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Wharncliffe Woods - The Dark Side Of The Trail  page 1

Wharncliffe Woods has a 10 mile way-marked 'Black' cross country route and a growing reputation as Sheffield's North Shore.

Total distance for Black Route 16K (10 miles) Outdoor Leisure No.1 (E) The Peak District - Dark Peak Area. Note: The car park at the very East edge of the wood, is just barely off the edge of this map. Also the old nunmber 1 is single-sided and so doesn't include it at all. The grid references and links below show the tops of the downhill trails, these all run West down the West facing hillside, towards the North/South railway cutting. Pretty much the entire wood shows on one Streetmap anyway, click on the 'show' links below.

To open map link click on 'show'. To change to OS map select halfway between + and - on map size selector.
1.  323 950 show Start at Car Park.
2.  306 949 show Top of all the downhills. 
3.  312 942 show Top of 'North Shore Trail' 

Where is Wharncliffe Woods?

North of Sheffield and close to the M1, Wharncliffe Woods is ideally placed for a quick sortie by car for half the country. It has three way-marked routes, the black route is the only one we're interested in though. Ten miles long and taking in some superb downhills it's well worth doing on the day. But why go to Wharncliffe when the real Peaks rides are only a few miles away? Well, in a word, Technical Singletrack. OK so that's at least two words, but the Peaks is really a bit short of the kind of way steep, perfect singletrack that makes sense of the whole Freeride thing. Wharncliffe woods has got it in spades. And it's the spades of the local riders (Including Steve Peat) that built a lot of it.
To reach the best of the Singletrack, follow the Black route until you're on a pebble-dashed section of double-track, shortly after the sign for Wharncliffe Chase. Look off to the left and you'll see the top of a downhill course disappearing in to the darkness of the woods.

Chickens Running
Drop down the earth chute between the rocks (see left) and you're at the top of a multi-lane downhill course that will seriously challenge your riding skills. With hand built banked turns and exposed rocky outcrops that stretch your skill and nerve to the limit. There are one or two rock gardens down here that will have the average cross country rider off and carrying. But if you look carefully, there are chicken runs around some of the worst cliff faces. Difficult enough in themselves you have to side-wind across the deeply rutted main course to get at them. A little over half way down is a rock blockade that can't be ridden without maximum conviction and a heap of travel. With no easy route in sight we carried the section, losing maximum style points and minimum flesh and bone. Easier in it's lower reaches the course traverses the hillside off-camber before a choice of two steep drops on to the forest road below. The second is the lower and we took this as our nerves were fried from the manic descending. Before the excitement has worn off, turn right along the forest road and a few hundred yards on the right is the road back to the top. Loose and stony in places, this 1 in 3 is ride-able in cross country mode, but it will hurt, a lot. I rode it with two rest breaks the first time around.
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