Mountain Bike - Bombing Around Greenham Common

Posted: Thursday, 25 April 2013 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: ,

Today was a fantastic spring day, almost hot enough to be summer, but still with a bit of a chill in the morning. I was feeling surprisingly chipper after yesterday's jaunt. You have to make the most of such conditions here in the UK, so I chose to break my journey homeward with a visit to Greenham Common.
Here in the UK the name for many is still synonymous with CND, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and in particular the Women's Peace Camp based there in the 1980's. Today, the missiles, military and political activists are all gone, the huge concrete runways have been dug up and for the most part it has been returned to common land.

The single track trails at Greenham Common were recommended to me on the RetroBike Forum, but it also has the potential for lighter mixed riding too. I "scoped out" the site before hand thanks to Google Maps and decided to use the industrial estate area as my point of entry. This turned out to be an unexpectedly busy place and  hard to find an obvious parking place without antagonising anyone.
Not wanting to find my car clamped or towed away I eventually parked on Lindenmuth Way, had a snack and a drink and got myself organised.

Fiesta parked on Lindenmuth Way, Newbury
Busy site - I eventually parked on LindenmuthWay

The English Provender Company who make posh chutneys and pickles are based nearby, the not so posh "Monster Munch pickled onion flavour" smell pervaded the immediate area. A gate behind the factory leads straight on to the firm gravel perimeter road. From here I took a pleasant, if unadventurous, ride around the site to view; the missile silos, control tower and sundry artifacts left on show.

Sundry artifacts left on show.

At the Eastern end I found a tiny trail leading down through a gully and met a biker heading the other way searching for his dropped phone. There didn't seem to be much more to ride, even though what there is was quite a challenge with my skills. The area was hemmed in by houses and roads and not quite the epic single track I had been recommended.

An image of the perimeter track around Greenham Common
Greenham Common - the firm gravel perimeter road

On the return leg back to the Western end of the site I discovered a trail leading into the woods
behind the ominous looking nuclear missile silo. This turned out to be where the good stuff is, I picked my way along tentatively, not wanting to risk picking up any speed on alien territory, this trail was above my ability level and is exactly the sort of thing I need to do more of.

Image of cows drinking in front of missile silos
The trail starts behind ominous looking nuclear missile silos

I returned to the car around sunset very pleased with my exploration of the site but feeling more than a little worn out, keeping my eyes open on the ride home was quite a struggle.