Quite a bit has changed since I moved away ... most impressively some folks have been hard at work trail building in Poldice Valley. The place was always popular with trial and crosser riders as its all ex-mine workings and mostly baron and wild, perfect for tearing it up on a moto! It wasnt always quite so MTB friendly with many of the trails littered with rocks and many of the lines being too rough to ride (at the time) on a rigid bike. Now though many of the lines have been cleaned of the tyre and rim destroying rocks and a huge amount of new trails have been reclaimed from the mining wasteland, gorse bush, brambles and bracken and there is easily a days full riding and then some. Poldice Valley is intersected by National Cycle Route 3 which follows the lower part of the valley and sadly gives no real indication of the crazy fun that lies all around if you're just passing through taking in the historical sights. Entering from a small car park at 50.232317, -5.156145 follow the path through the woods (or, just to your right is a nice rooty trail literally through the trees), you'll then come to a clearing/junction of sorts, look for the single track to your right which follows alongside a field. There are a couple of opening on your left along the way which take you to an area full of Dirt Jumps and which lead off in every direction to various trails. Being a Wednesday there was nobody around so I had a little play and got a bit of confidence up on a big berm into a small jump and some of the smaller jumps. That was real nice and I had a blast doing my own little thing, its something you cant really do at a busy trail centre on a Saturday afternoon. I even popped out a few little whips, great times compared to the XC riding where I live. Its a good idea to recci the place first. After carrying on past the dirt jump area and battling through 6' tall bracken and brambles which had toppled across part of the trail (getting ripped the shreds in the process!), I made the mistake of bombing along a bit of tasty single track with rocks and roots to suddenly coming to a steep rocky off camber slope just before a "fire road", too fast to stop ... hold on and hope time! There is a good line through it which luck found me and I stopped to enjoy the good feeling before carrying on. In the back of my head theres a thought that I should go a bit steady ... these arent graded trails, there could be anything hiding in this deep bracken trail... Just over the fire road the single track continues, from there it looks fast and flowy, buzzing with excitement and adrenaline I get some speed up and carry on and follow the trail as it bares left and in to a steep drop with root step downs and covered in rocks. "You chuffing idiot!", is what goes though my mind as I try to ignore the step downs and focus on directing the bike in a fashion that will get me to the bottom of the rocks alive. With screaming Av(o)id brakes and that strange adrenaline induced clarity I successfully "navigate" to the bottom whilst remaining on my bike. Once again ignoring my better judgement, which in the past has landed me on the grass, I end up with a tightly clenched pooper. Thats not something I want to ride again on a nervous feeling XC bike that seems to amplify any slight lack of confidence in a tricky situation. I take a moment to snap some pics of the sphincter work out slope and have a look around, in a clearing deep in a forest of bracken there is another steep slope in and two exit trails, ones a long steep slope which I wasnt really feeling on a 70degree head angle XC bike, the other is a reasonable slope into a rocky berm then a switchback ... which then goes into a blind drop off on the side of a steep slope. That then drops in to a nice looking berm and then you're down on the Route 3. I stop at the switchback as I'm lacking the skills, experience, confidence and equipment to take on DH riding! Time to explore some of the other offerings at Poldice, there is plenty of open ground and access roads to just go and ride, all leading to more and more riding though mostly not well kept it all fun and challenging. The place is one huge mountain bike play ground! What grade would the trails be? Well there are so many and so varying that probably the best description outside the dirt jumps would be Red and Black with random sections of DH. I hadnt expected to find what I did when visiting Poldice, I was only planning on re-visiting some rough old routes from my childhood. Instead I stumbled upon a MTB heaven whilst riding an XC styled bike. I didnt have time to explore all the new offering sadly but once I get my new ride and a free weekend (where I can be arsed to drive for HOURS and HOURS) I want to tear it up down there and have some proper fun. The poor old Canyon isnt really cut out for sketchy steep rocky rooty shenanigans. All I need are bigger bawls Some serious fun to be had, if I won the lotto ... well Loam & behold, a forest trail! Berm Baby, BERM! Nice big drop in Trail as far as the eye can see ... almost. Dirt jumps everywhere!