Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Sunday 1 March – Holmbury and Pitch Hill

Posted by Matt | March 1, 2009 | 6 comments so far

Dave launches the Judges Seat on Pitch Hill
So we’re into March and it was one of those rides. I didn’t want it to end; but it had to, not least because I was knackered after 14 miles over Holmbury and Pitch Hills for an excursion around parts of our lovely Surrey singletrack.

In attendance were four riders who I’ve only rarely seen together in daylight hours recently, meaning maybe they, or I, should get out more! The full line up was Colin, Lee, DaveP, Dave (DoMTB) and Jez plus myself forming a compact raiding party on the oh-so-dry trails. I shouldn’t have been surprised – I was out Thursday night around Norbury with Mark and the riding conditions were spot on then and there’s been no rain since to change matters.

So starting at Holmbury YHA at 8:30 prompt (which made a nice change and gave us a bit of credit in the time bank) we headed up Telegraph by way of the parallel singletrack. Even early on it was clear conditions were perfect and by the time we’d ambled round Surfa Rosa and reached the summit of Holmbury it was time to lose the sleeves on my Gore Phantom jacket. The more I use this jacket the more I think it’s the perfect answer to so many riding conditions from hard winter to days like today when my Embers merino and sleeveless Gore jacket were ideal for the cool start and quickly warming conditions.

After that we headed to Pitch via an unusual route, forfeiting Barrys for a change for a more varied route off Reservoir Dogs, eventually after much flowing fun spitting out onto Radnor Road for a whizz down to the tea shop. At just 9:30 it was too early for us to stop even though Lee made a bold claim that it was about right for elevenses. Even allowing for dodgy time keeping the fact he used the word elevenses was just a touch too mimsy for us hardcore riding dudes. Sort of.

So we dived into Pitch, making sort work of the climbs today in an effort to reach the Judges Seat via the Quarry and Two Headed Dog. At the Judges Seat Dave shamed us (and upheld DoMTB honour) by romping off the drop off before we stopped for a chat with a very bold four year old boy who seemed fascinated by what we were up to, and his mother who was lush. Happy times.

That makes a wholly inappropriate segueway into mentioning that Jenny’s Hollow beckoned and some of our riders delved right in with Dave—the only one with plenty of man beans today—again showing us how it was done. I blame his bike; those Fives make you think you can get away with murder!

After more loopage which included the Bombholes, Christmas Pudding and the Ewok Run we headed back toward Peaslake for refueling via a tricksy series of switchbacks that caught out a few of us and then onto the only place on the hill with water on it. I think it’s called a river, whatever it was it showed how dry everywhere else was as we all minced around in the mud and then cursed the water for getting our bikes dirty.

By the time we reached Peaslake we were starting to get low on the energy levels but time was still on our side. I got talking to a guy from Sussex MTB briefly who seemed to be liking what was on offer from today’s riding and I spotted once again my alter-ego who was riding around the hills on a white On-one Inbred with Marzocchi Marathon forks albeit with a singlespeed kit on his bike. I’d seen him at the Holmbury car park and bumped into him again on the return so it was a bizarre theme throughout today.

Colin attempting the balance beems up near Reservoir Dogs

We—OK I—struggled slowly up to the Reservoir after consuming too much flapjack at Peaslake (thank you Dave BTW) and spent a few minutes playing on the ‘North Shore’ that’s currently up there. That’s a huge overstatement of the planks that have been set up 18 inches off the ground after someone left some building materials up there and I don’t expect it to stay there long. All it proved to me is that us mountain bikers can’t sensibly leave that stuff alone and that I have no balance (there’s some pictures us on the boards on Flickr).

By now we were pleasantly surprised to be mechnical and puncture free and on time for a before 12 return to the car park. A short blast to the Holmbury summit left us Park Life and Telegraph Road still to tackle with Park Life rolling nicely under the wheels. I was following Colin who was keeping a good speed up through there which let me pick my own line and not feel held up at all (in fact I was losing him as my concentration and energy levels had checked out).

Telegraph Road was as you expect, the final run to the car park being particularly fun as we normally turn off to head toward the other car park. That has it’s own challenges of course but I was happy enough today with how I romped over the big rooty step near the end as a suitable finale for the ride.

In all, 14 miles or so and I was truly knackered. But, we were on time, leaving the car park after saying our goodbyes at about 12:05 which meant we could all claim to be back when we said we’d get back for a change. The dry conditions even meant I just slung the bike in the garage on my return! Top ride.

Filed under Rides in March 2009


About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Pace RC-627.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

There are 6 comments on ‘Ride report: Sunday 1 March – Holmbury and Pitch Hill’

We love to get comments from our readers - if you've spent a few moments to comment, thank-you.

If you haven't had a chance yet, jump to our comments form if you have something to say.

  1. DaveW says:

    Thanks to the moles for making me feel welcome even though I turned up unannounced – and after a long absence!

    It was a great ride in ideal trail conditions, with Colin’s route cleverly knitting together many of the good bits across Holmbury, Pitch and Winterfold.

  2. Toby says:

    Shame I missed this one as there would have been some new stuff for me – I had to go to Brighton for a company event. I decided to ride to over so at least I got some road miles in – the ride over Devil’s Dyke was lovely if a bit painful with a heavy rucksack….

  3. Colin says:

    Perfect conditions – the slight dampness making the trails almost sticky.

    Matt, can I just point out that whilst your thought process was clearly about Jenny’s Hollow, it is actually Jelley’s Hollow !

    Very interesting, having not seen DaveW for a while, to see his ever-improving freeride skills – respect is due!

  4. Matt says:

    Haha! I like it better as Jenny’s Hollow but I must need my ears cleaning out, I’ve heard it as that since the first time I saw it.

    How Freudian! Amazing what riding a mountain bike can tell you really.

  5. JohnR says:

    I turned up at Bockets farm 5 mins late and thought I’d just missed you all – so in some ways I am glad to hear you were in Holmbury all the time!

    I suspect I won’t get over to Holmbury for the Cycleworks day this Sunday, so hopefully see you all in a few weeks.

  6. chris Saunders says:

    just returned today, 29th, from holmbury & pitch hills. Great riding, a bit dry, a bit wet! BKB especially. Found judges seat, unfortunately my kerhooneys were not big enough to drop off the edge. helmets off to those who have, maybe next time!!!!

Leave a comment…

Have your say – we'd love to hear what you think.

If you have something to add, just complete this comment form (we will not publish your email address).

*Required information.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.