Mountain biking can be an exhilarating way to get out and enjoy nature, and there are some fantastic bridleways and purpose-built trails to enjoy on the Mendip Hills.
How can you #ridewithnature in this special area? Our top 5 tips:
1 Stick to bridleways or the purpose-built trails.
Check your OS map or use an online resource (https://roam.somerset.gov.uk/roam/map) to plan your route to stick to public bridleways, where the impact of off-road cycling can be managed within the landscape.
In particular, the calcareous and calaminarian grassland habitats on sites such as Black Rock, Velvet Bottom, Blackmoor & Crook Peak are fantastically species rich, of international importance and lock up lots carbon.
Damaging red listed plant species by cycling across nature reserves outside of the legally permitted bridleway network is a criminal offence and gives all bike riders a bad reputation.
2 Skids are for kids.
Skidding tears off the surface, leading to rainwater running faster in the skid-marks that leads to more erosion and worse trails for everyone.
3 Be nice, say hi.
Smiling and saying hi to people is contagious. There are lots of other people trying to enjoy the hills and trails so let’s show we care for the hills and each other. Pull over (legally bike riders should do this anyway), say hello and leave a wave of happiness in your wake.
4 Expect the unexpected.
Scrub speed off before going into corners as you never know what’s around the bend; children, dogs, grazing animals, families picnicking on the path, fallen trees…
5 Ride with nature remotely.
Had a great ride? There’s lots of ways you can keep the Mendip Hills beautiful for your next ride and generations to come. Become a Wildlife Trust member [link], join the National Trust [link], donate to the Mendip Hills Fund [link] or Ride Mendips [link] or even join one of the local organisations for a volunteer day?
The Mendip Hills AONB, Somerset Wildlife Trust, and National Trust all work hard to conserve biodiversity and enable public access across this iconic landscape. Please do your bit to help by mountain biking responsibly in the Mendip Hills.