Winter mountain biking in Cornwall – as seen by photographer Ian Lean

 Wideopenmag Photographer Ian Lean brings us up to speed on how Cornish riders spend their winter


Before we get started, I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year from the Pastyland (Cornwall)!

Winter isn’t usually a time of year people look forward to, especially when you live in the UK. It spells the end of the race season, and generally a rather moist and chilly few months ahead. On the plus side, it means the pressure of racing is relieved for a while and you can look forward to Christmas and New Year festivities.

January comes around quickly though, so after a short time off its time to start thinking about the 2015 season. Winter training commences, the cover comes off the road/xc bike and its time to feel the burn!

“Cornwall is always perceived as a tropical paradise”

In contradiction, this winter has been a rather mild affair, so far (in Cornwall anyway), which has allowed for a lot of time on the bike. Cornwall is always perceived as a tropical paradise, but lets be honest the weather is just as damp as most places in the UK. But this winter we’ve been lucky enough to have sunny days in between the rain allowing our tracks to dry a little at least.

For me its slightly different. Winter usually means picking up the shovel and working on our trails, or, chasing waves all over the county. That hasn’t changed, but now I own a Nuke Proof Mega I have spent a fair chunk of this off season following some crazy cats down local trails.

Unity woods

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There is a little woodland on the outskirts of Redruth that has been our playground for many years now, its called Unity Woods. This winter a group of us decided to rework the berms and clear the paths to some old lines which had became overgrown. These trails are very accessible, so you can expect to see folk of all ages sampling the various track choices the wood has to offer. I have ridden here so much this winter, but it’s not great in the wet so for the past 2 weeks its had a bit of a lay off.

SDG Tellis V2 Dropper Leaderboard

Poldice Valley

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Poldice Valley this is another destination riders from the West Country might recognize, I do believe its been featured in at least a couple of Dirt Mag’s over the years. Poldice is known for some rather large freeride lines, rugged tech downhill runs and it even holds a National XC event each year. Being open to the elements its not always the best option, but it drains so well there it’ll only take one dry day for it to be prime again.

Our Track

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I would love to tell you the location of these trails but unfortunately I can’t, its not secret, its just our playground. All I’ll say is that a mate of mine had been carving it out, on and off, for about a year, so a couple of months ago we decided to revisit and make a few changes. Its basically as natural as a downhill track could get, simply created by chopping down a few brambles and weaving a track down the hillside. The location is pretty ideal, being blessed with Cornwall’s Mining Heritage any water just disappears which has allowed us to ride there for weeks in loamy/tacky conditions (long may that continue).

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Woodland Riders Winter Series

Last but not least, Woodland Riders Winter DH series continues in 2015. Chaz Lamley  and the rest of the volunteers from Gawton Gravity Hub and Woodland Riders Racing have spent the past few years perfecting the art of running a ‘local’ race series really, really, really, well. For anyone looking to get some racing under their belt before the BDS series starts here is your chance. Round 4 March 1st 2015.

Round 4, March 1st 2015.
Round 5, April 6th 2015.

Fancy some off season racing in the Westcountry? Enter here at Woodland Riders Racing website.

Who is Ian Lean?


Ian is Team Wideopenmag’s resident photographer and lives in Truro Cornwall. When he’s not photo’ing trainers at his day job he can be found surfing, digging trails or shredding his Nukeproof Mega. You can see Ian’s work throughout our website, in our magazine and over on his Instagram.