Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Sunday 15 October – Leith Hill Experimental

Posted by DaveC | October 15, 2012 | 12 comments so far

With the Sun in the sky the Moles headed over to Leith Hill but with a slight deviation in the normal route.
Leith Hill in the October sun

Eight Moles assembled at 8:30 and with the certain knowledge that PaulM would not be joining us today we headed off promptly with a rough route in mind. Joining me were BigFastAl, Kev, Matt (almost becoming a habit), Andrew, Gordon, Elliot and Lloyd. Dandy put a brief appearance in before heading over to meet the Diary boys in a quest to find new trails.

Our aim was to try and head to Leith Hill but by the best route we could find to the East of Westcott. This is a route that Matt and I had done separately many years ago but it would still be a challenge to match up what we could remember.

The beginning bit was OK and we decided that McPhersons Mount could be a descent for a change. Making swift progress we skirted around Polesden Lacey and headed up past Tanner’s Hatch for a quick tarmac blast before dodging the Sportive riders to enter the bridleway. I let BigFastAl head off and gave him plenty of headway as he does tend to slow me up on the big descents! ;o)

I have to commend the Five at this point for looking after me on the way down with good grip, excellent handling and Rockshox for not letting me get too airborne over the transition! Fast descent and I did appear to catch a whiff of brake pad on the way down from the rider ahead! Thank heavens for the bermed corner at the bottom.

Anyway we soon sat at the Unum entrance of the A25 and headed towards the nearest bridleway sign. I’m sure we could have found a more traily route but we ended up on tarmac for much of the way finding a sweet little bridleway at the end for a little joining section. This took us on to territory I recognised as we headed for the fishing ponds and a muddy field!

With 2 days worth of riding behind me I was last on the climbs and struggling for energy to push the extra weight of the Five up the climbs. This meant that when I joined the others at a junction I was a bit hazy as to which way to go and we took the wrong route. This lead to a bit of tarmac exploring, false map reading and some tread retracing but no Moles were harmed so that’s OK. With a little local help we made the correct turning and were then back on course. Matt was heard to say “we needed a cock with us” and I assumed, hopefully correctly, that he was referring to the Dorking variety of MTBers and Ale connoisseurs. If so, they would have known the area better than us!

Andrew on 'Little Deliverance'

One last gully to climb and we were back on Wolverns Lane, now knowing how to get there. From here we did a fairly standard route passing Jess from Astounding Adventures where we usually do. I don’t actually believe she lives and sleeps in that section of Leith Hill but you never know…

The Tower was on us soon and a cup of Hot chocolate and a slice of Orange and Chocolate cake seemed to hit the spot quite nicely. It certainly helped as we headed back via Personal Hygiene, a “little” Deliverance and Waggle Dance before hitting Summer Lightening. Here I was aghast to find that the log seems to have been removed from the end of the first section. It could have been that it was rotten or it could have been someone who prefers their trails smooth. Get a road bike I say!

Surrey Hills in the October sun

The climb up Low Med was slow for me as I lost sight of all the others but what a glorious day to be out with the Sun shining through broken clouds for most of the ride. The views were excellent and as we “experimented” with the route you could look around and easily have been in any remote, rural part of the country. Happy days.

Filed under Rides in October 2012


About the author

Dave's been riding seriously since about 1997 and is one of the founding Molefathers β€” along with Matt and Mark β€” that came up with the idea of a MTB website for Mole Valley riders.

He's had several different bikes but it's now mainly 29ers in Dave's stable, apart from an Orange 5.

Current Bikes: Orange 5, Salsa Spearfish and Kona Big Unit

There are 12 comments on ‘Ride report: Sunday 15 October – Leith Hill Experimental’

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  1. Andrew AKAK says:

    Lots of fun as usual and I made the pic – thanks!

  2. Markymark says:

    Lovely day for it!

    Am back in MTB mode having ridden Cannock Chase trails on Sat with some old friends… looking fwd to some more regular Moles rides.

  3. KevS says:

    Really enjoyed the alternative route to Leith via Westcott and if you take out the tarmac bit and extra faffing about it makes a good western loop round with some stiff climbs early on in the ride. πŸ™‚

    Top cake(s) at the tower made up for the dreaded chainsuck suffered by me and Lloyd, followed by brief scream and plunge activities in bright sunshine before turning for home.

    What’s not to like?

  4. Dandy says:

    I rode the first section of Summer Lightning on Fri afternoon, and as well as a lot of freshly dug earth where the log used to be, there was a large forestry machine attacking the fairly deforested section about 20 yards away. Seems a shame, especially as this was a purpose built trail constructed with full permission from the landowner πŸ™

  5. LordOnOne says:

    Now it’s mentioned, I remember seeing you (Dandy) at the start and later wondering why the group seemed to have shrunk.

    A fine day for an interesting new route…one that pushed my weekly mileage well above average. I think someone else said it too but the roots seemed surprisingly grippy after recent monsoons. Of course, conditions were still a bit muddy and not much thought went into slowing down for said filth.

  6. Toby says:

    Are, you seem to have taken the ‘Fisheries’ route onto Leith Hill via Chadhurst Farm. Yes its a nice way up the hill as pointed out that field just past the ponds can be very muddy in winter time.

    I actually saw you all as you passed the Bonfire at Coldharbour as I was doing my usual Bonfire building duties – lovely day for a ride. There were some ‘Cocks’ about as George & Charlie came past only 10 minutes or so after you lot.

  7. Matt says:

    I enjoyed Sunday’s ride, it was a great day to be out. Give it a covering of snow and it would have felt quite Alpine at times with the cool, clear air and low sun. It’s always nice to try different routes.

    Mini Deliverance was interesting, it’s still possible to get into trouble without the full on gnarr of the main thing. I did in fact have a scare as I decided to try the bigger part of the Mini one (still with me?), but couldn’t clip in after getting going. Managed to engage just in time but for a moment I had visions of my Superman moment down Blind Terror 2 on my old Muirwoods hardtail!

    I was way off the pace down Summer Lightning, just couldn’t find the flow and decided not to force things. The lack of a log at the bottom confused me but given it means there’s less chance of you getting it wrong and heading straight into the tree, perhaps it’s been done on purpose? There’s always that ‘lumpier Lightning’ trail that you pick up at the start of the second section isn’t there?! (never tried it though).

  8. Gordon says:

    Great fun. I must admit to wondering at one point if this would be another of my rides up Leith Hill where I would fail to find the tower! – I should never have doubted!

    Whilst I was having a lie down next to my bike I did notice an absence of legwear seems to be in vogue. May I offer a (tongue in cheek) tip that if you don’t really care how daft you look, then these do keep your legs dry, clean and warm? Alternatively, I guess you could just keep the bike “rubber side down”!

    I had a morning with great company, on new trails and fab weather.

  9. Much as it would be nice to live on Leith Hill, I was only there teaching our most popular workshop Hops & Drops. It’s just that it happens to fall on a Sunday morning, just when you guys are passing by. Always nice to see you it is too! πŸ˜€

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