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This is one of 2 of my local riding venues (and walking at present!) and is by far the largest area of worthy riding between Maidstone and Sevenoaks. That said I would not necesarily recommend riding it without a guide as the best riding is not easy to find, but the muddy bridleways are!

Mereworth is located between Kings Hill and Borough Green and is best accessed by way of the West Malling M20 Junction or the Wrotham Heath M26 Junction. Although Mereworth could easily provide you with a 20 miler, it is also close enough to my other local haunt, Oldbury, and BBH in fact, to be included in an all day epic. Parking is easy but there are no facilities as such, although there is a couple of pubs nearby. The closest railway stations are West Malling and Borough Green on the Maidstone East line, or Wateringbury which is on another line I have never used.


The woods are mostly owned by the Fairlawn Estate I believe and are used for coppicing. But they are quiet at the weekend and very little of Mereworth is out of bounds as it were.Because of the coppicing the main bridleways can be extremely muddy in the areas where the coppicing is taking place, despite the fact that Mereworth sits atop a hill. Additionally there is fair amount of horse usage, and thus Mereworth has a reputation of being muddy. But, the area is free of clay and thus the mud clears from tyres quickly and in many cases small pathways have evolved to avoid the mud which make for good technical riding at times.

One of Mereworth'sgreat attributes is that it is quiet. I spent 2 hours walking there on Thursday and saw nobody, and today despite the great weather I saw only 5 people, although one was a naked old man, but thats another story.

The area can be broken up into 3 seperate sections

A. Shipbourne Forest & Hurst Wood lying to the west of Seven Mile Lane.
This is where the best riding can be found. Most routes consist of the aforementioned muddy bridleways, but in addition there are many tracks and paths which are not on any maps. The area is fairly flat to the North but the southern area includes Swanton Valley which provides a varied selection of descents, some well hidden singletrack, plenty of bombholes, some nasty climbs, a small jump track and a downhill track in its early stages.
B. The Military Training Base, also to the west of SML.
This has marked rights of way, which are best kept to for obvious reasons. It is fairly flat but worth a visit.
C. Roadside Wood and Great Leybourne Wood to the east of SML.
This is again mostly flat but includes one valley. These woods in particular suffers from horse usage and coppicing machinery, and thus is muddy. That said, there are unused tracks which provide fairly easy passage and many areas which are free of mud.

If anybody is not familiar with Mereworth but wishes to ride there I will happily provide a map/gpx file. Or, once I am back riding again I am more than happy to guide anybody around the best routes.
These are some typical dry bridleways at Mereworth to the west of SML. The second, although obviously wet is not wet by Mereworth standards.

resim resim

This is some of the not so easy to find but very satisfying natural singletrack

resim resim resim
And this is the view across Swanton Valley to the North. The downhill track is being built on the opposite side of the valley.


If anybody has riden, or is currently riding at Mereworth I would be interested to hear your views.
Hmm yes the contour lines are veryyy close in the south part of Hurst Wood!
"Breezer" Wrote:Hmm yes the contour lines are veryyy close in the south part of Hurst Wood!
Indeed. The DH track ends at present with what, because of the steepness, looks like the most dangerous jump ever.
I'v done parts of Merriworth a couple of times with Kent Trails, and once linked it with BBH and Shorne woods into a 50+ mile loop. Was some really good tight and flowing singletrack and wasn't too muddy when we did it last autumn.
Blackers when are you next riding there? looks like it might be fun and wouldnt mind checking it out.

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[quote author=]Blackers when are you next riding there? looks like it might be fun and wouldnt mind checking it out.

+1 there, may be we can organise a weekend ride there (after 26th Sept though please ;D)
Hi guys

I was there today actually. Although it was a slow ride with an unfit mate (who wants to get back into MTB) and my girlfriends brother (who doesnt even ride a bike, letalone off road), 6 miles in just over 2 hours.

That said, its riding very well there at the moment. The jumps and the like you see on that MoreDirt site are not part of any riding that flows. They tend to just build jumps to ride over and over. The rest of the riding there is singletrack, fire roads and unused tracks (and no barbed wire  Wink ) but its good fun.

So I am well up for showing you around. When is good for you guys then? If we do ride after 26/9 we shoud make it very soon therafter, as Mereworth bcomes a very different beast when the rains come.
am off work for the next 10 days and can ride pretty much anytime so just pm me when you are next going, the more notice the better though.
Sorry Guys I am out of the country until then and I was gate crashing Sailors post, so please go ahead without me if the opportunity arises!

I can do a slower ride and bring Mrs Abzz if you want to bring your "unfit" mate Blackers?

(no barbed wire? what do people use to stop?  TongueWink)
I'd be keen to come along at the weekend, would love to blag some time off but sadly too busy at the moment!

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