Leith Hill

  • Summer Lightning old section
  • Top of Leith Hill
  • Beginning of Summer Lightning, Leith Hill
Riding Skill Level Rating
XC 2-4
Freeride 4
Downhill 4

All Weather Rating: 4/5

Downhill and freeride trails are not sanctioned and require local knowlege to find.

Cost To Ride: FOC

Overview

Leith Hill is the highest point in the south east and managed by the National Trust. The hill has been popular with visitors since the Victorian times, and still provides an escape for families and those into their outdoor pursuits, with a viewing tower and unparalleled views from the summit.

Riding

Due to the often steep gradient, Leith Hill tends to be more popular with more experienced riders. There a quite few trails to sample here, most start from the aforementioned tower, which is clearly mapped out from most car parks. Some are unofficial though, so our focal point and images are on Summer Lightning, a marked trail utilising 9km of the hillside.

Summer Lightning was extended in 2014, one of the many projects pioneered by cycling group B1ke. The new section precedes the original, and flows an absolute dream. Small sections of climbing feel no issue whatsoever as you remain hungry to find what the next section has in store.

The ribbon of dirt starts relatively smooth with-to-back berms connecting sections of gullies and bomb holes together and jumps that can be rolled whenever a section seems to straighten out. The trail then entered a rocky phase, hanging right will take you downwards towards a track where you can re-enter Coldharbour village and back for another go, hugging the hillside will then connect you to the original Summer Lightning section.

Sections from here on down start smooth and twisty, to fast, loose and rocky, then back to smooth and twisty again for the final blast. Bridleways can then transport you to one of the other magnificent trails in the area, or back to the top for another go.

Various loops can be achieved between the Surrey Hills, mountain bike magazine MBR assembled an ultimate 37km loop, which can be found here. Off Summer Lightning the signage is non existent, so the route map or local knowledge works best here.

Freeride and downhill trails are also on the hill, but as they are unofficial we won't cover them here. A couple of drops and trails can be sampled on the push back up to the tower, and are on the right close to Coldharbour village.

Getting there

Our car park of choice is the 'Landslip' car park. Head for Coldharbour Village off the A24. The car park is located just south of the village on Abinger road.

At the highest end of the carpark, pick up the footpath. This will lead you right to Leith Hill tower where the trails start.