Another route I discovered many years ago, looking for an escape from the forest boundaries.
I believe this route to be very similar to the club New Years Day ride, though I've never done it and have to say that tackling these moors in the depths of winter isn't the best idea in the world (as you can see from this sunny spring day picture on the left).
Best ridden on a dry day when there's been a dry spell beforehand.
This is a lollipop route - starts and finishes on the same tracks. Start along the Grove Link and make your way up to the Moors Edge Singletrack by Five Lane Ends, hang a left. There's a choice of lefts onto the moors though the one higher up the bank has more of an all weather surface. I've only ever tackled this route anti-clockwise but see no reason why it shouldn't be done clockwise.
The moors tend to be pretty boggy most of the year round so be prepared for some slow motion comedy falls into a stinking mess :-). The dip in the middle of the profile below is Eggleston (good place to stop for a nice pint) before tackling one of the most horrendous, relentless, energy sapping, steep, grassy climbs I've had the misfortune to come across : I usually challenge people to see how far up they can get and am yet to ride this route with anyone who's cleaned it : respect to those who can!
Once up that climb, you're back on the moors (look out for the guide posts), this time on rutted tracks (rather than hidden tracks in the heather like the first moorland section). Try to open the gate at the end of this section as quietly as you can - the dog kennels next to it normally erupt and send everyone fleeing : suggest someone else goes ahead and gets the gate as you prepare for the sprint through :-)
A short section of road bashing follows before hitting the tarmac descent back into the forest via Blackling Hole. It's very fast and normally has the brake pads burning so be warned !
Craig ‘Rifty’ Cummings