstances should beginners attempt these trails. Even experienced riders on large capacity bikes shouldn’t attempt these trails solo; there’s a very strong possibility that your bikes will get stuck in deep, muddy bogs. Some sections are also the green lane equivalent of ‘accident black spots’, so be very cautious.
Having said that, don’t be discouraged. If you like mud-plugging then these are fantastic lanes to test yourself and your bikes. I’ve done this relatively short route twice. On both occasions it took around two to two-and-a-half hours to get a group of experienced riders on large capacity machines through.
Distance: 2.3 miles Nearest town: Whitby to the east I Maps: OS Explorer Map OL27 North York Moors, Eastern Area Start/end grid reference: NZ802097/NZ825084 ABR difficulty rating: 5 (out of 5) Wow factor: 4 (out of five) Other trails: There’s a good network of trails in North Yorkshire including the famous Rudland Rigg (ABR Issue 15). Keep an eye on www.adventure-bikerider.com for member-organised ride outs.
1-2 Start at Biggin House Farm. Don’t go into the farm; proceed through a gate on the right. Follow the farmland keeping the hedgerow/fenceline on your right. It may just look like a farmer’s field but this is a legal trail. I spoke with the farmer the first time I did the trail and he even opened the gate for me. At the bottom of the field, turn right through gate.
2-3 This is where the difficulties begin. There’s a very muddy section leading down to a small stream and a very deep rut in which to get stuck. Proceed up the other side of the stream, which is very muddy with a few rocks. You will need momentum to help you get up. Continue up the trail and through a gate. The trail appears to stop here, but it doesn’t. Proceed through the farmer’s field. Go through the waterlogged ditch in the middle of field. Continue straight on until you reach woodland. Turn right and follow the wood until a track appears to the left. Go through the gate and down into the wood. This is a very tight rocky descent with high drops that may ground the bash plate; speed is the best approach. Proceed through the stream and up the other side.
3-4 Continue straight on into the field and through the gate on the left. Follow the concrete farm track to the road; turn right, don’t go straight through the farm.
4-5 At the road, turn right then left.
5-6 Go through three gates. There’s a single bike rut to follow. This section is very gnarly especially before the next gate. The best option is to walk ahead and pick a line; the ruts are very deep.
6-7 Go through two gates and down a very rutted descent. Go through the stream then onto a grassy mud track; follow this all the way to the road. This section is tricky if you lose momentum.
7-8 At the road, turn around and you’ll see the gate for the next section. If you’ve struggled to get to this point, I suggest you don’t continue. The next section is the hardest of the trail. Go through the gate and follow the hedgerow. There’s no visible trail until you approach the downhill section. There’s a very muddy descent to a stream.
8-9 Go through the gate after the stream and up the other side. You’ll need speed and balls of steel to make this. Stay left as there’s a deep rut to the right that’s easy to slip into and become grounded. There’s also a considerable drop to the right if you get this next bit wrong. From here on, follow a very muddy, rutted track through woodland. Exit the wood onto moorland. There are bogs all over the place, so walk ahead and pick your line before proceeding. Be prepared to get stuck during this bit, unless you’re extremely skilful or jammy.
9-10 You can now relax. Follow the trail up through a field and exit after the house on the left. Go through the gate and turn right to finish the trail at the next gate where it meets the A171. Now find a pub for well-earned pint!
Did you know?
Between points 3-4, the trail doesn’t appear to follow the legal right of way as shown on the OS map. On the map, the correct route looks to go from points 3-5. I couldn’t find this route. I’ve passed through Briscoe Farm at point 4 several times and spoken with the farmer there. He says he gets a lot of riders passing through and didn’t say that it wasn’t a legal route. Be sure to close and bolt all gates, as this is the only thing that concerns the farmer.
Green lane 16: Mid Wales
Pant Farm Lane 3.69 miles
The starting lane is called Pant Farm Lane and is located in Mid Wales, near the market town of Llandrindod Wells. After the farm, the trail has no recognised name that I know of.
There’s potential to get lost on this trail. There are a few intersections with footpaths and farm tracks. For the most part there are red arrows pointing the way and a few ‘byway’ signs which do help. I’d advise printing a map of the trail to follow and checking it often.
Be warned that there is a very deep puddle halfway along the trail. It may look small but it’s very deceptive. Just be aware that it’s there and prepare yourself for it before entering. You’ll have to commit 100 percent to get through it; I’d suggest probing it with a stick first to assess the depth.
At the nearby village of Crossgates there is a fuel station and a good café, which is very popular with bikers (SO090649).
This trail can be attempted in both directions and ABR difficulty ratings are the same both ways.
Distance: 3.69 miles Nearest town: Penybont to the west (Crossgates at SO090649 for fuel and Biker Café) Maps: OS Explorer Map 200 Llandrindod Wells and Elan Valley Start/end grid reference: SO139660/SO183680 ABR Difficulty rating: 3 (out of 5) I Wow factor: 3 (out of 5) Other trails: There’s a fantastic network of trails in Mid Wales varying in degree of difficulty. Keep an eye on www.adventurebikerider.com for member-organised ride outs.
1-2 From the A488 turn onto a single-track tarmac road, which leads to Pant Farm. At the farmhouse, turn right and proceed through the gate.
2-3 Go uphill through the field following a farm track. At the gate, turn left on the tarmac road and then immediately right onto the byway, which is sign posted.
3-4 The byway is rutted and proceeds uphill along a muddy slope. It’s a case of picking a rut and staying in it as they are just too deep to jump from one to another. At point 4, the byway splits. It’s worth taking the right-hand fork just to ride to the end.
4-5 There are some thigh-deep puddles along the way and as they’re in the ruts there’s no option but to go through them. When you reach the tarmac road, turn around and go back to the fork and turn right.
5-6 Proceed downhill along the muddy, rutted slope. Take care as it can be pretty slippery.
6-7 At the tarmac road continue straight on. Proceed along the farm access trail which is a hard-based track that’s very straight- forward to ride. At the intersection, take the right fork and proceed past the barn (you can see the barn from the intersection). You may find a lot of sheep on the actual trail, fenced in near the barn. There’s an alternative gate at the back of the barn if this is the case.
7-8 Continue downhill on the farm access track. At the sharp left-hand bend, turn right and go through the gate. After the gate, turn left and follow the track downhill.
8-9 At the crossroads, keep the barn on your left and continue straight on. The trail heads uphill and through a gate. The track gets rutted and there are some puddles, the first of which looks large and deep but isn’t. Stay left on the trail as the footpath goes right. As you arrive at a small wood on the right you’ll be confronted by another large-looking puddle (SO168669). Be warned: this is deep. I took the left-hand rut and dropped down into the puddle; the bow-wave came over my head and I’d estimate the water was around 3-4ft, though there had been a lot of rain. Keep the throttle open; you don’t want to stall here! The bottom is very muddy. Look behind and there’s a motocross circuit with lots of jumps.
9-10 Proceed straight on through a gate. A trail will join from the right, but continue straight on. Go through the next gate and take the right-hand route up the muddy slope, indicated by the red arrow.
10-11 The trail from here is very muddy and rutted – great fun! Continue to the tarmac road.
11-12 To finish, turn right and the tarmac soon ends and a farm access track returns. It’s a hard base and there are plenty of very deep puddles along the way. Be warned, they look shallow but are in fact pretty deep. Nothing to worry about, though, just be aware so you don’t hit them at speed.